Arlington,TX – The Arlington Republicans gathered for their first monthly meeting of 2013, and invited Duke Machado, Founder and Director of GOPisForMe, an Auxiliary of the Republican Party of Texas, to talk about how Republicans can take the initiative and create the right environment to draw conservative Hispanics to the Party.
“We’ve been talking about reaching out to Hispanics for years, yet what are we actually doing to make that happen?” Machado asked the group of nearly 90 Republicans. “Nothing,” someone shouted. “That’s right…we’re not doing anything to change the perception of who we are, and whether we like it or not, Democrats are coming to Texas, and they’re coming to win,” Machado added .
At a time when Democrats are ramping up to the challenge of turning Texas blue, Republicans are beginning to understand the reality of Texas’ Hispanic surge in population. Because of President Obama’s popularity among Hispanics, it’s only logical Democrats would feel a natural advantage and attempt to seize the moment.
Machado was there to talk about the need to “connect” with individuals and families…one at a time. “We have a valuable, untapped resource,” he said, “… Republicans in this room can make the difference in someone’s life, and impact them forever, if you decide to, but how do we do that? Most people say they want to do more, but aren’t sure what to do-that’s why we developed Stepping Stones, as a tangible tactic to make that connection with families.”
After a 20 minute speech, Machado answered questions from Arlington Republicans. “What issues would you suggest future Republican candidates discuss, and how should they go about it?” asked Gerald Kern, standing at the back of the room. “With regard to Hispanics, it would be a benefit to talk about the Texas Solution, and how Republicans are leading on immigration reform,” answered Machado, adding, “the most important thing you can do is make sure you’re including them in the future. Make sure you’re honest and sincere. We’re all looking for someone “real” to support, and if you can convey your message, while showing respect for the Hispanic community, and you include them in the strategy for a successful future, you’ve got a great start.”
When the meeting adjourned, Machado stayed and visited with the members, sharing his views with several of the elected officials in the room. Most, like Dr. Mark Shelton, who ran a close race against Democrat, Wendy Davis, were eager to learn more about how to connect with Hispanics. Others were anxious to get started with the mentor-based education initiative, and exchanged contact information.
Yet, there were a few, who openly confronted some of the positions and statements made by Machado. Texas Representative Bill Zedler, asked several questions about illegal immigrants, stating “70% of illegal immigrants are on some sort of benefit or assistance…and it was unfair to allow those who broke the law to cut in line in front of those who applied legally.”
“Have you read the Texas Solution?” Machado asked him. “If you take time to read the Texas Solution, you’ll see that many of the issues you raise, are already answered.” Zedler continued to press, questioning the abuse of the welfare programs and hand-outs. “The Texas Solution addresses that as well, requiring us to update the Social Security card, and mandating anyone enrolled in the process of gaining legal status will not be entitled to government assistance,” Machado responded, assuring Zedler that many of his concerns were addressed in the Texas Solution.
Arlington is a key district in Texas, and Democratic Texas Senator, Wendy Davis, is the darling of the Democrat Party. According to strategists intent on turning Texas blue, she will play a major role in the conversion of Texas. But, Davis drew the short straw, and is up for re-election in 2014. Based on the attitudes and passion of the Arlington Republicans, the Democrats better not count their chickens before they’re hatched.