Senate race involves JP Latino community

With the U.S. Senate race between incumbent Scott Brown (Republican) and Elizabeth Warren (Democrat) being a nail-biter, the Latino community could play a pivotal role in deciding the winner.

Elizabeth Warren, who stopped by Doyle’s Cafe in Jamaica Plain on Oct. 23, said she expects to have a lot of support from the Latino community and said that this election is about the children, the future, education and opportunities.

“Latinos understand the values of what my campaign is all about,” said Warren.

Recently, the Jamaica Plain Latino community was thrust into the spotlight on Oct. 15 when Brown attended the grand opening of a state Republican Party office in Hyde Square.

The landlord for the office is Aida Lopez, a conservative supporter. When the Gazette contacted her, Aida Lopez referred the Gazette to the office, which could not immediately comment.

“I am glad so many Latinos have turned out,” said Brown at the Oct. 15 event. “I am going after every vote in the Commonwealth, including JP.”

Lazaro Lopez said that the crowd of Brown and Warren supporters who gathered in Hyde Square for the office opening “means a lot.”

“The Latino community has grown in importance,” said Lazaro Lopez. “The community is so important that not only Brown supporters showed up, but also Warren supporters.”

Local state Rep. Jeffrey Sánchez, a Warren supporter, said the office always looks empty, and said that although it has large Scott Brown signs, “Signs don’t vote.” He said that Latinos are overwhelmingly for Warren because she has worked on issues that affect Latinos, such as consumer and immigrant rights.

Regla Gonzalez, a Roslindale resident who was at the office opening supporting Brown, said in a recent Gazette phone interview that she would “be lying to the media” if she said the Latino community favored one candidate over the other. Gonzelez, who is the national vice-president for women of the League of United Latin American Citizens, said she was not speaking for the organization.

She said it is hard to gauge the entire Latino community because it is very cosmopolitan and made up of many ethnic groups, such as Cubans, Puerto Ricans and Dominicans.

Gonzalez said some Latinos are supporting Brown because like them, he is an independent voice. She said Brown works in the Senate with both Democrats and Republicans and that he “understands the immigration issue.” She said he is working with Florida Sen. Mark Rubio to create a “permanent solution to the immigration issue.”

Jesús Gerena, a JP resident, said the Latino support for Warren seems very strong, but he hasn’t talked in depth with his friends about it. He said he is supporting Warren because of her politics, saying she is for making sure the government is looking out for the community and helping invest in people and helping people invest in themselves.

“I don’t see that in his philosophy,” Gerena said of Brown.

He also said his Latino friends were “very much excited” when Mayor Thomas Menino endorsed Warren. He said that was another indication of the Latino community support for Warren.

City Councilor Felix Arroyo, a JP resident, recently attended a “Latinos for Elizabeth” event in Roxbury with Sánchez.

“She did really well at the event,” said Arroyo.

John Ruch and Sandra Storey contributed to his article. 

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