What Latino Outreach?

It seems newly elected Republican Gov. Pat McCrory of North Carolina did not get the memo about his party needing simple “outreach” to Latino voters even more than it needs a different position on immigration policy or a sunnier attitude towards government’s duty to help people in need. Here’s a report from Franco Ordoñez and John Frank in the Charlotte Observer:

North Carolina’s Latino advocates are voicing alarm following the governor’s decision to eliminate the state’s office for Latino affairs.

The closing of the Office of Hispanic/Latino affairs was sudden and caught many by surprise. The move appears to have exacerbated the already tense relationship between Republican Gov. Pat McCrory and the Latino community, including criticism over a driver’s license plan for young immigrants.

Advocates say it sends a message that McCrory and Raleigh conservatives are less concerned with the needs of the Latino community. Paradoxically, it comes at a time when issues of deep concern, such as immigration, are at the political forefront.

Lest you think the Tar Heel State doesn’t have enough Latino residents to need any “outreach,” it’s actually home to one of the nation’s fastest-growing Latino populations:

[T]he office was where Latino leaders went to get the governor’s feedback on policy decisions affecting the community. It was a resource for victims needing shelter and bilingual assistance during hurricanes and other natural disasters. It also held community forums and collected demographic statistics on the state’s fastest-growing ethnic community, which now exceeds 800,000 residents.

When it comes to transcending its White Man’s Party rep, sometimes even lip-service is too much to ask these birds.

UPDATE: What with Rep. Don Young’s casual reference to the “wetbacks” his daddy use to employ on a California farm, this has not been the best week for GOP Latino outreach generally.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.