The VAHCC Hosts International Press Corps to Interview Latino Voters in Virginia
Twenty-six journalists from six continents convened in Fairfax to learn about the Hispanic Voter in Virginia
FAIRFAX, VA. – On Thursday, September 27, 2012, twenty-six journalists from around the world met with Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce officials and several members of Virginia’s Hispanic community to discuss the issues important to them in this election cycle, and why they identify as either Republican or Democrat. The journalists are covering the election and, particularly, Virginia’s role as a swing state, and the role that Hispanic voters will play in the election. Rather than interviewing party leaders, candidates, or campaign personnel, these journalists wanted everyday Hispanic Virginians who could speak to the issues that were important to them, and how those issues effect their party affiliation, and ultimately, vote.
“As the Hispanic population in Virginia, like that of our nation’s, continues to rise, it is important for the world to take note of the changing nature of our population, and the effects that these changes will have on political outcomes,” said Michel Zajur, VAHCC president. “It is important for elected officials, corporations, and leaders in Virginia and beyond to recognize and incorporate this demographic in their decision making, and we feel that is happening more and more.”
One attendee, Rebecca Jaramillo from Fauquier County, remarked, “After hearing about “the Latino voter” on television, the journalists seemed extremely pleased to get information from Hispanic voters first-hand about their experiences, from both Democrats and Republicans,” as evidenced by the lingering and honest dialogue among all participants.
Hispanics now make up nearly 10 percent of Virginians and their presence, buying power, and increasing political participation are changing the way companies do business, and, the way candidates tailor their messaging. The Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce has been in the business of bridging mainstream businesses and groups to Hispanic businesses and groups for 12 years.
The journalists were brought to the United States through the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Public Affairs, Office of Press Relations. The Fairfax County Economic Development Authority (FCEDA, www.fairfaxcountyeda.org) sponsored the lunch and Gerald L. Gordon, Ph.D., president and CEO of the FCEDA, spoke to the group about the diverse population and business community of Fairfax County.
The journalists will remain in the United States and continue their travels for several more weeks, watching the October 3 presidential debate in Colorado, another key state where Hispanic voters are an influential demographic.