** Originally published in print in Metro, cross-posted with World, in the Los Angeles Times, Friday, June 15:
Ramiro Romero owns an auto upholstery business in Lynwood, has sent three children to college and is a first-time voter in a country in which he hasn't lived for more than 30 years: Mexico.
"As a mexicano, we haven't lost our roots, our culture, and that makes voting a civic necessity," Romero, 56, said one morning at his bustling workshop on Atlantic Avenue.
"We want a prosperous Mexico. We want a Mexico that's not in the top ranks for violence but in the top ranks for its economy, so we won't have to go looking for opportunities to other countries."
Romero, who holds dual citizenship, is among the tens of thousands of Mexicans living abroad who are voting by mail in the July 1 presidential election — a contest being closely watched as the country confronts soaring violence related to the U.S.-backed drug war.
** Read the rest of the story here.
* Photo: Mr. Romero, left, and his brother Salvador, 53, at their workshop in Lynwood.