Pennsylvania Latino Voters Speak Out on Issues They Follow – 90.5 WESA | Directory Mayhem

For all the political football and culture war rhetoric churning ahead of November’s election, some Latinos in the middle state say they are focused on hyperlocal issues.

Several who spoke to WITF while attending outdoor community events said they were not involved in the larger political implications that statewide races – such as for US Senator and Governor – have on the Commonwealth or the country will.

Here’s a snapshot of their motivations, concerns, and hopes for the November midterm elections.

Berks County

During the National Night Out event, which brings together the community and local police, Reading residents like Wilfredo Rivera were out with friends enjoying the celebrations.

Rivera said he votes in every presidential election and in city races. He said he’s seen news about the upcoming elections and candidates, but isn’t familiar with who they are or what their positions are.

More than anything, he hoped that his active constituency could help improve Reading.

“The most important thing for me this year is to fix Reading and the crime and move everyone forward,” said Rivera, 52, in Spanish.

Lucy Diaz, 36, said her biggest motivator for voting was the well-being of her three children.

Diaz couldn’t name a nationwide issue that she’s most concerned with, and said she wishes her voice could ensure a better environment for her family.

“They need to pay more attention to the playground,” Diaz said. “Because if I take them to the playground for my son, it’s not safe.” Nelson Manon works at Reading Town Hall and has lived in the city for more than three decades. He is from the Dominican Republic, said he votes in every election and is particularly interested in local politics.

Manon was among the few voters who spoke to WITF, raising a nationally debated issue: voter access to the ballot box.

“So right now, one of the main concerns, I want my vote to be counted and I also want there to be ID because how come people are going to vote from the graveyard?” he added jokingly.

Nelson Manon said he would like to see voters identify themselves to vote and ensure fair elections.

With the exception of first-time voters, no ID is required to vote in PA. Manon said he didn’t think Mastriano’s plan to erase electoral rolls was necessary.

Manon noted that his concerns had less to do with Berks County Election Services’ track record and more to do with the process in general.

None of the other six Berks Latino voters who spoke to WITF raised concerns about the election, even considering the county’s issues that serve Hispanic-speaking voters.

A recurring theme and an issue of national concern among mid-state voters has been concerns about the rising cost of living in recent months.

Juan and Elizabeth Delgado said it’s hard for them to get too involved in politics as they’re just trying to make ends meet.

“It’s just so crazy right now,” Juan Delgado said, adding that he just learned that fees on the PA turnpike will increase by another 5% in 2023.

The Delgados said they were most concerned about the economy, which matches nearly 40% of other Latino voters in the state in a recent poll conducted by Bendixon & Amani International.

“Things are looking up,” Elizabeth said. “Why can’t US workers get paid anymore?”

Lancaster

During a visit from Lancaster to the Puerto Rican Day Parade in Lebanon, Danny Reveron said he was very dissatisfied with the state of the country – namely the economy.

Reveron said he saw the rise in commodity prices as mismanagement of the economy by the Democratic-controlled Congress and White House.

“I mean, the price we’re paying now, because the country is now Democratic, it feels like we’re paying more than we used to when Republicans ran it,” Reveron said.

Reveron was not well acquainted with candidates for national positions.

He said he gained most of his limited knowledge of candidates through ads.

“I see it on YouTube, you know, commercials and stuff like that,” Reveron said.

As Reveron reflected on the far-reaching implications that a leadership change at the state level like abortion could have, Reveron began saying that for the most part, abortion is none of his business and that it’s okay.

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Norma Reveron steps in to speak to husband Danny about abortion rights.

His wife, Norma Reveron, jumped into the conversation.

“You shouldn’t tell a woman what to do with her body,” Norma Reveron said. “Especially in situations like rape or something like that.

“But at the same time, you don’t want to just have an abortion because you feel like you can’t take care of your kids.”

Norma Reveron said she will likely vote Republican.

When confronted with the possibility that abortion rights could be withdrawn, as proposed by candidates like Mastriano, she said she wanted abortion rights to remain.

But she said that for her, economic prosperity outweighed the problem of abortion.

“We live here and we have to make do with what we do,” said Norma Reveron.

Allentown

Margarita Marquez also made her way to Lebanon for the parade. She said she was completely uninterested in politics.

From local races to Washington DC, Marquez said she doesn’t care who runs political campaigns, wins or loses.

“I worked for the government in Puerto Rico and I haven’t voted since I lost my job there,” Marquez said.

She has lived in Pennsylvania since 2016. Before she lost her government post in Puerto Rico, she said she used to identify more with the island’s Popular Democratic Party, which works to continue as a self-governing Commonwealth of the United States. It is considered a center party.

Marquez works in home care and is now a single woman with adult children. She expressed frustration at the government denying her Medicaid.

She said part of her detachment from politics is fueled by a sense of being on her own.

“It’s not that I don’t want to know or that I don’t care,” Marquez said. “What is it worth to me if I can’t get any grants from the state? I have to work to survive.”

Read more from our partner WITF.

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