Latino Candidates in Pennsylvania Can Mobilize Voters, Impact Races
Latino Victory's president and CEO thinks Pennsylvania's Latino candidates are key to engaging the state's Latino voters.
The Latino electorate is slated to have a resounding impact in the 2020 presidential election, with a record 32 million eligible voters. In battleground states across the country, Latino voters have the power to decide margin-of-victory races. The Latino community is owning its political power in states like Pennsylvania, where our population is growing, by participating in civic engagement and running for office.
The timing could not be more urgent for Latinos to flex this power.
In Pennsylvania, candidates like Janet Diaz, Pennsylvania State Senate's 13th District, Danilo Burgos, House District 197, and Manny Guzman, House District 127, are part of the cadre of Latino-run campaigns that are mobilizing Latino voters across the country. In many cases, their campaigns are entry points for Latino voters to engage in the election. They have the potential to impact races up and down the ballot, including the presidential ticket.
Janet Diaz made history by becoming the first Latina in the Lancaster City Council, and if elected, would make history again by becoming the first Latina elected to the Pennsylvania State Senate. Danilo Burgos, who is running for re-election, is the first Dominican elected to the Pennsylvania State Assembly. Manny Guzman would be the first Latino elected to represent House District 127.
These candidates are running inclusive, grassroots campaigns that center on Pennsylvania’s Latino communities, and whose outreach efforts, during a pandemic, have the potential to energize Latinos to vote in November.
Since President Trump’s election, we have had to contend with an administration that has attacked the Latino community with rhetoric and policy.
It was not enough to demonize the Latino community by calling Mexicans and immigrants rapists and criminals. They have instituted cruelty policies to deter immigration at the expense of the trauma of thousands of children separated from their parents. They are also working non-stop to repeal the Affordable Care Act during a pandemic, which would take away health care access for 22 million Americans, rescind DACA protections for 700,000 Dreamers, and threaten our right to vote by damaging the integrity of our election.
Trump has also made it clear that he has a partiality for ignoring communities of color in times of disaster. His complete failure to provide adequate relief, funding, and resources for Puerto Rico after the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria caused $90 billion in damages, nearly 3,000 lives lost, and unimaginable pain and suffering.
Latinos have also been the hardest hit by COVID-19, with more than 36,000 dead, hundreds of thousands unemployed, and living in uncertainty over their next paycheck. Trump did not fail — he chose to abandon Puerto Rico and to act to minimize the COVID-19 pandemic.
Our community is facing this make-or-break moment in history while under attack by the president of the United States and his Republican enablers. Allowing four more years of Trump’s government to continue in power will cause irreparable harm to the advances Latinos have made in this country– economic, political, and social. However, Latinos are facing this moment with a strong electoral force and a bench of Latino leaders running for office to speak up for our community. This power is rooted in local and state races.
Latinos have the power to elect candidates like Diaz, Burgos, and Guzman, who support issues like access to quality health care, job growth, and economic opportunities, minimum wage increasing and protecting immigrants and workers, and supporting Pennsylvania’s growing Puerto Rican community. These are issues that matter to the Latino community, and we need to elect a government that will implement them to safeguard our communities’ well-being.
With a population of more than 500,000 Latino eligible voters in Pennsylvania, Latino mobilization can go a long way in determining margins of victory in local and state races, but also in the presidential race. If Latinos turn out to vote, they can not only elect Diaz, Guzman, and Burgos, but they can also help deliver Pennsylvania to Vice President Biden and Senator Kamala Harris and send them to the White House. And while our nation is facing many uncertainties at this moment, one thing is certain—the only way we can return stability to our country is by voting.