According to a recent McLaughlin poll, over 50 percent of Hispanics would vote for a conservative candidate in an election, and almost one-third identified themselves as conservatives. While this may be a surprise to some, the truth is that conservative values are shared by many in the Hispanic community.
As such, conservatives have a great opportunity to effectively make the case why President Obama’s tax-and-spend policies are hurting Hispanic-owned businesses. For example, the tax increases under Obamacare will only make it more difficult for our economy to grow and create desperately needed jobs. This is particularly important for the Hispanic community, which continues to suffer from an unemployment rate that is nearly in double digits.
Many Hispanics in the United States came to the land of opportunity in search of a better life. Conservative policies, such as promoting free enterprise, are largely responsible for creating economic opportunities that enable Hispanics to climb the rungs of the economic ladder. This is precisely why the conservative message would resonate well with the Latino community.
Excessive regulatory burdens and increased levels of taxation are of particular interest to millions of Hispanic business owners across the country. Hispanics are passionate entrepreneurs always seeking to embark in new business ventures—whether it’s in the high-tech industry or selling pupusas on the streets. In fact, the growth rate of Hispanic-owned businesses was twice the national average between 2002 and 2007.
My family’s story is one of those examples. My great-grandfather opened a tailor shop more than 80 years ago with very little money in his pocket. Business prospects at the time were not great, but he carried on, determined to build a family legacy of hard work and self-reliance. Today, Trajes Gobernador stands as one of Puerto Rico’s iconic family-owned businesses, employing more than 30 full-time tailors and serving clients all over the mainland United States—including Justice Sonia Sotomayor. We know the American Dream because we’ve lived it.
Hispanics understand that free enterprise and jobs are the backbone of our nation and the key to building a prosperous future for ourselves and our posterity. We also know that hard work and family life are the cornerstones of a vibrant civil society. As such, this is a unique opportunity for conservatives to grow the movement and advance the cause of liberty and freedom by empowering Hispanics to succeed and fulfill their own potential.
Gerardo J. Cruz is currently a member of the Young Leaders Program at The Heritage Foundation. For more information on interning at Heritage, please click here.