Came across this Spanish-language story on the Chron's front page about Latino candidates this year, and being interested in what it said but extremely limited in my Spanish proficiency, I plugged the text into Google's translator to see what I'd get. The result, which I'm including beneath the fold, isn't exactly a work of literature, but I got the gist of it. Click on and see what you think.
The present generation of politicians Hispanics Houston is struggling to even higher levels of political influence, and it is possible that Latinos will vote in the upcoming elections will help meet that goal, experts agree.Posted by Charles Kuffner on January 26, 2008 to Election 2008
"When we have credible candidates Latinos, and I mean by that they have sufficient funds for their campaigns, a good education and experience of the previous levels of government, then there is what I call a mobilizing effect of the Hispanic vote," explained Robert M. Stein, a professor of political science at Rice University in Houston.
Therefore, Stein expected that the Latino vote in primary and general elections this year will be higher than in previous elections.
Rick Noriega, Carol Alvarado and Adrian Garcia are three of the Houston Hispanic politicians who now aspire to positions of greater political influence. Others, like Mario Gallegos, Jessica Farrar and Ana Hernandez will try to retain their positions in the Texas Legislature.
These qualities have new Hispanic politicians, the expert believes. "This new generation are going deeper into their positions, directs its policy towards serving the community is more inclined to seek support in other communities, form coalitions and seeking higher positions in politics when there is an opportunity," says Stein .
"The problems of Latinos are problems of Texas," said Noriega, Democrat candidate for the nomination for the office of federal senator for Texas.
"People are concerned about jobs, how we are going to pay the gallon (gasoline) at $ 3, what kind of education children are receiving, how you are going to do to pay for health insurance," warns Noriega. "These problems go beyond ethnicity, race, religion, and are matters that people are living from day to day."
According to the United States political system, all aspirants for a nomination to be candidate of his party for any post must first win the elections or primaries, unless they have no opponents.
The victors in the primaries, which are in Texas on 4 March, and contenderán candidates will be appointed after the general election of November 4.
Noriega, current representative of District 145 in the House of Representatives state, aspires to be the Democrat candidate to dispute that Republican John Cornyn one of the two positions in the Texas Senate.
Noriega faces the first three contenders in the Democratic primary: Ray McMurray, of Corpus Christi, Rhett Smith of San Antonio, and Gene Kelly of Universal City.
"It will be an election to be followed very closely," says Richard Murray, professor of Political Science Center campus of the University of Houston. "The campaign Noriega can get a bigger vote than usual," he says, by the expected participation of more Hispanic voters.
The departure of Noriega of the State Legislature allows another attempt to broaden its Hispanic political level political influence. The former councilman and vicealcaldesa Houston Carol Alvarado is now seeking to influence state policy as a representative of District 145 of the Texas Legislature, a position which shall vacate Noriega.
Alvarado will have to compete for the Democratic nomination against another Latino, the employer Elias de la Garza, and then, if win, against another Latino, the Republican Patricia Rodriguez.
"If we were more votes, we could govern this state," says Alvarado. "Unfortunately, we still have a lot of electoral apathy and we need to improve it," he says.
De la Garza, who is participating for the first time in a campaign, says that "in this district are 137000 inhabitants, 49380 registered voters and as 7700 people are those who vote in the primary. A 6 percent of this amount are Latinos.
Adrian Garcia, councilman District H and also vicealcalde Houston, also seeks to expand its areas of influence policy by participating as a candidate to head of the Democrat Harris County Police.
Garcia, in his last period of 2 years as a councilman, says that some supporters asking compete for the mayoralty in 2009.
"Being mayor is a great honour and one day I will find," he says. "But now the need for deeper throughout our region and the city of Houston is public safety throughout Harris County."
Other Latinos seek to consolidate their political power or gain a position of representation.
Mario Gallegos, senator for the District 6 Houston, the Texas Legislature has no Democratic contender and will seek re-election in the general election of November 4. Another Latino, the Republican Gilbert Pena, competing against Gallegos.
Armando Walle will actively seek the nomination of District 140 of the state House of Representatives, defeating the current representative Kevin Bailey in the primary elections. No candidate filed its registration in the Republican primary.
Walle will have many chances to win, says Murray. "Given that already are very few Anglos in that district, Walle can create interest in the Hispanic community and have a good chance to win the post."
Attorney Ana Hernandez, who seeks re-election as a representative of District 143, has no opponent in the Democratic primary and will face in the general election to the Latino Republican Dorothy Olmos.
Hernandez says that politicians must work harder to educate Hispanics on the issues important to their community.
"I believe that many people do not know enough about the issues, about the political and perhaps not encouraging them to go out and vote," says Hernandez. "As a representative government is my responsibility to educate my community on issues of importance and the need to go vote," he says.
Olmos said that three years ago he left the Democratic Party and joined the Republican conservatives for their ideals as a Catholic, mother and grandmother. "I feel that the Republican Party is a good example of those values."
The architect Jessica Farrar, who has 13 years as a representative of District 148 of the local Legislature, also will seek re-election and will face in the primary election to his former legislative adviser Jose Medrano. Howard H. Gano, Republican candidate, in the general election will face the winner of the Democratic primary.
Farrar said represent a district of about 140000 inhabitants, 60 percent of them Latino.
Medrano justifies its decision to compete with it: "I really hurt, but the reality is that my heart, my loyalty is to my community, not my former employer."
"We know that in a very short time Hispanics will be the majority," says Farrar. "If we are not part of the leadership we can be left behind, because you need people who know (...) all situations by passing Hispanic families," she says.