Latino organizer less than impressed with presidential campaigns

good view
Make The Road Nevada Director Leo Murrieta and Arriba Las Vegas Workers Center Director Bliss Requa-Trautz testifying in opposition to an Assembly bill related to local law enforcement and immigration in March. (Photo courtesy Make The Road Nevada)
good view
Make The Road Nevada Director Leo Murrieta and Arriba Las Vegas Workers Center Director Bliss Requa-Trautz testifying in opposition to an Assembly bill related to local law enforcement and immigration in March. (Photo courtesy Make The Road Nevada)

Latinos make up about 20 percent of the voting electorate in Nevada and is a key voting bloc needed to win the state.

But Leo Murrieta, the Nevada director for the immigrant and workers’ rights organization Make the Road Action, was quoted Monday saying presidential candidates who visit Nevada aren’t spending enough time in the Latino community nor are they listening to their specific issues.

“We’ve seen the typical fly-ins to come and take pictures with popular Dreamers and go to eat tacos or whatever,” Murrieta told Politico in a report published Monday. “But the reality is that very few of the campaigns have had substantive conversations with any Latinx communities around issues like health care, education, criminal justice reform, and worker justice.”

Nevada is the third state in line for voting on the Democratic nominee — the first in the West — making it an important grab for candidates.

Nearly all 24 candidates have visited the state since the beginning of the year. However, The Hill reported only seven of the candidates have hired paid staff in Nevada. Not all of them have hired Latino outreach coordinators. “This all feels last minute to me,” Murrieta told Nevada Current Monday.

Some campaigns, he added, are making the decision to put first or second campaign offices in East Las Vegas, which has a large Hispanic population. “It’s a good trajectory and shows campaigns might be taking Latinx communities seriously.”

However, that’s not the only element needed to earn the vote of the Latino community. Murrieta said it’s also about making a case for how their policy proposals will improve the lives of Latino voters.

“Saying basic things about immigration isn’t going to gain you the Latino vote,” he added. “Saying ‘I don’t support separating families at the border’ is a litmus test for humanity. It shouldn’t be a litmus test for a candidate running for office.”

Michael Lyle
Michael Lyle (MJ to some) has been a journalist in Las Vegas for eight years.  He started his career at View Neighborhood News, the community edition of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. During his seven years with the R-J, he won several first place awards from the Nevada Press Association and was named its 2011 Journalist of Merit. He left the paper in 2017 and spent a year as a freelance journalist accumulating bylines anywhere from The Washington Post to Desert Companion. While he covers a range of topics from homelessness to the criminal justice system, he gravitates toward stories about race relations and LGBTQ issues. Born and mostly raised in Las Vegas, Lyle graduated from UNLV with a degree in Journalism and Media Studies. He is currently working on his master's in Communications through an online program at Syracuse University. In his spare time, Lyle cooks through Ina Garten recipes in hopes of one day becoming the successor to the Barefoot Contessa throne. When he isn’t cooking (or eating), he also enjoys reading, running and re-watching episodes of “Parks and Recreation.” He is also in the process of learning kickboxing.

1 COMMENT

  1. Well done MJ. These communities (and all communities really) need to unite and insist on substantive conversations with presidential candidates BEFORE any photo opps are granted to them. Don’t be their pawns in the PR game.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here