Hispanics are the fastest growing segment of the population in Kansas. Nationally their voting influence is being felt, as reported by the Wichita Eagle. However, only 37% of the Hispanic population in Kansas were eligible to vote in 2012 compared to 77% of the state’s white population, according to a complete profile of eligible Hispanic voters in Kansas prepared by Pew Research.
In 2012, they voted no less than 70% Democratic, helping to sway the vote to re-elect President Obama. They share a common desire for better jobs, a good education, and affordable health care, but it’s immigration concerns that help sway votes toward the Democrats.
Juan Sepulveda, senior advisor for Hispanic Affairs for the Democratic National Committee, recently attended Demofest in Wichita. He said many Hispanics feel the rhetoric and actions of some Republicans have gone beyond the issue of legal status to an attack on their identity. “That’s the kind of disrespect you see from the other side,” Sepulveda said. “We know that the conversation has to start with respect, and then it can move on from there.”