On February 1st a tradition unlike any other will take place all across the state of Iowa. It has become such an Iowan event that other states jealously attempt to compete to take away this tradition: Iowans will have their chance to help the Democratic and Republican Party start the process of choosing their presidential nominee. Since 1972 Iowa has held the first in the nation Caucus and over the decades it has risen in importance to become a do-or-die election. It’s also been an opportunity for Iowans to meet the future Presidents of the United States, but also getting a chance to question, gauge and even befriend said candidates.
In 2016, as Latin@s in Iowa, we should make it our duty to participate in this sacred Iowan tradition. There is no excuse that we, a community with so much to lose by being apathetic to politics and elections, have not to participate in the process. That’s why it is imperative that we spark a fire in our community to get educated, get prepared, train for the caucuses, and participate in talking to all candidates about their vision for our community in their Administration.
Latin@s have been involved in the Iowa Caucus since 1976 and since 1984 our community has been involved in the Brown and Black Forum, the first ever minority forum geared towards the Latino and African-American communities. Our impact has been felt for a long time, but our numbers need to grow. We need more participation in American political culture. Our issues are more than just Immigration, though that looms heavy in our community; we care about Health Care reform, Social Security, Rural issues, the Economy, small business, foreign policy and the environment just to name a few. As a community we should demand from the Presidential candidates to know how their policies and visions will improve our positive impact on those issues.
To participate in the Iowa Caucus you must be 18 years old as of November 1st 2016, must be an U.S. Citizen and be a registered voter with the political party you are voting in. You can always change your registration any time after the caucus, but on caucus night, if you plan to vote in the Democratic Party you have to be registered Democrat and vice-versa with the Republicans.
This year more than ever, we Latin@s need to make our voice heard, our vote is our voice. Whether it is the Iowa caucus or the General election, city council or school board, 0ur community needs to make it a habit to vote. We have so much to lose if we don’t participate; we have so much to lose if the candidates continue to view us as a non-voting factors. We have so much to lose if candidates (like Trump) think they can dehumanize and demonize our community all because they don’t fear our voting power.
That’s why many of you may have received a phone call, had your door knocked, may have received a piece of literature, or have heard from community leaders about the Iowa caucus, specifically from LULAC-Iowa. Over the past 3 months, we’ve engaged on an aggressive campaign to identify Latin@s in Iowa that would commit to the Iowa Caucus. We’ve also held trainings throughout Iowa to get you ready for the caucus. Help us reach out to your community. Visit us at latinovoteiowa.com or call 515-208-7312 we can help give you more information about the Iowa Caucus and can even help set-up caucus trainings and remember; your vote is your voice.