Julián Castro is canvassing in Georgia making sure people vote in the Senate runoff elections.
On Dec. 7, former Democratic presidential candidate Julián Castro arrived in Georgia to support Senate candidates Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock. In an interview with The Americano, Castro discussed the critical Senate runoff elections that will occur on Jan. 5 and how the results will impact Latinos in Georgia.
The Americano: What are the lessons from the US presidential election that should be applied to the Georgia Senate elections?
Castro: Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock are doing what everyone should be doing across the country. They are reaching out to every single community. They are not taking any votes for granted. They are reaching out to the Latino community and making sure they are registered to vote and vote. I am happy to support both candidates.
They are committed to an America where everybody can have an opportunity, no matter who you are. That is something the Latino community can benefit from, just like every other Georgian.
The Americano: How will Ossoff and Warnock address economic growth and opportunities for Latinos?
Castro: The Latino community is a very hard-working community. They are people who put in hard days work. They are business owners and very entrepreneurial. What Latinos need in Washington is leaders who are committed to help businesses get back and going, and create job opportunities and make sure that everybody gets good health care and that their children get a better education than they were able to get. Those are the things that Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock are focused on.
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If there’s one thing that I know about the Latino community it’s that we believe in the American dream, and we’re willing to work hard for it, but we’re looking for partners in Washington who are actually going to make the investment in education and job opportunities, in health care, in housing, so that the American dream can become a reality.
The Americano: Throughout the 2020 campaign season, Latino organizations were on the ground, helping Latinos register to vote, which ultimately helped the state flip blue. What can groups do to engage more Latinos this time around?
Castro: My hope is that we continue to see a greater effort to register Latinos and Latinas in Georgia. And that more will run for office from the school board, all the way up the ballot. That will provide for more role models for young people coming up to participate in our democracy and to get involved themselves in public service, and that’s a good thing.
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In Texas, we saw over the years an absolute explosion in growth in the number of young Latinos and Latinas that are running for office. I expect to see that in the coming years here in Georgia.
There are organizations like GALEO that are doing a good job in trying to recruit people to run for office and motivate people to register to vote, and to actually get out there and vote.
The Americano: What would you say to people who are experiencing election fatigue? Will it be possible to keep the same momentum going in the Senate runoff races that we saw in the presidential election?
Castro: I know this cycle has been going on for a long time. There may be some voters out there who think, “Well, why does my vote matter?” But the stakes are far too high for anybody to sit on the sidelines.
The stakes are whether we are able to make sure everybody gets good health care, whether we are able to get past this pandemic or not, whether we are able to get small businesses back up and going, whether we are able to make sure our kids can go back to getting a normal public school education or not. Those are the stakes.
Everybody is watching the state of Georgia. And in Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, we have two people who are committed to serving the people of Georgia instead of just serving themselves like the current senators are.
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The Americano: Record numbers of Latinos voted in Georgia, which helped Joe Biden win the state. What do you see as the role the community will play in future elections?
Castro: I’m happy that here in Georgia the [Latino] community is coming into its own, and it’s growing, it’s participating more. That is a reason to celebrate. But in this moment, with so much on the line, we have to save the celebration for later and focus on getting everybody out to vote starting on Dec. 14.
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In the years to come, the Latinos in Georgia are only going to play a bigger role in the direction of Georgia. In the state’s future, they are going to shape it in every single way possible, and that’s something to be very proud of. I look forward to seeing that unfold.
I know that in Texas, we still have work to do, but we’re also making progress, and we look to Georgia as a model state that has increased participation from diverse communities and now has flipped from red to blue because of that. There are a lot of people there watching the state trying to understand how we can be more like what happened here in Georgia.
The Americano: Next month, the election cycle will be over for a while. Will the Latino community continue to hear and see you advocating for them?
Castro: No matter where I am or what I am doing, I am always going to use my voice to support the Latino community and help elect people who I believe will expand opportunities in our country to include Latinos and everybody else. That’s why I’m proud to support Jon and Rafael, and it’s why I’m going to keep on pushing beyond this election.