Hispanics Get More Political Clout in Dallas, North Texas as New, Younger Leaders Emerge

Six years ago, Hispanic residents in Dallas had made population gains but lost clout at City Hall.At the time, political observers expected the Dallas City Council to field four Hispanic members. Instead, the number fell to two. Voter participation was down, good candidates were hard to recruit and the next generation generally left politics to their older counterparts.The last year has brought a rousing reversal of fortune that mirrors what's occurring across the state and nationally, as younger Hispanics are winning elections in partisan and non-partisan races.The council, after Monday's inauguration, now has five Hispanic representatives. Those candidates won both in districts with favorable demographics and in areas once dominated by white and black members."The opportunity districts have finally had that opportunity filled," said Dallas ISD trustee Miguel Solis, who ran for mayor in the May general election. "There has been tremendous advancement in making our city reflect the political and demographic shifts that have been occurring."Hispanic voter turnout was still paltry for the municipal elections. Of the estimated 77,300 registered Hispanic voters in the city, only about 7 percent cast ballots.But Hispanic leaders say the recent run of success can be attributed to a better crop of candidates, continuing demographic shifts and the involvement of younger Latinos in the political process. Those candidates run broad campaigns that appeal beyond their political bases.  Continue reading...

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