Project Working To Support Latino Political Candidates

According to the Latino Victory Project, Latinos make up 17 percent of the U.S. population but hold just one percent of elected offices.

By Ryan PoppeAugust 5, 2016 9:37 am| , ,

From Texas Public Radio:

Two San Antonians behind the effort were front and center at the Democratic National Convention, making connections for the project.

At a convention exhibit booth draped in red and blue, volunteers with the Latino Victory Party spread the word about their project launched two years ago.

The Latino Victory Project’s goal is to develop a pipeline of Latino leaders and elected officials who will address important policy issues. San Antonio architect Henry R. Munoz, III, launched the organization with “Desperate Housewives” actress Eva Longoria, who also lives in San Antonio.

“Well, I think the biggest challenge for young Latinos is feeling a sense of empowerment.  We are the fastest growing population of this country, but we’re also a community that has been left behind.  And so the idea of civic engagement is very strong in our communities but we don’t know the way,” Munoz says.

Munoz says that’s why mentoring young Latinos interested in politics is so essential.  And there’s another big challenge Munoz knows something about: money. He’s the finance chairman for the National Democratic Party. He says funding a credible political campaign is difficult for candidates who also have to hold down jobs.

“Well my father used to tell me, ‘No peso, no say-so’, money has always been a problem because we are not a wealthy community and because of the wealth that is being built is just now getting to the point where it can be organized around this concept of inclusion,” Munoz says.

The financial challenge is one that  San Antonio Congressman Joaquin Castro faced during his early career as a lawyer.

“Well I had to quit my job, I was working in a law firm and there was no way I was going to be able to bill all the hours I needed to bill and also run against a Democratic incumbent and then run in November in a competitive district,” Castro says.

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