Latino Values More Aligned With GOP?


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By Adam Chiara

Connecticut may be a blue state, but many Latino Republicans wonder why there aren’t more Hispanics registered in the Republican Party.  This is surprising to the state’s most influential Latino Republicans because they believe that Latino culture aligns more with Republican viewpoints than Democratic ones.
“Hard work, education, self-sufficiency, strong religious moral fabric — those are all qualities that more align with not only Latinos but also the Republican Party,” said Isaias Diaz, an attorney and former chair of the Latino and Puerto Rican Affairs Commission.
Diaz, now 37, was originally a Democrat, because he says, “I thought that’s what I was supposed to do because I was poor and I was Puerto Rican.” He changed his affiliation in his early 20s after realizing that he was not on board with what he saw as the Democratic platform.
“When I learned how they have such a history of hostility towards Christianity, I found that I couldn’t really align myself with them anymore, so I left,” Diaz said. “Even now, today it happens. There are just so many attacks on free speech, religious freedom… I don’t think that Latinos want schools to not be able to hold church services; I don’t think Latinos have an issue with the Ten Commandments being in a courthouse, or a cross being on a war monument.”
Malvi Lennon, a former candidate for state representative in Windsor, agrees that Latinos, especially in Connecticut, should be able to identify themselves as conservatives. However, she believes they are primarily Democrats because Republicans have lost control of the messaging.
“I think the Democrats have been fantastic at painting a caricature of the Republican Party as the party of the rich, the anti-immigrant party, the anti-working man party, anti-everything,” Lennon said. “And the Republicans have played right into that picture by staying away from the Latino community.”
Lennon believes that if Republicans want to garner more Hispanic voters — voters she believes should naturally be theirs — then the GOP needs to be more inclusive of “the regular people,” and spend more time in poorer communities.
“Republicans need to become active in the community and not just at election time. Get involved with the charities, get involved with the different organizations, sponsor some group, do something for the community visible and year-round.”
She believes low-income communities would be drawn to conservative principles if Republicans spend the time to educate low-income residents on Republican positions.
“I am a Republican because I believe in personal responsibility, and if you look at the big picture, the government programs that are meant to alleviate poverty simply perpetrate poverty,” she said.
Lennon and Diaz both believe Republican policies allow for the poor to get a hand-up and not become stuck in the cycle of government assistance and reliance; an environment they believe Connecticut liberal polices have created.
Both Diaz and Lennon say showing communities that being conservative means believing in free speech, having strong religious values, and supporting self-sufficiency instead of government assistance, are the core messages Republicans should be sending to the Latino community, instead of letting the Democrats demonize the GOP as they are doing now.
Currently, an estimated 14,000 Hispanics are registered as Republicans with the Secretary of state’s office, which uses only surnames to identify a voter as Hispanic.
Photo: Being