DES MOINES, Iowa – Over 500 members of Iowa’s growing Latino community are expected to attend their first-ever town hall forum with presidential candidates.
The League of United Latin American Citizens and Newsmax TV are hosting a presidential town hall for the Latino community.
According to LULAC National Advisor Joe Enrique Henry, community members are eager to listen to the candidates.
“It’s about time, because we have had a lot of other community groups that have been able to sit down with the presidential candidates, but this is the first time ever that we have had this occur here in Iowa,” Henry said.
Former H.U.D Secretary Julian Castro, U.S. Representative Tulsi Gabbard, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, and former U.S. Representative Beto O’Rourke will be attending.
Each candidate will have 24 minutes to speak to the public and answer questions.
Henry said the main topics to be discussed include immigration, jobs, education, and healthcare.
“A concern for us is to make sure that we have a healthcare system that’s not only affordable but is also built-in. We’ve heard from the candidates a lot of different variations of how to provide healthcare and clearly we need to hear more about that,” Henry said.
According to LULAC, there are 53,000 identified registered Latino voters in Iowa, which is double the amount from 15 years ago.
Henry said the organization is looking to add an additional 25,000 voters by the Iowa Caucuses.
“If we can do that we can amplify our voice, make our concerns heard. We are 60 million of the 325 million Americans here in the United States so it is very important our concerns are heard by the candidates,” Henry said.
Up to 40 people will be able to ask the candidates questions. Every question is pre-screened and can be submitted up to a few hours before the town hall.
The town hall is Thursday from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. at the Iowa Events Center on the fourth-floor ballroom.
People interested in attending need to pre-register online. The event is free to the public.