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Latinos’ Political Power Grows In California

Photo caption:

Photo credit: AP / Mark J. Terrill

Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles, was sworn in as California Senate President Pro Tempore on Oct. 15, 2014.

Latinos' Political Power Grows In California

GUEST:

Adam Nagourney, Los Angeles bureau chief, The New York Times

There are 1,377 Latinos in local, state and federal office in California, the second-highest number of Latino politicians in the country, according to The New York Times. Texas has more, but because the state is Republican-controlled, the overwhelmingly Democratic Latinos have less control over the state's politics.

Reporters Adam Nagourney and Jennifer Medina write that Latinos have more influence over politics and culture in California than in almost any other place in the country. Forty percent of the state's population is Latino and expected to grow to 47 percent by 2050. California Senate leader Kevin de León, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon and Secretary of State Alex Padilla are Latino.

“Over the last 10 years, we have really solidified the power, especially in the Legislature,” Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, told the reporters. “People are more afraid of being seen as not supporting Latinos than supporting them. You see this most clearly with the rhetoric of Republicans here — they are falling all over themselves to support Latino candidates.”

Nagourney joins KPBS Midday Edition on Tuesday to discuss Latinos' growing power and how Santa Ana could be a precursor to California's political future.

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