By Lucy Weberlein
“Elections have consequences.” That was the theme of Wednesday’s Speaker Series event, which kicked off the Hispanic Impact Fund’s second season.
Founder and CEO of the Texas Tribune, Evan Smith, joined Hispanic Impact Fund supporters and investors for a conversation on the rising Hispanic political power in Texas. Though the Hispanic Impact Fund is not a political organization, politics and policies have a real impact on the lives of people in Central Texas.
A lot has changed in our state over the past decade. The demographics in Texas are rapidly changing as Hispanic Texans continue to be on pace for becoming the largest population in the state by 2022.
That steady population growth doesn’t necessarily correlate to voter turnout. But, as Smith reminded us if the 2018 midterms are any indication of the power of the Hispanic vote, our theme, “elections have consequences” will certainly ring true in 2020. In the 2018 midterms, 8.3 million Texans showed up to vote. That’s more voters than Texas saw in the 2012 presidential election. This increase is largely influenced by Hispanic voters.
“There’s huge opportunity to activate the Hispanic vote,” asserts Smith. While race and ethnicity don’t necessarily predict who wins elections, it does signify a shift in the Texas Legislature, which is beginning to look more like the constituents it represents today.
Although Hispanics will soon become the largest demographic group in the state, there is still an apparent opportunity gap when compared to whites. The poverty rate for Hispanics is almost three times that of white individuals in Travis County. “That’s why I invest in the Hispanic Impact Fund,” noted Walt Penn, investor and co-host of Wednesday’s event. “I love Austin. I care about this community and I want to support the people here.”
Thanks again to Evan (middle-left) for an engaging discussion, as well as to our hosts and Hispanic Impact Fund investors, Sergio Rodriguez (middle-right) and Walt Penn (left).
Ready to support the economic security and advancement of Hispanic Central Texans? Join us