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Wisconsin Republicans Reach Out to Americans of Spanish Heritage

Building bridges in the Badger State. (For complete 2014 midterm coverage, get your campaign fix on The Grid.)

by
Avner Zarmi

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August 12, 2014 - 12:02 am
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I have been researching outreach efforts to communities in Wisconsin which have not, in recent years, been a very strong part of the Republican constituency. What I have discovered is that no outreach effort exists, and this is probably a good thing.

The reason for this is quite simple: Unlike the African-American community, Americans of Spanish heritage do not really form any sort of homogeneous group. There are great cultural — and even linguistic — differences between people of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, etc., heritage, and all of those differences are reflected in Wisconsin’s quite diverse Spanish-American population.

That said, the Republican Party of Wisconsin does have a member of its executive committee, pastor and Marine veteran Joe Medina, who serves as the volunteer chairman for Hispanic outreach. Mr. Medina would particularly like to see two things happen in Wisconsin: He would like to see a paid professional engaged in such an outreach effort, similar to the person employed in the African-American effort; and he would like to see the party coalesce around the immigration reform policy proposed by Representative Paul Ryan, of Wisconsin’s First Congressional District. This sort of leadership, he feels, would draw many Spanish-speaking people, who generally espouse socially conservative views and are hard-working, into the party’s tent.

However, Mr. Medina also readily admits the differences between the various groups mentioned above, and those differences are very well highlighted by two rising stars of the Wisconsin state party. The first is Jessie Rodriguez, currently serving her first term in the Wisconsin State Assembly representing Wisconsin Assembly District 21, which covers the southern suburbs of Milwaukee County.

Mrs. Rodriguez paints herself as the quintessential embodiment of the American immigrant ethos. A native of El Salvador, she immigrated to the United States with her family as a child in 1984, in the midst of the Salvadoran civil war. She settled in the Milwaukee area, worked hard, and graduated from Marquette University with a degree in communications.

Mrs. Rodriguez sees herself primarily as representing and promoting the fundamentally conservative values of her constituency. Her campaign website says she will promote a business-friendly climate by lowering taxes and simplifying the tax code; continue to lower the tax burden on the state’s residents in general; support school choice; embrace all possible educational options to maximize the potential of each individual child; promote a pro-life point of view; and firmly support the right to keep and bear arms.

All Comments   (10)
All Comments   (10)
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Wisconsin hispanics are in a good position to maximize their swing voter power - Wisconsin, not just in Milwaukee and Madison, but also in the "Driftless Region" near the Mississipi river hews left despite the Walker ascendancy. Also, the majority white population of the state has had more dust-ups with blacks (metro Milwaukee), Hmong, and native Americans moreso than any particular hispanic group.
10 weeks ago
10 weeks ago Link To Comment
There are Spanish heritage Americans -- most of them living in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona -- whose ancestors arrived in 1500 or 1600 and really helped to build this country from the very beginning. They need not to be "outreached" since many of them have been Conservatives all their lives. I find it quite insulting that some of them are addressed in Spanish like they some kind of retarded group that cannot learn a second language when in all truth English is their FIRST language and many do not even speak Spanish. If I find someone named Kowalski ... should I address the guy in Polish and create a GOP committee for Polish Americans? May be give him a book with the rules of baseball or something?

Please. Please. Stop this nonsense. It will be enough if no one in the GOP patronizes or outright rejects legal Spanish immigrants (there are many) or Spanish heritage Americans. Just treat them as regular Americans who speak English and watch baseball, eat apple pie, etc. All we need is sincere inclusion. There are many Hispanics who abhor Liberalism, the Democrats, and all of that. They are naturally religious, respectful of the law, family oriented: natural Conservatives. They just have to be included in the group with the Kowalskis, the Gherigs, the Kelsos, the Jones, the Luchettis, and the Francois. We are one: that's the glory of Conservatism, we do not have to go around kissing ass to get votes.
10 weeks ago
10 weeks ago Link To Comment
Slightly off topic, but its amazing what 20 years of vouchers do for a region. Both the conservative hispanic candidate and the moderate hispanic candidate support "school choice". Its almost like experience with vouchers causes people to like them.
10 weeks ago
10 weeks ago Link To Comment
"..... he would like to see the party coalesce around the immigration reform policy proposed by Representative Paul Ryan, of Wisconsin’s First Congressional District."

Also know as "amnesty and open borders". Screw that. How is committing cultural suicide going to help anything?
10 weeks ago
10 weeks ago Link To Comment
Here's a thought. How about just reaching out the Americans, and forget the pandering.
10 weeks ago
10 weeks ago Link To Comment
Just a suggestion, because I've never met many "Spanish-Americans" and most hispanics from Latin America in my experience, know little of Spain, I think it might be better to say Latin-Americans if we're gonna play the hyphen game. While I agree with John Wayne that it is mostly destructive to continue along this path, there are certain realities. And while you make the point that they are not homogeneous in a sense, in another, they are. While Latinos who have immigrated from the Caribbean are quite different from those from Mexico and Central America and the vast majority of the Latin immigrants to America have been illegal and NOT from the Caribbean, you have Rep. Luis Gonzalez from Chicago who is Puerto Rican, and he has embraced law-breaking illegal immigration from Mexico and Central America with a passion. This has nothing really to do with Spain and everything to do with creating a homogeneous, racist and unconstitutional law-breaking culture against the America as we have known it. He and others like him are creating this homogenous "agenda", this race-bating, illegal-alien, amnesty-without-penalties-culture offensive to law and order. Spanish-American heritage? Reaching out? I think not. Latin-American lawlessness and socialism? I think so. Hmmm...
10 weeks ago
10 weeks ago Link To Comment
This mirrors my sentiments exactly. We do not need to pander just espouse the ideal and principals of Republicanism as they should know no ethnicity. TR was on to something concerning hyphenated Americans. We welcome all to become one of us in their individuality.
10 weeks ago
10 weeks ago Link To Comment
So, if these folks are Spanish then they are European Caucasians and are not minorities. If they are Central and South American then they are indiginous peoples/Caucasian mix and are a minority, but not as much a minority as the pure indiginous people. Also, many from South America are Portuguese, African, French, even Japanese, not Spanish. The average Mexican has as much in common with Spain as a New Yorker does with the Netherlands.
10 weeks ago
10 weeks ago Link To Comment
Why? Doesn't this make the Democrats the ultimate racists? One group uber alles? You "count" more than others.

By G-D, they need to have this stuff thrown into their faces and ground in, daily. I look forward to calling some Leftie as a "Racist B****," and watching their reaction.
10 weeks ago
10 weeks ago Link To Comment
How about just "reaching out" to Americans of ... ... ... American heritage? Whatever happened to that?
10 weeks ago
10 weeks ago Link To Comment
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