This Tuesday, the midterm elections will gather the ballots of white, black and Latino voters to name a few. By voting, citizens will choose their political representative to act in his or her behalf. The elected official, hopefully, advocate and create opportunities for their constituents that has put them in office. But is voting really working out for the Latino community or do more Latinos have to participate in this electoral process?
New York City is one of the most diverse cities in the nation. In fact, Queens is the most diverse and multi cultural city in the entire world. According to the 2010 census New York City Latinos are 27.5 percent while 44.6 percent are whites. Those numbers may seem low, but for the last 20-years in New York City those numbers have been steadily growing and is expected to surpass the white population in the next 20 to 30-years.
The Latino community has also been growing politically. As of now, almost 22 percent of New York City councilmembers are Latinos. Those are more seats than any minority group altogether. 2014 showcases Melissa Mark-Viverito as the first Puerto Rican and Latina to serve as Speaker of the New York City Council, one of the City’s highly coveted and respected offices.
The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) declares in their 2014 report that New York still has a long way to go. Out of 63 New York State Senate seats Latinos only occupy six. However we are doing better, NALEO reports, electing 15 Latinos out of 27 seats in the New York State Representative offices.
Still, with concerns on immigration, education, job opportunities and housing will the Latino vote influence these issues? New York City Councilman Antonio Reynoso – a Dominican-American – believes in the importance of the Latino vote. “For four years, we felt like the issues of the Latino community were not being taken into accord and into account,” said Reynoso. “What we have now is the opportunity to show very directly we care about these specific issue, and the way to do that is by making sure people vote,” reports the New York Observer of Reynoso’s plea to not just vote, but to vote for the Working Family Party candidates that he believes will advocate for Latino issues.