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Community Leaders Hope To Leverage Growing Latino Population Into Influence At Polls

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One of the fastest-growing segments of the city's population is Latinos, who now number 2.3 million, and community leaders are hoping to leverage that growth into greater influence at the polls this November. NY1's Bobby Cuza filed the following report.

The city's second-fastest growing ethnic group after Asians, Latinos are now looking to assert their political influence like never before.

Dozens of Latino advocacy groups filled the City Hall steps Thursday as the Hispanic Federation released a policy blueprint for candidates.

"All the candidates, if they're smart, running for mayor for November 5, will look at it, will review it and hopefully, will embrace it," said Guillermo Chacon, president of the Latino Commission on AIDS.

The agenda covers not just immigration, but also education, health care, women's rights, affordable housing and income equality.

Advocates say that while Latinos now make up one-fourth of the city's workforce and one-fourth of its voting population, they don't enjoy a proportionate role in the city's economy.

"We do not make up one-fourth of the middle-class families in our cities. We do not make up one-fourth of the leaders of Wall Street. We do not make up one-fourth of the people that are doing well," said Ana Maria Archila, co-executive director of Make the Road New York.

Bill de Blasio won the Latino vote in the Democratic primary and, in a new Quinnipiac poll, outperforms Joseph Lhota among Latinos by 50 points, but Latino leaders say nothing is assured.

"Right now, what I would tell every single candidate is that the Latino community is completely up for grabs," said Jose Calderon, president of the Hispanic Federation. "And this was proven. And you look at what happened with the Democratic race, where you assumed that the African-American community was going to vote for Billy Thompson, and it wasn't the case."

The Hispanic Federation will not endorse in the race, but Calderon said that Latinos will take a close look at Independence Party candidate Adolfo Carrion, the only Latino candidate, as well as Lhota, the Republican candidate, noting that Latinos turned out in large numbers for Republican George Pataki.

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