I have always loved celebrating my birthday – spending time with family, enjoying the food and most importantly partaking in the family traditions created to mark the celebration. Also, as a Latina, I always enjoy a good party – even as a child.

Since I can remember, each year on my birthday I was awaken by the sounds of music, specifically mariachi music to the tune of “Las Mañanitas.” My father would get up early and place a LP on the record player and turn up the volume until the entire house filled with the sounds of stringed instruments and trumpets, indicative of the traditional Mexican sound. The voice of Pedro Infante or the tunes of Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlan would let me know that it was my cumpleanos as I could finally hear what I called “the Mexican Birthday Song.”

As the voice of Infante would fill the hallways and crevasses of my Miami home, my very proud Mexican father would pick me up and we would dance around the house. As I got older, and much to grownup to be physically lifted by my dad, he always made sure that no matter what part of the world life had taken me, my father always called me first thing in the morning just to sing to me (with some pre-tapped Mariachi help, now in CD format) my favorite song, “Las Mañanitas.”

Till this day, it is not my birthday until I hear “Las Mañanitas.” I’m sure that even when I’m old and gray, I’ll ask for the song… So Happy Birthday to me….

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The 2010 election proved once again that the Hispanic vote is not monolithic and up for grabs for both political parties. Hispanic support of Republican candidates increased from previous election cycles. In Florida Republican statewide candidates, Rick Scott for Governor and Marco Rubio for Senate, won the Hispanic vote. GOP to build on success with Hispanic voters. The Miami Herald’s Beth Reinhard highlights the Florida victory in “GOP to build on success with Hispanic voters“:

“Overlooked amid all the good news for the Republican party on Nov. 2: After losing the Hispanic vote in 2008 and 2006 in Florida, the GOP got it back in 2010.

In the U.S. Senate race, Hispanic voters favored Cuban-American Republican Marco Rubio by 55 percent, while supporting Gov. Charlie Crist by 23 percent and Democrat Kendrick Meek by 21 percent. Republican Rick Scott won 50 percent of the Hispanic vote, two points ahead of Democrat Alex Sink in one of the closest governor’s races in Florida history.

Look for the Republican Party to try to build on its appeal to Hispanic voters in 2012, when the nation’s fastest growing minority group will help decide whether or not President Barack Obama gets a second term…”

On a national level, Republicans improved their standing with Latino voters. In 2010 about 38% of Hispanic voters cast ballots for Republicans in the 2010 midterm elections.This is a major improvement when you look at past cycles when Republicans only won 29% of the Hispanic vote in 2008 and obtaining about 30% in 2006 midterm elections. Not since 2004 and President George W. Bush has the Republican Party done so well among Hispanics.

While the Grand Old Party and Republican candidates have a long way to go in connecting with Latino voters, they now have many successful models to look at including New Mexico Governor Susan Martinez, a slew of newly elected Hispanic Republican members of Congress, among others.