MCALLEN, Texas – The Republican National Committee is set to open an Hispanic Engagement Office in McAllen in the coming weeks, having just launched one in Laredo.
Macarena Martinez, the RNC’s Texas communications director, said the move shows how serious the Republican Party is about building support in Hispanic communities.
“This is the first time we will be opening up a Hispanic Engagement Office under the RNC in Texas history so we are very excited,” Martinez told the Rio Grande Guardian, in a podcast that was recorded before the Laredo office opened.
Martinez said Republicans need to take Hispanic voters in Texas seriously because their numbers are growing.
“We saw in the 2020 election, and in the recent Census data, Hispanics are growing at unprecedented rates here in Texas. We are seeing the Hispanic community grow throughout the state.”
Martinez said the new Hispanic Engagement Office in McAllen would provide information on the Republican Party’s agenda and on individual candidates once the primary season is over. She said the office will work closely with local county GOP parties. There will also be workshops on credit and home buying, community meetings, movie and game nights, and religious services at the office.
Martinez said the GOP can make inroads into heavily Hispanic communities such as Laredo and the Rio Grande Valley that have traditionally voted Democrat. She pointed to the increased share of the vote President Trump received in South Texas in the 2020 president election.
The 2020 election was noteworthy in the Valley for the huge convoys of cars and trucks belonging to Trump supporters decked out with Trump banners and USA flags. These noisy convoys became known as Trump Trains.
Martinez said Trump’s message was well received in the Valley during that campaign. She said his platform on “enforcing law and order, strong border policies, and the border wall” resonated well with Hispanics living on the border.
She also said values Republicans believe in, such as family, work and faith, also strike a chord with Hispanics. “Hispanic values are closely aligned with Republican values,” Martinez argued.
Another reason for Republicans to be hopeful, Martinez said, is President Biden’s handling of immigration and border security.
“The influx of migrants at the border… the cities down in the Valley have been hard hit by the amount of migrants coming in, the amount of Covid that has also been spreading infection rates down there as well. They are depleting the cities’ resources. That is well documented and has been said by individuals such as Mayor Villalobos in McAllen.”
Asked if the RNC has any specific targets in the next election cycle, such as picking up congressional seats in South Texas, Martinez said: “Not specifically. We will wait and see. We are just going to wait and see how redistricting plays out.”
Martinez added: “This is going to be a very strong effort by the Republican National Committee and the Republican Party to really make sure that this next election, we come out very strong, that we specifically make sure those Hispanic voices are heard and are reflected in the next election.”
The RNC’s Hispanic Engagement Office in Laredo was officially opened by Tommy Hicks, Jr., a co-chair of the RNC and former national finance chair for Donald J. Trump for President.
“We are really excited as we are opening our first Texas Hispanic Community Center here in Laredo, and so the goal is to start conversations with the community here in Laredo and try to continue to grow our party as large as we can among all Americans,” Hicks said, at the event.
“We are already on our way as we are very confident and we are really excited about this, and this is going to be one of our No. 1 focuses here in Texas and across the country.”
Hicks argued that Republicans are “better ambassadors” to the values of the people of Laredo.
“We are the party of freedom, prosperity and opportunity, and the Democrats are the party of socialism and government control,” Hicks said.
“Laredo is a very important community for us as the border community is extremely important for us at the Republican Party as we just had a big victory with the mayor winning in a county where Joe Biden won by 17%. We want to help continue this momentum, and we see this as an actual place to continue this momentum as a party.”
Martinez said about the Laredo office opening: “The Republican National Committee is dedicated to welcoming new Hispanic voters into the Republican Party in Laredo and all across the Rio Grande Valley. The community center will be a place to come together and work towards a common goal: having conversations with Hispanic Texans in the Laredo community to continue to keep Texas red for election cycles to come.”
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