This November, Colorado Latino voters will face a large field of candidates all vying for their votes, trying to persuade them with their platforms. Each office has the power to alter the lives the Colorado Latino families.
Televisions and mailboxes will be full of confusing, and often contradictory, messages leaving voters feeling helpless and stuck. However, now more than ever, you need to make the decision to educate yourselves and get out to vote. Here is a look at how a few of the local elections might impact your community:
In Senate District 19, Republican incumbent state Senator Laura Woods is campaigning for reelection in a district comprised of Jefferson and Denver County residents. The last race in this district was only won by a margin over about 600 votes and has the potential to majorly sway state politics. Democratic opponent Rachel Zenzinger pledges to support themiddle class, especially by fighting against the rising cost of tuition. In a district with a Latino population of over 14%, Laura Woods has previously won by lack of Latino voter turnout. She has vocally supported Donald Trump and has made comments encouraging legislators to end birthright citizenship. Her support of a racist candidate and her xenophobic beliefs about citizenship are clearly not in line with Latino constituents’ values.
Dominick Moreno is running in State Senate District 21. The district includes most of Denver and Adams Counties and boasts a 50% Latino voter population. Democratic state Representative Dominick Moreno faced off against William Ingram for the state Senate seat, but Ingram has since withdrawn from the race. With Latino roots in Southwest Colorado mining towns, Moreno has proven that the Latino vote is something he is willing to fight for. He sponsored a bill to allow undocumented immigrants access to driver’s licenses and then voted “yes” to allowing undocumented immigrants to receive in-state tuition rates for college.
In nearby Senate District 25 comprised of Brighton and Commerce City, Republican Kevin Priola will compete for votes against Democrat Jenise May. While both have taken rather moderate stances on comprehensive immigration reform, Priola was recently caught in a scandal over paid leave. Priola requested postponing a vote on paid parental leave to take his child to the doctor, and then later voted against the law that would allow parents to put their children first without risk of losing their job. For Latinos and Coloradoans alike, family is a major priority that has become increasingly difficult to balance with work. While Priola may have the work flexibility to take time off for his children, many voters are not afforded that privilege.
In one of the most populous districts, House District 11, made up of the Boulder and Longmont area, democratic candidate Jonathan Singer will race against republican Corey Piper. Because one in five voters in this district are Latinos, Singer made efforts to support bills that gave driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants. In contrast, Piper has yet to release many details of his campaign platform, saying only that he willuse taxpayer money wisely and has not developed the rest of his platform yet.
Arguably the most publicized of the Colorado races is happening between democratic incumbent U.S. Senator Michael Bennet and republican opponent Darryl Glenn. Glenn’s quick rise to the top caught many by surprise. Since then, he has gained large amounts of support for his anti-establishment views. When it comes to politics, Glenn does not hide from controversial issues and has publicly supported overturning Roe v. Wade, supported Trump, and voted against minimum wage increases at the federal level. In regards to immigration, Glenn vowed to close the borders and vote against any sort of amnesty. In 2013, Glenn voted against comprehensive immigration reform and has since criticized Republicans in Washington D.C. for reaching across the aisle too much.
Senator Bennet has made reaching across the aisle one of his major career successes. Bennet was a member of the bipartisan “Gang of Eight” that wrote the comprehensive immigration reform plan in 2013 that Glenn voted against. Bennet has made efforts to have conversations with immigrant families, Latino religious leaders, and other civic leaders to come up with the Colorado Compact in 2012, a document laying out all the ideal terms for immigration reform. Bennet supports amnesty for current undocumented immigrants, a path to citizenship through a worker visa program, the continued funding of sanctuary cities, President Obama’s DREAM Act, and the DACA/DAPA extensions.
While the television will be flooded with both positive and negative ads, it is important for all Coloradans to become educated on races up and down the ballot. Come November, Coloradans need to motivate each other to vote, get registered, come up with a voting plan, and make time to research candidates that respect the values of the community they represent.