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Education Top Issue for Colorado’s Hispanic Voters

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A new survey shows that politicians in both parties may be missing the mark when it comes to courting the state’s crucial Hispanic voting bloc which grew by 41 % over the last decade.

Lawmakers often talk about immigration reform as if it’s the top priority for Hispanic voters, but according to a poll from Colorado Latino Leadership, that’s not the case.

“For our survey respondents, their number one priority is education,” says Mi Casa Resource Executive Director Christine Marquez-Hudson. She helped write and conduct the survey. “Education is the future for the Latino community. It’s also the area where Latino’s are not doing well. We have an incredibly high dropout rate. This is a real concern.”

Jobs and the economy, followed by access to healthcare rounded out the top three issues. Immigration reform and support for a pathway to citizenship and the Dream Act was ranked fourth.

Marquez Hudson went on to say the goal of the survey is to make sure the Latino voice is heard in the presidential election.

“I think that it is important to note that Latino’s care about what all Americans care about. What is happening at the national level is an effort to separate Latino’s and I think this study shows that we have a lot more in common than we have different.”

610 Hispanic voters responded to the statewide survey. While the vast majority said they were Democrats, the top issues of concern were the same across party affiliations. Respondents also overwhelmingly said they wanted more policy specifics from both presidential candidates, and end to partisan gridlock.

Bente Birkeland has been reporting on state legislative issues for KUNC and Rocky Mountain Community Radio since 2006. Originally, from Minnesota, Bente likes to hike and ski in her spare time. She keeps track of state politics throughout the year but is especially busy during the annual legislative session from January through early May.
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