Gutierrez, Ellison push Latino voter turnout

Wednesday, October 8, 2014


MINNEAPOLIS - One of the nation’s leading advocates for immigration reform was in Minneapolis today, urging Latino voters to make their voices heard on Nov. 4.

U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Illinois, was the keynote speaker at a fundraising event organized by the group Unidos Votamos.

Gutierrez acknowledged that many Latino voters might be discouraged after President Obama’s decision to delay executive action on immigration reform until after the election. But he said that can’t be a reason to stay away from the polls.

“I’m disappointed. I’m heartbroken that the President of the United States decided to put politics ahead of good public policy,” Gutierrez said. “But here’s what I know and I am confident of: that people need to participate in this electoral process .”

Gutierrez, who’s a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, said he believes the president will announce “broad” and “generous” immigration reforms by the end of the year.

U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minneapolis, had a similar message. He told the group to keep fighting for immigration reform.

“Don’t tell me you’re not going to vote because you’re frustrated,” Ellison said. “Tell me how many more people you’re going to reach out to.”

Unidos Votamos is a political organization formed in 2011 to increase Latino voter turnout and support the election of candidates advancing Latino issues. The group is officially nonpartisan, but it works closely with many Democrats.

Founding member Luz Maria Frias said there is concern this year that Latino voters are feeling discouraged by Washington’s inaction on immigration reform.

“Our push really is to use that level of frustration and use that as a leverage point to go further,” she said. “And really motivate people to come out to the polls and show them that we’re ever so present and ever so vocal now, despite the inactivity and the inaction that’s happening at the national level.”

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