This is an original report from TPCC members Steve and Maureen Guffanti, who attended the CRP's CAGOP Latino Workshop at the Fall 2013 Convention.
There is an old saying, “Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.”
According to Latino Elected Officials Roundtable at CAGOP Fall 2013, the way Latinos know you care is if you support families first, which essentially means jobs and quality education. By jobs they don’t mean having the government hire them; they mean reducing the red tape so they can start a small business with minimal hassle. Quality education means to open up the educational choices, because for the last 30+ years about 50% of Latinos have dropped out. Latinos deserve choice – vouchers and charters – their children should not be condemned to poorly performing schools.
For Latinos to believe you mean what you say, you need to be engaged in their community: do charitable acts, and show up at Hispanic events like soccer. Walk their neighborhoods when you’re not even running. When you talk, ask the Latinos, what’s best for you and your family?
Steps to getting a Latino elected start with finding a hard-working candidate. Since the ability to start a small business is important to their getting ahead, a great place to look for candidates is the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. For example—one successful candidate at CAGOP talked about how his single mom started a small business and it inspired him to do the same.
The Latino electeds reported that one question many of their constituents asked was: Why are you a Republican? Their answers seemed to be very consistent. Here are three:
- “Democrats oppose education reform and currently public education is not serving the Latino family.” Be sure to know the Hispanics’ dropout rate for your constituents. As the Democrats have controlled public education, this is an important wedge with that party. Don’t promote your Republican affiliation, the candidates said. This label says “Party first, not family first.” Simply say, Your children are YOUR children; it should be YOUR choice what school they go to. A voucher or a tax credit will increase your choices.
- "The Republicans are willing to give you a hand up rather than a hand out." The Republicans support the forming of small businesses, while the Democrats keep supporting more and more barriers to businesses.
- The Latino Elected Officials Roundtable all agreed if you want the Latinos to believe you, you have to show up at their events, but once they know that you are there for them they will care about your message.