Latino voters – especially in political swing states like Colorado – are getting a lot of attention this election season.
In anticipation of the first debate between the presidential candidates tonight at the University of Denver, Mi Casa and CLLARO (Colorado Latino Leadership, Advocacy and Research Organization ) conducted a survey of Latino voters to identify the issues and sub issues that matter most to Colorado’s fastest growing population group.
At a community forum on October 1, Mi Casa presented the results of a statewide survey and hosted a discussion with five distinguished panelists:
- Guillermo “Bill” Vidal, Denver Hispanic Chamber
- Grace Lopez Ramirez, Mi Familia Vota
- Olivia Mendoza, CLLARO
- Mauricio Palacio, Office of Health Disparities, CDPHE
- Richard Garcia, Colorado Statewide Parent Coalition
The results of the survey identified three key priority areas for Latinos in the state. These priority areas remained consistent across gender, age, political affiliation, language preference and immigrant status.
1. Education: within Education, 58% of respondents prioritized access to high-quality pre-K-12 education. Ensuring funding for low-interest student loans and Pell grants was the next highest ranked issue area under education.
2. Jobs and the Economy: there were two top priority issue areas within Jobs and the Economy – providing more training and assistance to the unemployed (32% ranked this highest) and increasing assistance (e.g., loans) to small business owners to help them create jobs (28% ranked this highest).
3. Health: Health was the third most important issue identified in the survey. Respondents overwhelmingly favored preserving the Affordable Care Act at 64.9%.
“As an issue, immigration relates directly to the three priorities of Education, Jobs and the Economy, and Healthcare that Latinos identified in the survey,” said Olivia Mendoza of CLLARO. “Comprehensive immigration reform would lift the barriers to allow millions of undocumented immigrants to participate in the economy, obtain jobs, and access healthcare. And the passage of the DREAM Act would support expanded educational opportunities for undocumented Latino youth.”
Mendoza continued, “The results of the survey didn’t surprise us at all. Education, Jobs and the Economy, and Health are the three most important things to a community’s stability. “
Grace Lopez Ramirez of Mi Familia Vota stressed the feeling of survey respondents that they are tired of political gridlock and empty rhetoric. “These are not new priorities for the Latino community. These have been our priorities for a long time, and we are ready to see some action,” Lopez Ramirez said. “We are going to turn out to vote in record numbers this year. But it won’t end there. We aren’t going to just turn out to vote, we are going to hold our elected officials accountable.”