This past Saturday, Hidalgo County-based members of the Equal Voice Network hosted the first annual Candidate Education Session of the Mi Voto = Mi Voz Civic Engagement Campaign. Hundreds of members and supporters of ARISE, LUPE, Proyecto Azteca and Texas Organizing Project participated in the non-partisan forum, which was designed to educate candidates on the issues most affecting Valley families and allow community members to learn where the candidates stand on those important issues. Participants learned about the candidates and were animated to participate in early voting, which started Monday.
Through the Candidate Education Forum, community members got to see exactly where candidates stand on the issues that most affect their lives. Rather than giving pre-rehearsed campaign speeches designed to sell the candidacy to the community, candidates were given two minutes to respond to the questions community members created themselves. The candidates had two minutes to say whether they supported the community on the issue.
Community leaders asked questions directly related to the issues that affect the lives of Valley families. A leader from the ARISE PTA comunitario, for example, asked school board candidates if they would oppose HB 3, a state bill that tracks needy students into subpar low wage job training and decreases their access to tutoring and college preparation. Another community member asked candidates for governor and state representative if they would oppose a bill like Arizona’s SB1070 for Texas. Candidates for county commissioner were asked if they would oppose changes to the model subdivision laws that would put hardship on colonia residents without providing assistance in making the home alterations required by the proposed changes in the law.
Organizers took the opportunity to emphasize the importance of voting and civic engagement and rallied attendees to participate in upcoming marches to the polls happening in Hidalgo and Cameron Counties. “We marched for farm workers rights, we marched for immigration reform,” said Maria Rayo Treto from El Movimiento del Valle Por Los Derechos Humanos. “Now we are marching to vote.”
The Mi Voto = Mi Voz “Vamos a Votar!” marches will take place this Saturday, Oct 23 in four precincts in Hidalgo County and will start at 9:30am. Participants will gather in the following locations:
Duranta and Tower Rd
For more info: 787-2233
201 W Main St (LUPE office)
For more info: 584-3636
125 Denny Dr (ARISE office)
For more info: 783-9293
Bus. 83 and Baseline RD
For more info: 565-2761
To learn more about the candidates’ positions, read our Hidalgo Co. Candidate Education Guide here (opens a PDF in Spanish).