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

by: Omar Araiza

Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 10:00 AM CST

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.

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'Illegal Invasion' Rhetoric Shows Just How Out Of Touch Republicans Are To Latino Community

by: Omar Araiza

Tue Feb 11, 2014 at 11:30 AM CST

Republicans' relationship with the Latino community can be described as complicated at best, and abusive at it's core.

Along with efforts of voter suppression, Texas Republicans have a long history of portraying Latinos as "the bogeyman" of Texas, feeding into the xenophobia of many right-wing voters. The Republican Lieutenant Governor primary race has so far been the perfect embodiment of this dilemma. All four major GOP candidates have been desperate to sound the toughest on immigration, often resorting to racially divisive messages in order to pander to conservative Tea Party voters.

Even the Hispanic chairman of the Associated Republicans of Texas, Hector De Leon, believes this type of anti-immigrant rhetoric will only undermine the party's efforts to branch out to different voters, particularly Latinos.

"I understand the need to address the issue of illegal immigration, and I understand the need to secure borders, and I realize that's critically important," said De Leon. "But by the same token, that issue can be addressed by not engaging in rhetoric that sounds like thinly veiled racism."

Read more of the GOP's problem with Hispanic voters, including remarks by Senator Van de Putte, below the jump.

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RNC Zooms In On Hispanic Voters In Texas; Democrats Push Back With Own Latino Outreach

by: Omar Araiza

Fri Oct 11, 2013 at 00:00 PM CDT

'La Valiente' (the brave one), Wendy Davis loteria depiction by TDP.
Attorney General Greg Abbott is receiving aid from the Republican National Committee (RNC) to reach out to Latino voters.

Wishing to build "permanent presence in the Hispanic community" and "grassroots infrastructure," the RNC announced earlier this week it is adding Hispanic field and state directors in states with large Hispanic populations, including Texas.

At a press conference on Wednesday, Republicans announced the launch of the Texas Hispanic Engagement Team, a statewide grassroots outreach program with hopes of convincing Latinos to support Republicans.

Democrats are pushing back with their own Latino outreach efforts. Check out the loteria depiction of Wendy Davis by the Texas Democratic Party's Latino Initiative, Pa'delante Tejas, calling Wendy "La Valiente," or "the brave one" in English.

Read more on the Democrats' and Republicans' efforts to win the Latino vote below the jump.


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UT Student Assembly To Consider A Resolution To Support Undocumented Longhorns

by: aineeathar

Wed Oct 09, 2013 at 06:16 PM CDT

(Great guest post from a very brave UT student leader! - promoted by Katherine Haenschen)

Last night, I bared my soul to the University of Texas- Austin's Student Government Assembly. As an undocumented Pakistani resident, my life is filled with fear that few can understand or imagine. But only by showing the world the reality of being undocumented can we cut through the misconceptions and vicious, racist stereotypes to create a dialogue on justice and civil rights.

For weeks, I've planned Undocumented Longhorns Week with the Center for Asian American Studies, Events+Entertainment, the University Leadership Initiative, Asian Pacific Desi American Collective, the Multicultural Engagement Center, and UT student leaders. Oct. 14th to 18th will be filled with events, panels, and workshops on the thorny subject of comprehensive immigration reform, complete with personal stories shared by undocumented UT students that emphasize why we must stand on the right stand of history. Our keynote event is the Undocu-Asian Teach-In.

I shared my story to urge the student assembly to pass AR 16, A Resolution to Support Undocumented Students and Undocumented Longhorns Week which recognizes the groundbreaking work immigrant youth in Texas have done to promote college access and community justice.

UT SG ultimately sent the resolution to the Legislative Affairs Committee, where it will be considered in three parts and a decision will be made on Tuesday, Oct. 15th. I urge you to pressure our student leaders to make the right choice.

Read more on the importance of supporting undocumented Longhorns after the jump.

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Awakening The Sleeping Giant: Why Latinos Should Back Wendy Davis For Governor of Texas in 2014

by: Omar Araiza

Tue Oct 08, 2013 at 09:45 AM CDT

Senator Wendy Davis' announcement to run for Governor of Texas in 2014 has sparked a renewed sense of life and energy to the Texas Democratic Party. Millions of people from across the state and country are keeping a close-eye on Texas for that first glimpse of the state's long -- but seemingly inevitable -- journey to blue.

Davis is a candidate with a personal history of overcoming great obstacles that has proven, time and again, underestimating her is a big mistake.

Davis has championed previous races by assembling large voting coalitions of Hispanics, African-Americans, moderate Republicans and women voters. Groups of voters that can be convinced once again to go out and support her come November of next year.

Davis, a single mom who worked her way up from a trailer park to make it through Harvard Law School, has a large populace appeal. Her commitment to overcoming poverty by means of hard work and education is a personal story Hispanics in Texas -- the state's largest ethnic minority and fastest growing demographic -- understand very intimately. Her commitment to education, access to healthcare, and equal economic opportunity and pay for all, are issues that directly affect and matter to Hispanics.

Considering the massive energy, previous successful minority outreach and populace appeal behind her: Is Wendy Davis the candidate that can finally awaken the sleeping giant that is the Latino vote in Texas?

Read more below the jump.

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AFL-CIO Targets Texas

by: Chaille Jolink

Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 07:00 PM CDT

The President of the AFL-CIO Richard Trumka said Thursday that they could possibly target Texas in 2014 to organize and get more workers active in unions.

