For the last few years, I have partnered with different organizations in my attempt to inform the Latino community in Iowa about the political process.
The best tool I have is my Spanish podcast, Que Pasa Iowa? From the complex changes to the caucus process this year to interviewing local and presidential candidates, Que Pasa Iowa? affords me the opportunity to ask questions that impact Latinos and all Iowans.
I received some unpleasant comments for inviting someone from the Republican Party. There are folks that fail to understand that as a media outlet, my job is to be as inclusive as possible, and that means inviting persons with different views than mine.
In this instance, I found it difficult to understand how the son of first-generation immigrants from Mexico would not only justify, but applaud, President Trump’s position and actions against our communities.
Don’t take me wrong, I respect people’s party preferences. I know Republican Latinos who do not support Donald Trump because they have been offended and outraged by the way the President has referred to our communities and have watched in dismay his mishandling of ever
In March, I learned Cisneros is running for House District 91 as a Republican candidate after Rep. Gary Carlson’s decision to not seek re-election this fall. Muscatine contains many Latino voters.
From my interview on Que Pasa Iowa? and everything I have learned about Cisneros indicates he is far more extreme than Rep. Carlson. His Facebook page depicts his beliefs and what he supports. There is little original or personal content. His likes and memes include pro-confederate flag groups, extreme conservatives like Tucker Carlson and Brad Parscale, the American Firearms Coalition, The Closet on the Right, and of course, his devotion to President Trump.
Cisneros said he moved to Iowa in 2008 from Los Angeles, and with his wife owns two retail consignment stores.
Like many candidates, his website lists a brief bio and volunteer work and his stance on issue such as lowering taxes, the Second Amendment, right to life, etc. Additionally, he said he supports public, Christian, independent, and homeschool families. On the business side, he wants to reduce “red tape and regulations that handcuff these businesses and reduce the tax burdens on these job creators.” This language is the same used by his party, a cut and paste if you will.
There is virtually nothing on his site that speaks of his Mexican family, which I find surprising. I wonder how his parents migrated to this country.
In a statement he promised to be a voice for the voiceless. Who are the voiceless around him? Statistically, as I mentioned, many are immigrants like his parents, working in the agricultural industry in Iowa, some of whom died due to the president’s negligence during the coronavirus pandemic. Many Muscatine Latinos worked at the Columbus Junction plant that infected hundreds. Those are the voiceless member of his district and Iowa. Many more are living in poverty and in fear. Will he be the voice for them? My guess is no.
Being proud of one’s history and roots is something Democrats and Republicans have in common. Latino pride is also something that runs deep in our community.
Cisneros also promised to listen and respect all his constituents regardless of their political views, but his social media tells a different story. In my opinion, Cisneros will not be able to listen to anyone but his fear-mongering base.
Our Iowa history should not include Cisneros as the first Latino member of the Iowa Legislature. It would not only be a shame, but a disservice to all Iowans.
By Claudia Thrane
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