Texas’ Hispanic Republicans are growing in numbers and strength. Five Republicans of Hispanic decent were elected to the Texas state legislature in 2010 mid-term elections. The freshmen legislators are joining forces to form the Hispanic Republican Conference. (Follow them on twitter @HRCofTexas)
There were no Latino Republicans in the Texas House in the 2009 legislative session.
The Hispanic Republican Conference, led by the newly elected conference Chairman State Rep. Aaron Peña, a legislature who switched to the Republican Party in December, is trying to redefine how the GOP communicates with Latinos. The group is also meeting with Attorney General Abbot, who is helping lead outreach efforts in Texas.
According to reports from AP, the group is “taking a careful walk through the minefield of hot-button immigration and cultural wedge issues that are sure to spark debate, and possibly legal reforms, in the Texas Legislature this year.”
In an interview with The Monitor Representative Peña said the Republican Party needs to listen to the viewpoints of Hispanics if it wants to increase its attractiveness to the state’s fastest-growing population.
“Demographically speaking, if Republicans do not get in tune with the Hispanic population, they will cease to exist as a relevant party in this state,” Peña said. “But the same is true for Democrats, who for decades took us for granted. Now because of the leverage we achieved in the last election cycle, they’re forced to compete (for the Hispanic vote).”
Texas Democrats are not happy with the healthy competition from the Latino Republicans.
Several non-Hispanic legislators representing districts with large Latino populations will be part of the Hispanic Republican Conference. More members are expected to join once Census figures are released showing new districts that meet the conference’s threshold for Hispanic population (majority to 30% Latino population).