He noted that they were taking on states where immigration is a key issue. If the immigration battle is won it could This bring approximately 11 million workers to the table to demand workers rights.

Trumka told Politco,

"We've seen cases where workers work for a while and then get stiffed for wages," he said. "Latinos that have a labor union make more than those without [a labor union] in same job and industry."

See what else Trumka said about Rick Perry below the jump.  

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Battleground Texas Seeks Latino Leaders in Promising New Fellowship Program

by: Omar Araiza

Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 01:00 PM CDT

Since Battleground Texas launched six months ago, the response has been tremendous and volunteers from all across the state have been working hard to turn Texas blue. Battleground Texas has already deputized more than 3,000 voter registration volunteers, hosted a 14-city listening tour that was met with standing-room-only crowds in nearly every part of the state, and built a digital Facebook following that outpaced the Republican Party of Texas in just 78 days.  

The organization's next vision -- ensure that the next generation of Latino leaders have the skills and knowledge they need to succeed and play prominent leadership roles in the future of the Democratic Party.

With prominent Latino figures such as the Castro brothers hinting to one day seek the presidency, Battleground Texas is launching the Executive Latino Leadership Program to further develop the community's organizing talent in our state.

Read more about the program and how you can apply after the jump.

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U.S. Rep. Steve "Cantaloupes" King Should 'Get Therapy' for Bigoted Views on Latinos

by: Omar Araiza

Wed Aug 14, 2013 at 02:00 PM CDT

U.S. Rep. Steve King is emerging as the Republican Party's de facto spokesman on immigration reform for his very racist views about immigrants and Latinos.

King claimed earlier in July many undocumented immigrants were "drug mules." According to King, by granting citizenship to undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children -- who are commonly known as DREAMers -- we are also granting citizenship to these "drug smugglers."

"For everyone who's a valedictorian, there's another 100 out there who weigh 130 pounds - and they've got calves the size of cantaloupes because they're hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert," King said during an interview with Newsmax. "Those people would be legalized with the same act."

King stuck to his previous comments Sunday morning during an interview with David Gregory on NBC's Meet The press, arguing immigration reform would grant citizenship to people who were drug smugglers up to the age of 35 and that immigration advocates just don't understand the full scope of the issue.

Joining the roundtable that morning, Republican strategist Ana Navarro let King have it in an epic rebuke.

Watch the throw-down between the two, and read what King truly believes about Latinos after the jump.

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The Latino Vote: What Republicans (And Democrats) Can Learn From George P. Bush.

by: Omar Araiza

Mon Jul 22, 2013 at 04:17 PM CDT

Immigration has been an important issue of discussion lately and a huge headache to socially conservative Republicans. From earlier talks in 2012 about "self-deportation", to President Obama capturing over 70% of the Latino vote in 2012, and to now this year when Congress has finally decided to address immigration reform. All throughout this debate, Republicans have done an amazingly good job at making themselves seem like the party of old, white people.

I don't believe there is much doubt in anyone's mind that the issues against immigration reform have largely been due to ethnicity and race. While not all Republicans act in a racist manner, the party does seem prone to racist tendencies. They also do a bad job (or two) at trying to make themselves seem inclusive of minorities.

Enter George P. Bush (on the right).

Bush is the son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, nephew of former President George W. Bush, and grandson of former President George H. W. Bush. He is also running for office as Texas Land Commissioner.

Bush, who is part Hispanic, might actually be Republican's future hope of keeping the Latino vote competitive in Texas. Perhaps one day too, nationally.

Read more after the jump.

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Poll: Texas Border Hispanics Take Personal Offense To Education Cuts

by: Joe Deshotel

Wed May 08, 2013 at 09:00 AM CDT

Texas Republicans may have reduced their ethnically tinged rhetoric and overtly anti-Hispanic legislation this session, but a new poll shows that border Hispanics are taking equal offense to cuts in Public Education. The survey conducted by Latino Decisions and released by the Texas State Teachers Association, interviewed 400 Latinos in 3 major Hispanic populations centers along the Texas-Mexico border: El Paso, Laredo and the Rio Grande Valley.

The results found that 67% of respondents were aware of the cuts made in 2011, and the specific local consequences most commonly identified were fewer teachers, crowded schools and cuts to after-school and extracurricular programs. Using the Rainy Day Fund to restore the funding was supported by 75%. According to Sylvia Manzano, senior analyst at Latino Decisions not a single positive outcome from the cuts was cited. "The question was open-ended, but no one mentioned lower taxes, spending efficiencies, or any local condition that might justify the action," she said.

The survey revealed strong personal connections between the Latino communities and their local public schools with over 82% participating in school-sponsored public events. Texas has a Hispanic population of 9,533,000 (38%), 69% which are native-born, 77% have or have had children in the public school system and 48% of all Texas students K-12 are Hispanic.

The concern by Hispanic parents extends beyond primary education. The survey showed that over 90% would prefered to see their child receive a college degree than vocational training, and 85% say it is more important for their child to attend college, than it is to secure a full time job.

Hispanics are the fastest growing segment of the population, and it is easy to sympathize with their frustration of watching the state legislature defund education when it is so integrally tied to the next generation's chances at success. Those frustrations will continue to manifest into electoral power as the state's demographics shift. In 2012 there were 3 House Republicans who were replaced by Hispanic Democrats, and by 2016 Texas will have an additional 900,000 newly eligible Hispanic voters.  

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