Dr. Christina Bejarano speaks on US politics and the Latin Influence

Brianna Patt , Web editor

This event provided insight into Latin Americans pull for both political parties|Photo courtesy of KU Marketing Communications

Sponsored by the Latin American & U.S. Latino Studies minor, the Gender Studies minor, and Political Science department, Dr. Christina Bejarano came to speak on the Latin American influence on U.S. politics.

“So, because of this growing Latina vote,” Associate Professor of Political Science at University of Kansas Dr. Christina Bejarano said, “both political parties strategically appeal to Latinos.”
The event began by addressing the growing value of Latin Americans for both political parties. Bejarano stated that 2016 was the most diverse electorate in US history, with 86% of the Latina and 71% of the Latino vote going to Democrats. According to Bejarano, Latinos are considered swing voters and are a growing part of the US population. It was also stated that Latinos are beginning to think of their place and people in this country when voting.
“Latinos are starting to think about their position in the US,” Bejarano said. “Think about their communities, think about what they can do especially in term of helping their families.”
There has also been a rise overall in the number of Latina elected officials, with the first Latina elected to the U.S. Senate in 2016. Insight was also provided as to the lack of confidence in female candidates when running for elections, with Bejarano stating that women must be asked on average seven times before they will run.
“They have to be told, “ she said, “all of this work you have as key Latina voters in charge of your community is a big pro when your running for office.”
Bejarano suggested pushing those we see as potential candidates to throw there hat in the ring. She also encouraged getting Latinos to vote for those they see fit and to get the people they want into office.
“Think outside of the box,” she said, “and think about how to help support and recruit Latinas to get them to vote.”