Latino conference high hopes for 2016 election

The Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute policy forum a 4-day event conference that takes place every year and mission is to develop the next generation of Latino leaders through education, empowerment and connection in order to shape the nation’s future.

Thousands joined CHCI this week as they celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month by bringing in a powerful lineup of Presidential candidates like Senator Bernie Sanders and Governor Martin O’Malley who addressed the crowd and the press in private forums. Texas Congressman, Joaquin Castro and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, were also among some of the special guest.

Honorary guests included Secretary of State and Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama at the conference 38th Annual Awards Gala Thursday night. President Obama pumped up the crowd by addressing the young leaders in the room adding

To be a leader you have to stand for something.

The President urged the crowd to get out and invigorate Latino vote, “it’s the only way to change one of the our biggest challenges, our immigration system.”

Immigration grows our economy. America’s greatness doesn’t come from making laws but from creating opportunities. Go vote!

The conference, which honors and encourages young political leaders, focused their message on growing the education of our Latino communities by engaging them on the importance of the Latino vote in 2016.

Rep. Linda Sanchez, Congressional Hispanic Caucus chairwoman, was adamant in her speech by saying, “I’ am on a personal vendetta to get every Latino that I know that is eligible to vote to register and to participate.”

Gabriel Sanchez director of research for Latino Decision polling firm, said some 13.1 million Latinos are projected to vote in 2016. The number of Latinos eligible to vote is expected to double in 20 years.

The missed potential in the Latino community was crucial, and with the more than 12 million VEP Latinos in 2014 not registered, focus at the state level is exalted, yet somehow this key demographic did not turn out to the polls in this past main election, emphasizing the need for greater outreach, and more coordinated efforts from campaign managers.

Sanchez answered questions from the audience, addressing the fact that the system makes it more difficult for Latinos to vote due to the lack of voter identification, but added that some states are making substantial changes to improve numbers.

Arizona is a key state to capture the Latino vote, a politically charged state in which immigration policy is created. This border state’s Latino vote eligible population (VEP) casts 458, 000 unregistered, and 687,00 VEP who are registered.

According to Latino Decisions, there are 3.5 million VEP Latinos in California that are registered to vote, a mayor untapped voting bloc that would add significantly to the 3.3 million already registered.

In Texas, 2.6 million are eligible in addition to the 2.6 million already registered.

In Colorado, a key battleground state driven by Latino growth, 213,000 are eligible to vote and not registered; 321,000 are registered.

For more stats on your state take a look into the map provided from Latino Decisions.

Anabel Maldonado, an Arizona community organizer and current Public Policy Fellow with CHCI said, ‘Attending the conference and engaging with so many national movers and shakers makes me hopeful for the future. Not only are we having policy discussions on the Latino voting power but we are also acting on those conversations. If I, as a future Latino leader, can empower my community and plant seeds of change wherever I go, I think 2016 will start to seem a little less scary for our Latino community.”