Government & Politics
4:34 pm
Thu June 27, 2013

Virginia Latino Caucus

Before Democrats, including Vice President Joe Biden, converge on Richmond this weekend for their Jefferson-Jackson dinner, another caucus will take place.

The members say that as the Latino presence expands in Virginia, it's imperative for them to be politically involved—especially as lawmakers make decisions specific to their communities with or without their input.

Delegate Alfonso Lopez says the organization has increased its leadership, and they will be choosing new officers to help carry out their mission. That includes getting their members elected and increasing Latino visibility on issues such as the economy.

"Virginia issues are Latino issues. Same issues everyone else cares about--jobs, the economy, education, being able to get across town in less than two hours in Northern Virginia--those are the same issues that Latinos care about,” said Lopez.

Of course, as Congress debates immigration reform, that will be one of the topics that are part of Saturday's discussion. This includes strengthening voting rights. The Pew Research Hispanic Center estimates that only about one-third of the state's 630,000 Hispanics are eligible to vote. That's compared to 78-percent of the state's white voters. 

The members are also planning the steps they will take for get-out-the-vote efforts leading up to the November election.