Democratic tour rolls through Yuma seeking Latino vote
About 40 citizens were on hand as the Arizona Democratic Party.s Latino outreach bus tour, Una Nueva Esperanza, made a stop at Yuma County Democratic Headquarters Tuesday night.
The citizens listened to speakers from the Arizona Democratic Party and the John Kerry-John Edwards campaign and also received training so they can volunteer for Democratic candidates.
"We.re just trying to spread the message," said Anna Maria Chavez, director of intergovernmental affairs for Gov. Janet Napolitano. "The Latino vote is so critical."
Chavez said the main goal of the bus tour was to educate all citizens, Latinos especially, that they should make sure to register to vote and get their friends and family to do the same. Democratic officials were also encouraging voters to take advantage of early voting.
"That.s our big push," said Alexis Tameron, deputy director of the Arizona Democratic Coordinated Campaign. "We want to bank as many voters as we can early because we always go out and beat (the Republicans) on Election Day."
According to a release from the Arizona Democratic Party, 25 percent of Arizonans are Latino, but only one in 10 of those who vote on Election Day in the state are Latino.
The bus tour kicked off Monday with a rally with Edwards before 8,000 supporters in Tucson. The tour, Una Nueva Esperanza, or A New Hope, will stop in 20 cities over six days.
A changing lineup of Latino and Democratic leaders from the state and national level will be on the tour. Chavez said Henry Cisneros, the former Housing and Urban Development Secretary under President Bill Clinton, will be joining the tour.
The large passenger bus pulled into Yuma Tuesday with signs for many local Democratic candidates taped on the sides.
Yuma County Democratic Party Chairman Ray Drysdale was excited to see so many people engaged in the electoral process. Those on hand were given a workshop to show them how to help the campaign.
"We aren.t just talking the talk," Drysdale said. "The action is happening."
The increased involvement is partly attributable to the very charged political atmosphere, Drysdale said. He said it was also a result of the Democratic Party making a commitment to the state and to the people.
"The party.s made a commitment to be involved," he said. "They.re committed to giving us strategies that are going to make an impact."
With Arizona considered a swing state, Tameron said the Democratic Party would be hard at work throughout the state all the way up to Nov. 2. She said the party would be pushing for the Kerry-Edwards ticket but also for all of the Democratic city, county and state candidates.
"To win Arizona and the nation, we need to bring out our base," she said.
The tour will also stop in Casa Grande, Globe, Nogales, Kearney, Mesa, Superior, San Carlos, Hayden, Winkleman, Eloy and Coolidge. The tour ends Sunday.