This is an exciting time to be part of the Latino community in Iowa. And the Iowa League of United Latin American Citizens is excited to be part of an historic time.
Latinos and Hispanics are an ever-increasing sector of the population, both in Iowa and nationally. In Iowa, we comprise 6 percent of Iowa’s 3 million residents, with 178,000 residents. That’s an 84 percent increase from the 2000 U.S. Census, when the number of Hispanics and Latinos in Iowa was about 69,000.
Iowa LULAC wants to be at the front line in advocating for Latino rights. In 2012, we completed what is believed to be the first-ever analysis of our community’s registered voters, and we worked to rally the Latino vote and get our members to the polls on Election Day.
Those efforts were realized across the country, when Latinos came out in large numbers to vote. Latinos cast 10 percent or 12 million votes on Election Day in 2012. In addition,the media reported that between 71 percent and 77 percent of Latinos voted to re-elect President Barack Obama. In Iowa, the Latino vote became the pivotal force on election day. Leading up to election day, we also fought against voter suppression in the state and eventually won that battle in 2014.
Just recently, we mobilized our community throughout the state to participate in the Iowa Presidential Caucuses that were held on February 1st and successfully increased our participation, becoming a game changer in the process.
But there is more work to be done. The Latino vote will play a crucial part nationally on who will be the next president of the United States and we want to ensure our elected leaders follow through with their promises of better jobs, educational opportunities and comprehensive immigration reform.
We believe there is power in numbers. If we join together, we can give Latinos a stronger voice and work to guarantee we have equal educational and job opportunities, access to healthcare for all and an immigration system that makes it fairer and faster for Latinos to gain U.S. citizenship. LULAC-Iowa will travel across the state in 2016 to meet with Latinos to discuss issues that affect us and to form new LULAC Councils.
LULAC-Iowa is proud to continue the tradition of LULAC as the oldest Latino civil rights organization in the United States. We look forward to working with you in the future to advocate for the rights of Hispanics and Latinos in Iowa.
In unity, there is power!