Latinos and the Arizona Republican Party
By Randy Pullen
Imagine a political organization that is truly built from the ground up. An organization that learns from its mistakes and gets better. A group of people who believe in self reliance and encourage an independent spirit. An organization that implements new and innovative strategies in public policy. An organization which believes that individual rights and responsibilities are the foundation of a free society. That political organization exists. And it is the Arizona Republican Party.
Last year’s Democrat tsunami taught Republicans around the country a valuable lesson. Americans will hold you accountable if you get off track. While other Republican states were unable to withstand a political tsunami of Democrat support, I am proud to say that Republicans in Arizona did remarkably well. In fact, we picked up seats in the state Legislature and scored wins at nearly every level of elective office. While we are proud of those achievements, we will not rest on our laurels.
Since being reelected as chairman of the AZGOP last January, the party has undergone a thoughtful and thorough review of our operations. We have identified areas of concern and have taken steps toward improving our political organization.
One of the areas in which we have rededicated ourselves is our outreach efforts into the Latino community. The Republican Party shares much in common with Latinos. We maintain strong bonds with family and we are strongly patriotic. We have great appreciation for our military troops and those who have fought for our freedom. Our commitment to protecting life and our religious traditions endure. We take pride in our ability to be productive citizens. As Ronald Reagan once said, a person who agrees with you 80 percent of the time is a friend not a foe. The Republican Party understands that we need to do a better job communicating the values we share, instead of letting others mistakenly define that relationship for us.
The AZGOP has added a new Coalitions Department to our organization to improve this effort. We are creating new materials promoting our intent and have incorporated new technologies to enhance our ability to communicate the Republican message of lower taxes and smaller government. With Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, blogs and a new Web site, we will expand our effort to encourage participation and an ongoing dialog.
Improving our relationship with Latino voters is a top priority for the Arizona Republican Party. For too long, the Democratic party has taken the Latino vote for granted and pushed liberal, anti-family policies assuming that Latinos will vote Democrat regardless of how little they represent the Latino values. I think it might be time for that to change. For those frustrated with the leadership of the Democrat Party, I would suggest that they take a look at the Republican Party platform and discover how much we have in common.
Much has been made of declining voter enrollments for the Republican and Democrat parties. Across the nation, the Republican Party lost ground to the Democrats in voter registration throughout the 2008 election cycle.
Although Republicans still maintain the advantage in registration totals, there is still plenty of work to be done in order to prepare for the 2010 election cycle. We must work harder than ever to register voters, successfully communicate our message and recruit strong candidates that can win on Election Day.
The Latino community is a vital part of the Arizona Republican Party as we share a wide range of common interests. Working together, we can make a difference in Arizona’s future. A future which reflects our principles and values. A future that respects the right to self-determination and a level playing field on which to achieve it.
Randy Pullen is the Arizona Republican Party Chairman and Republican National Committee Treasurer.