ICYMI: Reaching Latino Voters: A Q&A with Daniel Garza, head of The LIBRE Initiative
(Las Vegas, Nevada)—Today, the Nevada Independent published an article sharing an interview with Daniel Garza, President of The LIBRE Initiative. Below are excerpts from the piece.
Read the full article here.
Q: How does LIBRE know which issues Latinos in Nevada are interested in?
A: All issues are Latino issues for us. There is no issue that, as we say, “is only a priority for the Latino community,” or “we care more about this or this has less of an impact.” All financial issues have an impact on us. We believe that, to be a stronger country, we need a stronger Latino community and vice versa.
That is why we are very concerned about what’s going on financially at the federal, state and even local level, because everything that a politician or a bureaucrat does, sooner or later will affect us.
Q: What changes has LIBRE observed in terms of Latino participation in the polls and in general?
A: I would say it has increased. We know the electoral participation of the Latino community is bad. Disproportionately we aren’t voting at the same level as other ethnic groups and it affects us in the sense that our vote and our voice doesn’t have the same strength, and there are certain reasons for this.
One is that almost half of us live in two states: California and Texas, and those states have already decided on issues at the presidential level and therefore there isn’t much of a campaign or motivation to build up the Latino vote, because campaigns focus on other states.
We are also very young. Our average age is 27 while in the rest of the country it’s 37. What I mean is that a young person … because of their age, indifference or whatever, tends to vote less, and we are not at the same financial level as other communities, such as the caucasian or the African American communities.
I think so far this has hurt the Latino vote, but I think recently there has been a lot of activity to mobilize the Latino community and that’s good and great, and I think we are helping this cause.
Q: From your point of view as president of The LIBRE Initiative, is it true that Latinos don’t vote?
A: I think that part of that is because some of us who are first-generation immigrants, these institutions are new to us, we are learning what the democratic system of the United States is all about and that’s why we have a bit of resistance. We are very young, we live in states where this decision has already been made.
I think all that is a combination of factors that keep us well below the national average as far as voter turnout goes, and that’s where I think organizations like La Raza and LULAC and Univision and Telemundo, and us, frankly, should be much more active in mobilizing the Latino community to vote.
I’m not fighting against these other organizations so they won’t do their job. What I want to see is more participation. Although I don’t agree with their ideas or views, I do agree they should activate the Latino community, but they also have to allow us to do this, and win based on the merits and ideas that we are making progress with, not trying to censor one group over another or quieting the voice of one to raise the voice of another group.
Q: What are the five priorities of LIBRE this year?
A: It is to defend the tax reform which was very important. I think the president made a great achievement in advancing that law.
Also, it will be the nominations of conservative judges to the Supreme Court or federal judicial positions.
School choice. To have a choice when it comes to schools was very important for us.
At the same time, we will continue advancing and promoting immigration reform. DACA will come first and then the second phase will be 11 million people currently living here without legal status. I think it’s something we have to address and solve in a way to give certainty to these people who deserve it. They contribute to our country and they contribute to our economy and I think we have to solve that situation.
Fifth, it’s to defend the right of expression, free speech. That’s a high priority. If you don’t have free speech, freedom of the individual is curtailed, and I think right now there are many people who don’t grasp the importance and the primacy of what is free speech.