Former congressmen discuss importance of the Hispanic vote

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Photo Credit: Katie Bauer | Daily Texan Staff

After being ridiculed for being American by his family in Mexico, former U.S. Rep. Francisco Canseco (R-Texas) turned to his father for comfort. This helped deepen his pride as a Mexican-American, which is what he shared with students Wednesday.

“We’ve got to remember that this our home, this is our nation, we are part of it, no matter what you look like or what your cultural habits are,” Canseco said. “This is our nation and we love it, which is why we have to be very mindful of all the issues, whether health care or social security, or the idea that when I get out of this school, I’m going to get a job.”

The Center for Mexican American Studies hosted a congressional conversation between Canseco and former U.S. Rep. Charles Gonzalez (D-Texas) about the role of Hispanics in this election and the importance of getting them involved.

Both discussed the claims made about how the current presidential candidates are not meeting their expectations or that of the voters.

“One is a foul-mouthed individual that has been very successful,” Canseco said. “The other one is a very smooth talking person but has a very questionable past going back to her first days as a lawyer. We have to move away from all this rhetoric and look at exactly what are the issues facing us as Americans.”

Electrical engineering junior Jose Camacho said the presentation did not meet his expectations.

“I really expected more policy defense, [but] it was more blank rhetoric,” Camacho said. “I didn’t really come here to get a motivational speech. I wanted to hear policy discussion and see … their specific policy … and where they saw their party’s progression to be.”

The conversation reached its end by discussing Hispanics’ lack of involvement in past elections. The issue revolved around the idea that although the minority group is one of the largest, they do not vote because they believe they have no influence. As Hispanics have gravitated more towards the Democratic party, in a dominantly Republican state like Texas, the motivation to vote lessens, Canseco said.

“The only way we’ll ever get recognized is when we have power and power at the ballot box,” Gonzalez said. “Even in Texas, if you start making your voices heard at the ballot box, you’re going to get the attention of the Republican Party that needs to start moderating.”