CHARLOTTE – North Carolina's Latino voters who support Democratic candidates got a boost Wednesday, when a nationally-known leader was assigned as permanent chairman of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte.
The party chose Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to oversee the September convention's day-to-day proceedings.
At their meeting Wednesday evening, Mecklenburg County Hispanic-American Democrats learned who will lead their party's convention.
"He's a voice with experience about Hispanic and Latino issues, so he's going to be very good on our end,”
The L.A. Mayor, serving his second term, will preside over the convention's day-to-day business. While providing a strong national Hispanic voice to Latinos across the Charlotte region and state.
"He can guide the Democratic convention, he can also guide some of our groups here in our party, as to how to get that vote out, based on that he's done it so many times,” said Katherine Alexander, president of Hispanic-American Democrats of Mecklenburg County.
As we approach this fall's presidential election, Hispanics continue to be an electoral force to be reckoned with.
In the 2008 presidential election, a record 9.7 million Latino voters cast a ballot, followed by a record 6.6 million Hispanics voting in the 2010 midterm elections.
"We have pit-bull mentality, and that's to pound the pavement, to be sure that all the Latinos are registered, that they know the process," said Alexander.
Hispanic voters are also expected to play a pivotal role in North Carolina, which President Barack Obama won by just 14,000 votes in 2008.
As of 2010, an estimated 138,000 Latinos were eligible to vote in the Tar Heel State. Since 2000, the Latino population in North Carolina has grown by more than 110 percent.
"It's another proof that the Latino vote counts a lot and a lot of proof that North Carolina voters of the Hispanics are going to be very important,” said Pacino Mancillas of Charlotte.
Important enough that one of the nation's most recognizable Hispanic-Americans will make his presence known in this battleground state.