Politics & Government

Florida political parties pledge to communicate with Spanish speakers in 2016 election

Florida Republicans and Democrats responded to a request by a group of Hispanic activists for bilingual communications staff that the parties intend to reach out directly to Spanish speakers -- in the 2016 election.

The pledge is obvious. Nearly 15 percent of Florida registered voters identify as Hispanic, and both parties have made concerted efforts to reach out to Spanish-language media outlets, especially in South Florida and Orlando.

But the activists who wrote the party earlier this month noted that -- outside of the heat of a campaign -- the parties don't often publish news releases in Spanish or pitch stories to Spanish-speaking media. It sounds like that still won't happen, at least not til 2016.

"As we build our team and carry out our strategic plan for the coming election cycle, we will certainly make sure that engaging the Hispanic media is a top priority for our communications team," new Republican Party of Florida Chairman Blaise Ingoglia wrote back. "We understand that outreach and engagement with all communities in Florida requires specialized skills, and I have tasked my staff with finding the best candidates for every open position."

Allison Tant, chairwoman of the Florida Democratic Party, wrote that she has fought for issues that matter to Hispanics.

"We know that having the right values is not enough; we must also communicate in a culturally aware way to Hispanic voters," she added. "Through a combination of Party and campaign efforts, we aim to have Spanish-fluent staff working in communities across Florida and with journalists for the 2016 election."