As Election Day draws near, one can’t help but recognize, a note of particular importance to all candidates and political parties, that the Latino voters will play a pivotal role in out nation’s elections in 2008. With the Latino population ever increasing and for that matter, the Latino electorate, many candidates up for election come November are actively pursuing Latino support in order to succeed.
The key to any candidate’s success with the Latino electorate is to become intimately familiar with the main issues facing the Latino community in 2008. In its report summarizing voters’ main issues, the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund, listed the top five issues facing the Latino community. In no specific order, the top five are: (1) the economy, (2) healthcare, (3) education, (4) the war in Iraq and foreign policy, and (5) immigration. (See Report at www.Naleo.org; See also Latina Style Mag., Vol. 14, No. 4, 2008 at page 76.)
Most voters in America, including the Latino voter, would have had some type of experience with the economy crunch that is being felt nationwide. The crisis in our nation=s economy has affected us all in varying degrees. From folks that have lost their homes to paying more for gas at the pump, all voters have been impacted. The Latino community is no different.
Today, anyone trying to raise a family in the United States is aware of the critical issue of healthcare that affects many across the country. Many families are not even covered by basic healthcare insurance, and many more have insurance that is insufficient to meet their needs. Is some form of universal insurance coverage the answer?
Many folks in the United States recognize that education has been and will continue to be an issue of high priority for elected officials. Unfortunately, most Latinos agree that when it comes to education, particularly the education of poor Latino children, the current administration has not made the issue of education a top priority.
The War in Iraq & Foreign Policy
When asked, most voters express profound concerns with the United States’ presence in Iraq and the state of foreign relations overall. Most voters know or are related to someone who has served in Iraq. Of top concern to Latino voters is the issue of funding for the war that might otherwise go to addressing more pressing challenges, such as education and healthcare.
While immigration is rarely the first issue raised by Latino voters, it is almost certain to be discussed at some point, and with great passion. Most Latino voters do not favor building a wall along the United States-Mexican border. Why is the southern border the only one targeted for such a wall? However, most Latino voters do favor some type of immigration reform. Almost all Latino voters favor some form of path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. This without question, is a fundamental principle which has helped build this great nation that we all love.