Wisconsin political parties vie for the Latino vote

Published: Sep. 25, 2022 at 5:24 PM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - With election day about six weeks away, both political parties in Wisconsin are pushing to court Latino voters.

Experts say this is because every vote counts in Wisconsin as elections are often decided by small margins.

“When you think about the statewide margins, it’s a powerful pro-immigrant voting block. Pro-immigrant, pro-worker because immigrants are disproportionately working class,” Christine Neumann-Ortiz, executive director of Voces de la Frontera, said.

She was in Green Bay on Saturday along with residents and activists for a ribbon cutting on a new office building for Voces de la Frontera. Among its many services, the Milwaukee-based non-profit provides training and legal resources for Hispanics.

A Siena-New York Times times poll released this month shows that while an overwhelming number of Latinos still vote for democrats, the republican party made in roads during the last election cycle, especially in Florida and Texas.

Still, the Latino voting bloc is complex and varies by region.

Neumann-Ortiz says the majority of Latinos in Wisconsin tend to vote democratic, but she’s more concerned of Latinos not participating in the election process.

“The greater caution is people dropping out of elections, I do think, if they’re feeling disenchanted,” she said. “For us, we believe it is not just about the elections. That you have to put pressure. To really push back against the politics of hatred, division, and greed.”

Vice President Kamala Harris was in Milwaukee this week and on our sister station WISN’s UpFront program, she says the Biden administration is aimed at helping Latinos.

“Half of Latino’s student’s debt will be wiped out because of what the president has done in forgiving student loan debt of $10,000,” Harris said.

According to the Republican National Committee, Hispanics are realizing they identify more with GOP values.

“The pillars of our Hispanic outreach...are economy, education for our kids, and then the third one which is going to be public safety,” Jaime Florez, RNC Hispanic Communications Director, said.

Locally, the latest census data shows one in five Green Bay residents identify as Hispanic.

Rep. Kristina Shelton, (D) Green Bay, attended Saturday’s ribbing cutting. She says the number one issue she hears from them is getting a license.

“If you are undocumented, you can no longer get a license. And so people are driving every day in fear that they’re going to be pulled over and ticketed and they want to do the right thing, and they need to be able to do the right thing, to be able to go to work and raise their families,” Shelton said.

Election day is on November 8.