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Latino political power begins at the voting booth

By David Conde

The Latino community has had the experience of changing the political dynamics of a country at the voting booth. It is an experience that has continued into the present.

When George W. Bush was running for his first term, he raised Latino expectations for Immigration Reform as he held himself as firmly committed to fixing the broken system. The conventional opinion is that 9/11 changed the thinking so much that Immigration Reform became one of those political issues without a handle.

Lost in the Bush/Gore contested election was the 40 percent Latino vote that put Bush at the door of the presidency. The Supreme Court did the rest.

When the Bush reelection was in trouble the call came asking the Latino community to provide another 5% of its vote to assure a victory. The community did just that in the belief that Bush would find a way to come through on his promises.

Although it was not to be, the Latino successful effort to get the vote out began to change the belief in its effective political power. Research further revealed that there was a new player in the mainstream of Americaĺs political power structure.

There is a radio commentator that offers his perspective on the on-going national scene and its relationship to the Latino community. He has been very upfront about the purpose of his work and points out that it is time that the community takes its affairs in hand and fights for every inch of its social, economic and political space because Latino heritage is now a prominent part of the American fabric.

The point is that a decade and a half ago, the Latino community began an effective engagement of its political voice that has made a difference in the voting booth as well as in decisions about our national leadership. The community has acted as the swing vote nationally that has determined who is picked to be the President of the United States.

The next frontier of Latino effective political involvement is in the individual states especially in those states where Latino demographics dictate sufficient potential to make a difference. Colorado is one of those national swing states with a Latino vote that can determine which way it will go.

Specifically, in this mid-term election in Colorado Latinos are poised to make a difference in at least three races where demographics give their vote a decisive role in the election outcome. The three key races include the contest for the governorship that pits Governor John Hickenlooper and the challenger Bob Beauprez, the United States Senate contest that involves Senator Mark Udall and Representative Cory Gardner and the Congressional District 6 election that has as its candidates Speaker Andrew Romanoff and Representative Mike Coffman. Since George W. Bushĺs campaign and election in 2000 the major issue that has engaged the Latino community is Immigration Reform.

This is the litmus test that has been applied to all six candidates. Please inform yourself if you are not sure where they stand and vote accordingly.

This November offers Latinos an excellent opportunity to do at the state level what they have being doing in the national political scene. In this election Colorado offers the community the opportunity to affect an outcome in a swing state and in districts where they can make a difference.

We should be less concerned about the political party makeup of the U. S. House and Senate and more interested in those that go to Congress to represent our interests.





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