Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

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Campaigns court Latino votes

In the midst of what is sure to be a close election, the Bush and Kerry campaigns are looking to the ever-growing Hispanic population for votes. The demographic makes up an estimated 7 million people nationwide.

The battle for Hispanic votes is largely unfolding in four swing states: New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona and Florida, which house a predicted 1.4 million Hispanic undecided voters.

The Bush and the Kerry campaigns are throwing $1 million into the production of advertisements directed toward Hispanics. Some commercials show each candidate speaking in Spanish.

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Most recently, the Latin press was briefed in Spanish at the Republican National Convention. Many Latin celebrities attended the RNC, including Latin Grammy Nominee Jaci Velasquez.

Bush has attempted to woo Hispanics by throwing Spanish phases into his speeches, as he did at the “Casa Blanca” for Hispanic Heritage month in October of 2002.

“We are reaching out to the Hispanic community through bilingual efforts,” said Erica Christenson, a member of the University of Wisconsin College Republicans. “We are running our ‘Viva Bush’ campaign, which reaches out to Hispanic communities by giving speeches in Spanish. Our campaign also has many bilingual speakers on its staff, including President Bush.”

Democratic hopeful John Kerry has introduced a new immigration plan.

Kerry has pledged to introduce a reformed policy on immigration within his first 100 days in office, which would pave a clear road to citizenship.

Wisconsin is another state with a growing Hispanic population.

“New immigrants deserve to succeed as others in America have,” said George Twigg, Wisconsin Kerry campaign spokesman. “We continue to work hard, and hopefully, earn [the Hispanic] support.”

Twigg added that Wisconsin historically has had a good Democratic following in the Hispanic community. Current efforts to reach the Hispanic community include offering a link in Spanish on the Kerry website.

At a local Democratic event titled “Unidos con Kerry” Wednesday, state Rep. Pedro Colon spoke in favor of Kerry.

Colon praised Kerry’s immigration plan.

“We live in a two-tier society,” he said. “One tier enjoys the comforts of citizenry, meaning a good education to help you progress in your academic life. The second tier pays taxes and works hard yet has a limited opportunity to get a good education.”

This “second tier” encompasses many undocumented Hispanics living in America, Colon said.

Colon described the Kerry campaign’s great presence in the Hispanic community. He said programs like “Unidos con Kerry,” as well as many personal encounters with Democratic Party members and leaders, have helped to reach the Hispanic base.

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