The new conservative face in California grew up with the Spanish language at home
By: Soudi Jimenez
On an uphill road, Republicans want to reverse, or at least level, its political representation in California where only 25 of 80 Assembly members and 11 of 40 senators are registered in the party of Abraham Lincoln.
Nevertheless the task won’t be easy, primarily due to the rhetoric in Washington D.C. and the anti-immigration posture of the Tea Party, that has influenced sentiments throughout the U.S.
In California the balance is different as the Democrats have the lead with 43.9% of the vote, versus 28.9% are Republicans and 20.9% are Independents.
That is why the Republican Party has set its sights on Latino youth, primarily because this group already makes up half of the population in California and according to experts, the Republicans will not have much of a future, if they can’t make headway with the new generations, the majority of which come from homes where they speak Spanish.
Some new faces are emerging in California politics are Cecilia Iglesias, Jack Guerrero and Alex Saab, who triumphed in their last elections in Latino communities and areas that are low-income.
These three candidates might well represent the new Republican political mold with which the party is expected to succeed in future statewide races: a young candidate, latino, professional and bilingual.
“People do not care if it was a Republican, because I’m not carrying the party flag, but the values of the community,” said Iglesias, a native of Usulutan, El Salvador, and winner in 2012 of an elective in School Board of the City of Santa Ana
“We are portrayed as anti-immigrant, because the party has had no face or candidates who can argue that that’s not true,” she said. “The conservative values of family and faith, are those that identify the party,” she added.
Guerrero, meanwhile, competed in 2012 to reach the state Assembly, but did not win. A year later, despite attacks by the Democrats on his party affiliation, voters in Cudahy, a low-income community with a lot of immigrants, became a Councilman.
A year later, despite attacks by the Democrats for their party affiliation, voters in Cudahy them a low-income communities with a strong dose of immigrants, became alderman.
“People responded because I wanted something different, because they had years and years of corruption in the city,” says the business manager and son of Mexican immigrants.
“It takes that concept, that Republicans do not want to Latinos, when there are good examples of Republican leaders,” says Guerrero. Many of us are fighting for the rights of our community,” Guerrero stressed.
Meanwhile, Saab who speaks very good Spanish, in 2012 became a Councilman in Downey, defeating a Democratic candidate in a city where 75% of the population is Latino.
“I represent the new generation of the Republican Party, I’m not an extremist,” said the lawyer, the son of Cuban immigrants, who is in favor of reducing government, lower taxes and free enterprise, among other values.
Grow Elect, a political organization was created in 2012 by Duane Dichiara, Moses Merino, Hector Alvarado and Luis Barajas, all experienced strategists to achieve the target of helping to elect 350 elected officials in the next few years.
“What we are doing is giving a new voice to the Republican Party,” said Barajas. “It’s much easier to make a change from within the party, than from the outside,” he adds.
This organization, in addition to identifying new leaders, is responsible for training them, preparing them and if they meet all the requirements, they are supported financially.
The effort began in Los Angeles, but has since spread to Indio, San Bernardino, Murrieta, Yorba Linda, Milpitas, Diamond Bar and Chino, where have achieved their first 46 wins.