The second day of the three-day ahaa conference in Miami Beach, Fla. started off on a political note, as Democratic San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro suggested that attendees look to Texas to gain a peek at what the rest of the U.S. will eventually look like in the coming years.

 

Commenting that San Antonio is a city with a history of Latino inclusion, Castro said, “Look at the Texas of today, and you’ll see the America of tomorrow. Texas represents the new face of the American Dream.” He added that if, as the old saying goes, if you could make it in New York you could make it anywhere, the 21st century will see that scenario shift from the Big Apple to the nation’s largest Hispanic metropolitan areas.

 

Castro also said America is in its “golden years” with respect to political opportunities for the Latino community. Although Hispanics still have a tremendous amount of challenges with respect to finances and educational attainment, the 2012 presidential election served as a “special, defining moment for the Latino community in the U.S. For the first time Latinos could fundamentally change the trajectory of a campaign.”

 

Meanwhile, the arrival of English-language Hispanic media such as Fusion, the forthcoming cable television network from Univision and ABC News, will mean all political communication will be more bilingual and, thus, more Latino-centric. “The consequence is that there will be an increase in participants in our democracy,” he says.

 

Balancing out the political discussion was former U.S. Treasury Secretary Rosario Marin, a Mexico native who came north as a young child and achieved things she never thought she’d attain. Striving for such goals is something she wishes for others, and believes that the Republican Party offers the best policies for allowing Hispanics to get there.

 

“It’s all about the opportunity, and I think we have a greater opportunity in the Republican Party than we do in the Democratic Party, and I’m afraid that Latinos will lose sight of that and end up like African Americans, where 90% of the community votes Democrat,” Marin said. “With African Americans unemployment is worse than Hispanics, and wealth is on the decline at a worse rate than with Hispanics.”

 

However Marin realizes that the GOP has a tough task on its hands in convincing Latinos to support Republican candidates and its legislative efforts. “The Republican Party has learned … and will learn how to reach members of the Hispanic community.”

 

In other ahaa sessions, a roundtable discussion featuring AARP SVP of Multicultural Markets Lorraine Cortes-Vazquez, Viacom SVP Nancy Tellet and d exposito & partners’ Leo Olper on the purchasing power of Hispanic boomers, Gen Xers, and Millennials featured several key findings that counters much of the conventional wisdom that is commonplace in Hispanic marketing. HispanicAd publisher Gene Bryan offers his commentary on the session’s findings at El Blog.

 

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