Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Texas Hispanic GOP to Improve Outreach among Latinos

A newly formed group of Hispanic GOP legislators in Texas are gearing up to improve and strengthen relations among the Latino constituencies they represent and better address the issues important to them.

The Hispanic Republican Conference, consists of six members who identify themselves as Hispanic and three Anglos serving districts that are at least 40 percent Hispanic.

State Rep. Aaron Pena of Edinburg, was selected as the chairman of the conference and is among a group of Hispanic freshman legislators working to develop a new space for constructive debate on immigration and “plans to take positions on specific immigration bills and other issues if two-thirds of its members agree,” Peña said.

But Anthony Gutierrez, the Texas Democratic Party deputy executive director thinks otherwise, depicting the newly formed Republican caucus a “public relations stunt.”

“That will be the real test of whether this is just a book club or if it’s serious about representing Hispanics and bringing something different to the Republican Party,” Gutierrez said. “If all they’re going to do is read a bunch of bills, it truly is nothing but a bunch of show.”

According to aides, several of these new legislators are scheduled to meet as a group Wednesday with Attorney General Greg Abbott, who is helping steer a Latino outreach effort.  Abbott might have the final say on how the immigration bills might play out in the legislature by offering his opinion over their legality.

Abbott told the Associated Press, “I haven’t gotten any inquiries this time,” in response to the legality of the upcoming immigration bills this year, but said he would give his opinion if asked.

State GOP chairman Steve Munisteri, also had some sparing words for Gutierrez exclaiming that the Democratic Party is wrong to assume that only their party can appropriately represent Hispanic Texans.

“Such a philosophy is premised on the prejudicial belief that all Hispanic voters think exactly alike and all are in lockstep with the Democratic Party,” Munisteri said in a statement released Monday. “To have this philosophy demonstrates bias and prejudice against the Hispanic community. The fact is, Republicans believe that the Hispanic community, like every other community in our state, has a wide range of concerns and opinions.”

Traditionally Hispanics have leaned more Democratic in their voting patterns, but Abbott and other Republicans suggest the rise in the number of newly elected GOP Hispanics demonstrates that there are several shared conservative values among the GOP and Hispanic Texans.

“As long as we stand for the values that will provide hope and opportunity, we’ll be connecting both with core Republican constituents as well as attract many from the Hispanic community to the Republican Party,” Abbott said.

The Houston Chronicle

The Monitor