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CO Latino Voters: It's Not Just about Immigration

PHOTO: Many Latinos are as concerned about conservation, the environment and public lands protection as immigration issues, according to a new analysis of voter surveys by Latino Decisions and the Hispanic Access Foundation. Photo courtesy of America's Voice.
PHOTO: Many Latinos are as concerned about conservation, the environment and public lands protection as immigration issues, according to a new analysis of voter surveys by Latino Decisions and the Hispanic Access Foundation. Photo courtesy of America's Voice.
August 22, 2014

DENVER - Immigration is often assumed to be the key issue on the minds of Latino voters in Colorado and nationally, but a new report finds those voters also are concerned about the environment.

In Colorado, 93 percent of Hispanic voters said it was "very important" for the government to protect public lands and open spaces, and almost as many believe that protecting rivers and lakes is important.

As the November elections approach, said Maite Arce, president of the Hispanic Access Foundation, candidates need to address conservation issues with their Latino constituents.

"The Latino community is a very diverse community that has a lot of interest in different areas," she said, "but what's different is that conservation is definitely a more unanimous issue among the Latino community."

Unlike other electoral groups, Arce said, Latinos are not divided by gender, party affiliation, age or demographics when it comes to environmental and conservation issues.

The report, released jointly by Latino Decisions and the Hispanic Access Foundation, analyzed nine major public opinion polls from the last three years.

Arce said the analysis indicates connecting with Latino voters on conservation and environmental issues could be just as critical to a candidate as his or her views on immigration.

"The decision-makers and advocates, it's very clear that they'll need to demonstrate their attention to these concerns and policy preferences as the Latino population and electorate continues to grow," she said.

A "Conservation in the West" poll produced this year by Colorado College found that half of Hispanic U-S residents visit public lands more than five times a year, and 54 percent of Hispanic men are sportsmen.

The full report is online at hispanicaccess.org.

Stephanie Carson, Public News Service - CO