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KPBS Midday Edition Segments

Mass Shootings Loom As Five Presidential Candidates Speak At Latino Conference

 August 6, 2019 at 10:29 AM PDT

Speaker 1: 00:00 Five is the top Democratic candidates for president found a platform in San Diego, mundane to air their reactions to the tragic mass shootings over the weekend. They spoke at the [inaudible] conference at the Convention Center. According to the Pew Research Center, Latinos will be the largest racial minority group in the electorate in 2020 with 32 million registered voters. KPBS report them. Hoffman was at the conference Monday. Matt, thanks so much for joining us. Hey Allison. So before we get into what the presidential candidates had to say, tell us a bit more about you need us, us. Speaker 2: 00:31 Yeah. So you need those us, it's billed as the nation's largest Hispanic civil rights organization. Every year they put on a new conference. This year it was in San Diego. I next year it's coming up in Vegas. Um, it's a lot of movers and shakers, so to speak, in the Latino community. Um, it draws thousands of people that are there. Basically they're advocating for what Latinos want. And as a, you mentioned there were presidential candidates there and they get, they sort of ask them questions about how they would benefit the Latino community Speaker 1: 00:57 and you need us, USA used to be called the National Council of La Rasa. A lot of us remember it as that. So now tell us which of the Democratic candidates attended the conference and what was their message? Speaker 2: 01:08 Sure. Yeah. So we had former vice president, Joe Biden, senators, Bernie Sanders, Amy Klobuchar and Kamala Harris and former secretary of housing and urban development. Uh, Julio and Castro. Um, they all talked about a variety of different things, but they all took time at the beginning, uh, to touch on the recent, uh, shootings in Ohio and Texas Speaker 3: 01:27 as long time, long past time that we in fact call out for what it is. This is white nationalism, this is white supremacy. This is about hate. This is about what happened in the border community. And today I say to Donald Trump, stop your anti immigrant rhetoric. Stop the hatred and no, Mr President, as he said after Charlottesville, there are not two sides to an issue. When the other side is the Ku Klux Klan and white nationalists, there is only one side and that side is what unites us. That side is United States of America. This is a country that was founded and built by immigrants. Unless you are native American or your ancestors were kidnapped and brought over on a slave ship. Your people are immigrants. Speaker 2: 02:28 The attack two days ago was and attack on the Latino community. It was an attack on immigrants. It was an attack on Mexicans and Mexican Americans. And that is no accident Speaker 2: 02:44 that is due in part to the climate that this president has set. And that was former housing secretary Holian Castro. We also heard from Vice President Joe Biden and senators, Bernie Sander, Amy Klobuchar and uh, uh, Camilla Harris. Um, it's worth noting that Camilla Harris didn't directly speak about the shootings. I mean she did talk about the racial divide that we have here in this country, but the candidates, I mean this was a kind of a forum for, um, Latino voters to get a better idea of who they are. Um, so they talked about a variety of other things and we're talking about like housing, uh, health care, uh, immigration reform and jobs. Speaker 1: 03:17 Were there any particular candidates that the audience responded to particularly? Yeah. Speaker 2: 03:21 Um, well, obviously you have a Joe Biden's, your a Combo Harris's who got a big draw because they're very well known. Uh, but then, uh, Julio and Castro definitely had the most and the loudest support there. Um, you need those. U S said, uh, after, um, he of did his introduction that they were, uh, very proud to have Latino running, which got a big roar from the crowd. Speaker 1: 03:40 Mm. So now the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell is coming under fire for not taking up the house, has gun reform legislation on background checks. What specific solutions did the candidates offer, uh, to address gun violence? Was there any difference between the candidates and what they said they would push for if elected? Speaker 2: 03:56 Right. Uh, it was a sort of similar, but not everybody touched on it. Um, during their time at the, at the conference, Biden talked about banning assault weapons and it's something that, um, Sanders talked about taking on the NRA and also ending the sale, uh, of assault rifles, club Char, a called out Mitch McConnell directly, uh, saying that, uh, we need to vote on this gun reform. He needs to bring this. Um, but the NRA is too strong and it's keeping people like him from bringing this forward. And, and the president, um, Harrison Castro didn't specifically touch on, uh, the issue of guns or this debate with Mitch McConnell. Speaker 1: 04:29 How about the rise of white supremacy? Did they talk about how they would counter basically, you know, domestic Speaker 2: 04:35 terrorism, right. Yeah, that was a big topic that most of them touched on when they were talking about the shootings. Um, particularly in El Paso, Texas, a Biden talked said that white and white nationalism is growing and we need to stand up to it. Confronted, call it out for what it is. Um, Bernie said a similar thing. Um, he talked about how Trump is scapegoating immigrants and we need to change that narrative. Immigrants built this country, a club, a char, um, said that we need to take this head on and condemn hate when we see it instead of just letting it go by. Harris, um, also had a similar message as club Char. She was, she said that this was a country that was founded and built by immigrants. Uh, she actually was the only candidate up there that called Trump a racist. Um, and says that what he say matters and the people listen, we need to be more aware of that. Castro, um, said that the president has made this a climate of division and it's no accident that these shootings are happening. Speaker 1: 05:25 No. As we mentioned earlier, Hispanics are going to be a very large proportion of the eligible voters in the coming election. 13%. So after attending the conference, you get a sense of what they're looking for in a candidate. Speaker 2: 05:36 Right. And before the conference, I [inaudible] they released a numbers of some polling that they did and they found a few things. Um, they one, they found that, uh, there, according, this is according to their own internal poll that they've done with, uh, Latinos, uh, is that, uh, people, uh, the immigration, uh, is a huge topic for voters and many are about how the president, the current president, Donald Trump speaks to, and his attitude toward Latinos and they're thinking that that could get worse. Um, so they want somebody who can sort of change that narrative. There's also a, they found that there's like three big things that are on voters minds, uh, which are jobs, uh, healthcare and immigration are, are things that they're looking out for this upcoming year. Thanks, Matt. Thanks Alison. KPBS reporter Matt Hoffman.

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Five candidates seeking the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination spoke Monday in San Diego at the annual conference of the nation's largest Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization.
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