Leticia Van de Putte Spearheads Latino Community Outreach In Texas Lieutenant Governor Race

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Senators Eddie Lucio, Jr., Leticia Van de Putte, and Wendy Davis at Charro Days in Brownsville

After months of toxic Republican rhetoric against Hispanic immigrants and portrayal of Latinos as “the bogeyman” of Texas, we'll soon shortly find out which GOP candidates clawed their way on top of the party as the primary election results roll in.

Meanwhile Republicans continue to use anti-immigrant sentiments to garner Tea Party votes, Texas Senator and Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor, Leticia Van de Putte, continues to travel across Texas and Washington, D.C., recruiting Democrats and Latino voters to help turn Texas blue once again.

Kicking off her campaign's national fundraising efforts in Washington, D.C. last week, Van de Putte has also held fundraisers in Dallas, Houston and San Antonio, and made a second visit to the Rio Grande Valley with Wendy Davis during the popular Charro Days in Brownsville (at right).

Spearheading Latino community outreach efforts, Van de Putte spoke at the League of United Latin American Citizens' (LULAC) gala last week, where she demonstrated the type of exemplary leadership Latino and Latina candidates can offer Texas.

“No one ever tells the people, 'Leticia has always remembered where she came from (or) Leticia remembers who she was … because I still live in the same neighborhood,” said Van de Putte. “Latinos, they connect to their neighborhoods, connect to their schools. They connect to their famílias (families).”

Read more on what Van de Putte has to say about Latinos in Texas below the jump.

LULAC also awarded Wendy Davis their National Presidential Award for her commitment to the Hispanic community

Republicans have increasingly relied on using more hostile rhetoric attacks against Hispanic immigrants in their efforts to appeal to Tea Party voters. Texas state Senator Dan Patrick, who is running in the Republican primary for lt. gov., has even gone as far as to challenge Mayor Julian Castro of San Antonio to an immigration debate, dubbing Castro as the “immigration invasion Mayor.” Land commissioner Jerry Patterson, arguably the least hostile towards immigrants and Latinos out of the Republican candidates running for lt. gov., opposes “unconditional birthright citizenship,” the U.S. Constitution's 14th Amendment citizenship clause.

Even Greg Abbott made very ignorant “third world” comparisons of the Hispanic-populated border communities and the Rio Grande Valley to appeal to the Tea Party.

Republicans have proven time and again just how out of touch they are to the Latino community.

“I am una farmaceutica (a pharmacist), una madre (mother), a legislator who is very connected to the Latino community. I communicate on a daily basis and I think I connect in a way that many people don't,” Van de Putte said, possibly in reference to her Republican opponents.

A new in-depth report by Latino and immigration advocacy groups, America's Voice and Latino Decisions, shows just how fatal Republican's anti-immigrant rhetoric will prove to be in the party's future. As Texas' demographics shifts towards Hispanics, Republicans will no longer be able to depend on their elderly, white conservative voting base to continue to grip onto power. As Texas' demographics grows more Hispanic, the party that alienates Latino voters will simply meet their demise.

Leticia Van de Putte and Democrats know this. Van de Putte believes Texas Republicans have learned nothing from Republicans in other states that have lost support from Hispanic voters due to their harsh anti-immigrant stances.

“They're not learning the lessons of Pete Wilson's California,” said Van de Putte about the Texas GOP. “They're not learning the lessons of Jan Brewer's Arizona.”

“Me da asco,” (it disgusts me) is what Van de Putte had to say about the Republican's toxic anti-immigrant rhetoric to Latino guests at the LULAC gala event.

Van de Putte hopes Latinos will be mobilized to vote to bring down the Texas GOP and turn Texas blue again, away from hostile political environments towards Hispanics. Turning the state winnable by Democrats now and in future elections. Van de Putte and Texas Democrats hope to reach out to the nearly 3 million eligible Latinos that are able to vote, but have not yet been registered or contacted.

This massive voting block is already strong and large enough to make Texas competitive for Democrats.

“We can't wait for the demographics to catch up,” argued Van de Putte.


About Author

Omar Araiza

Staff writer Omar Araiza covers immigration, Latino voters, the U.S.-Mexico border, and LGBT issues. He is a proud South Texas native, born and raised in the lower Rio Grande Valley. Omar tweets from @AraizaTX.

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