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Hispanic Federation Hosts Candidate Forums in Florida

As Election Day nears, and Florida seems to once again hold the keys to the presidency (and perhaps the Senate), Latino voters in the central part of the state are getting a great deal of attention from candidates’ campaigns. But while most of the focus on Central Florida has revolved around its role in deciding the presidential race, there are a number of local races that are also important to the future of the area’s Latino communities.

Last month, as part of the ¡Que Vote Mi Gente! campaign, Hispanic Federation hosted two candidate forums for hotly contested races to the Florida State Senate and the U.S. Congress. On October 19th, a forum at Barry University featured two candidates for the 15th Senatorial District, Peter Vivaldi and Víctor Torres. Two days later, at the offices of the Orlando Sentinel, Wayne Liebnitsky and Darren Soto, candidates for the 9th Congressional District faced off.

In addition, on October 24th, the first day of Early Voting in Florida, HF sponsored a voter education forum at the Acacia Network’s El Centro Borinqueño, which is an early voting site in Orlando. Attendees were able to learn about and discuss voting rights and the process of early voting, and then those who reside in Orange County were actually able to vote early.

“I think this might be a watershed election for Latinos in Florida,” said HF President José Calderón. “As our own research shows, the growth of the Latino population in Central Florida, as a result mainly of the arrival of thousands of Puerto Ricans from the island, has the potential to upend much of the accepted wisdom about Hispanic voters in the state. Our ¡Que Vote Mi Gente! campaign has been registering voters and explaining the electoral process to new voters for months. We look at these forums as a way of putting candidates in front of new voters and challenging them to explain how their policies align with our community’s priorities.”

Depending on the county, early voting end in Florida on either November 5th or November 6th.

To learn more about the ¡Que Vote Mi Gente! campaign, click here.