Latino politicians shattering assumptions, and finding assumptions shattered, left and right
According to the 2011 Directory of Latino Elected Officials published by the National Association of Latino Elected Officials (NALEO) there are currently 5,850 Latinos serving in elected offices nationwide, in all levels of government and 9 serving in statewide offices, including the office of governor.
In the past, when a lone Latino or Latina ran in a race, it was expected he/she would speak Spanish and could rely on a healthy amount of support from fellow Latinos. Latino influence would had been virtually non-existent then and the general consensus, for better or worse, was that it was more important to start building up representation at that level of government versus agreeing with the candidate on every issue.
Fortunately, more and more Latinos and Latinas are running for public office and assumptions are being shattered left and right (pun intended).
For example, the notion that all Latino candidates should speak Spanish is not true. For many Latinos, especially second, third-generation-and-up and bicultural (mix of both Latino and Anglo, black, Asian, etc), Spanish may not flow as easily as English. To assume candidates will have mastered the so-called “mother tongue” is a fallacy that puts Latino candidates on the defensive.
Read the full story at Latina Lista