National Organization Wants Latinos at Iowa Caucuses

Cortesy of: LULAC News Alert

On Saturday, October 31, LULAC National Executive Director Brent Wilkes spoke to the Des Moines Register on the importance of the Latino vote in the Iowa Caucuses.

A national Latino organization is focusing on getting Iowa Latino voters to the Iowa Caucuses with the goal of bringing more representation to the unique needs of the community.

The League of United Latin American Citizens, along with its central Iowa council, is conducting its first-ever statewide caucus outreach and education campaign in the state with a goal of getting 10,000 to 20,000 Iowa Latinos to vote. LULAC is funneling $300,000 into the state for advertisements and campaign efforts to try and get at least 10 percent of Iowa Latinos to participate caucus night.

“If we participate, we win. If we don’t participate, we lose, and someone else’s issues rise to the top and rise to the first choice,” said Brent Wilkes, LULAC national executive director, during a news conference at the Holiday Inn-Airport in Des Moines.

The Iowa LULAC campaign includes four field staffers and a communications director. They plan on reaching out to 50,000 registered Latino voters in the state, with a particular focus on Black Hawk, Buena Vista, Crawford, Dallas, Johnson, Linn, Louisa, Marshall, Muscatine, Polk, Pottawattamie, Scott, Wapello and Woodbury counties, which represent about 29,500 registered Latinos. So far, radio advertisements and flyers have been distributed in Polk and Scott counties.

“This state has a big role to determine who gets to run for president,” Wilkes said. “We need to make sure the voices of the Latino community in Iowa are brought to us.”

While the group is non-partisan, some of its top issues include immigration reform, a pathway towards citizenship and providing economic opportunities for Latinos.

Representatives from the Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders camps attended LULAC’s campaign announcement event, while a representative for Martin O’Malley’s campaign was scheduled to show up, but did not for unknown reasons. Jeb Bush was the only Republican presidential candidate to sponsor the banquet. Clinton and Sanders campaigns also sponsored the event.

Award winners:

The following people were award recipients during LULAC’s banquet Saturday evening at the Holiday Inn-Airport in Des Moines:
• LULAC Builder Award: Janet Weaver, a member of Council 10 in Davenport
• Latino Business Person of the Year Award: Miriam De Dios, chief executive officer of Coopera Consulting
• Latino Hero Award: Sgts. Yanira Scarlett, Vince Valdez and David Murillo, all with the Des Moines Police Department
• Iowa Latino Leadership Award: Monica Reyes, and Omar Padilla and Rob Barron. Reyes is founder of DREAM Iowa. Padilla and Barron are co-founders of the Latino Political Network
• Emerging Latino Leadership Scholarship Award: Edgar Guillermo and Emily Bergez, both freshmen at Iowa State University. They will each receive a $1,000 scholarship
• Honorary Achievement Award: Lorenzo Jasso and Warren Morrow, awarded posthumously
• Community Engagement Award: The Latino Forum

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