Candidates compete for local Hispanic vote

October 9, 2012 3:11:57 PM PDT
Hispanics are the fastest growing community in Illinois -- and leaders are urging them to get out and vote.

"Every month, half a million Latinos turn 20-years old. The Latino vote is expected to increase by four to five million every year for the next six to eight years," State Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno said. "We in the Republican Party are interested to have input from the Latino community."

"It is important that you understand some of the work we are doing in Springfield and how it impacts you," State Senator John Cullerton (D) said.

Radogno and Cullerton both attended Latino Policy Forum breakfast on Tuesday. The forum focused on the importance of getting the community out to vote, especially in swing states, during the presidential election.

"The huge concentration of Latinos that are there on the sidelines. Who is going to start courting this community? The Obama administration is starting to address our community in the fourth quarter, it could be too late," Gilbert Villegas, chairman of the Latino Political Action Committee, said. "The Republicans realize that and they are starting to court the Latino votes. You had Latino keynote speakers at both conventions and that was huge for our community."

"I think Latinos do, in fact, stand to make a difference and have a deciding vote in this election," Virginia Martinez, political leader and activisit, said.

"The major issues [are] economic and that is what we have to look for in the candidates we are voting for," Rose Mary Bombela, LULAC of Illinois, said. "I believe Hispanics will make a difference not only in the presidential level, but as we are moving from the urban areas to the suburbs."

Officials say in 2008 the number of Latino voters who went to the polls increased by 45-percent.

"We have to model our behavior in that we never are going to make a difference until you get more of us to the ballot box. This event calls attention to the significance of the Latino vote and what it means for all of America," Sylvia Puente Latino Policy Forum, said.


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