Tarleton hosts discussion of Latino representation in the Age of Trump
Arynn Tomson– Art Director
A discussion over Latino voting and representation will be held on Nov. 18 in Tarleton State University Lamar Johanson Science Building from 3:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. Political Science Associate Professor Jeronimo Cortina from the University of Houston specializes in Latino politics and will speak about these issues existing in today’s political world. Tarleton Government, Legal Studies and Philosophy Associate Professor Jesus Velasco organized the event and says it will address the relevance of the Latino vote and the possibility of it making a difference in the 2020 presidential election.
Velasco says it is important to have events like this and discuss these topics because in Texas, the presence of Latinos is “extremely important” and representation of that culture is needed in politics.
“The Latino culture and the Latino expression is all over the state of Texas, and also in the United States. They can make a political difference if they vote,” Velasco said.
Regarding United States voting numbers, Velasco says that only 8% of the population that identifies as Latino or Hispanic votes in elections.
“They do not vote, they are the biggest minority in the United States, but they don’t vote,” Velasco added. “So, I think it’s important to understand the reasons behind that political behavior.”
Velasco says he believes this issue can be changed through more awareness by having discussions such as the one he is hosting and by encouraging the population they can make a difference.
Velasco also shared his views about the current representation of Latinos in U.S. politics, and how it can be improved.
“It could be better. There are people that are from a Latino background in the Supreme Court, you have the representation of Latinos in congress, and the local congress of Texas. But, that doesn’t mean that the number of people that represent Latinos is related to the number of the big population that we have,” Velasco said.
Velasco says that in addition to a Latino and Hispanic audience, he hopes that people from all backgrounds will attend the event and learn about the issues and hear perspectives from different sides, including those outside the university.
“It’s an obligation, in my view. It’s a very important duty of any university to expose the students, not only to the professors, but to the views of people that are in other places and who specialize in different topics that we do not have,” Velasco said. “For example, we do not have any single professor at Tarleton that specializes in the Latino vote.”
Velasco added that people from outside the university or even Stephenville can attend and join in on the discussion.
“Anybody who would be interested in this … any town close or far and wants to attend, they are more than welcome,” Velasco said.