Texas State Representative and Mexican American Legislative Caucus Chair Trey Martinez Fischer is garnering national attention as a hard-hitting, tenacious Democrat who is as comfortable standing alone against the Texas GOP as he is successfully negotiating for bi-partisan legislation. At PowerPAC+’s Race Will Win the Race Conference, Trey illustrated the vast, yet unrealized, electoral power of Texas’ growing Latino population, and spoke candidly about what it will take for the Democratic Party to earn not just their vote, but their trust.
This video is part of the series, Replay: Race Will Win the Race.
Latinos need to act like it
"I get asked constantly: what is the single largest issue facing the Latino population in Texas or in America? And people quickly start to talk about education, which is a good place to start. Talk about pre-K, talk about college opportunities and access, talk about health care. I often say that the single largest problem in the state of Texas is that Latinos are 38% of the population, and we don’t act like it. And the minute Latinos in Texas start acting like they’re 38% of the population, these things sort of take care of themselves."
Voting starts in the Courtroom
"I believe that, frankly, for 2014 the focus should be at the courthouse. I believe that we should work hard knocking on doors and getting people to turn out and vote, but you talk about the best return on your investment to get more minorities elected in Texas, it’s going to be in that courtroom."
The Republican position on health care in Texas: ‘No’ to ‘Hell, No’
"So, we recognize that from a policy perspective, we’re not winning. At the election booth, we’re not winning. Even with the census, we’re not winning. And so, where do we go from here? Let’s talk a little bit about political engagement."
"There are 3.45 million Latinos in Texas that are registered and not voting, or eligible and not registered. If one-third of that group were to get excited and get upset, and to exercise their voice at the election booth: Texas changes. And when Texas changes, the electoral college changes, and when the electoral college changes, presidential politics change for the next 50 years, bottom line."
How to engage Latino voters who are sitting on the sidelines
"So, if you knock on the door and you say 'I’m Trey Martinez Fischer, I’m from the government and I’m here to help you,' what do you think they’re going to say? They’re going to say 'Hey, I have rent due at the end of the month. I have child support to pay. My child is sick, and I don’t have insurance. I mean, they’re not going to care about what Trey Martinez Fischer has to say.'"
"We have to keep that in mind, we have to understand that perspective, and we also have to recognize that Democrats, progressives, whatever you want to call us, there was a time when the Latino community was also not well received within the Democratic Party...Folks have a tendency to forget that, so I always remind people if you want to turn Texas, you better work on your habla. It’s the day that the candidates look like the voters on the other side of the door when you start seeing things change."
"I’m just as optimistic as everybody else about ‘14, ‘15, ‘16, ‘17, whatever year it is, I’m optimistic looking at demographic trends. But our candidates need to reflect our state if we are going to engage the folks who have been sitting out the longest, and in Texas that’s the Latino community."