Democratic vice presidential hopeful Tim Kaine on Sunday urged Georgia Latinos to vote for Hillary Clinton for president and told them they can “make the difference.”
Kaine arrived Sunday morning for a fund raiser in Atlanta but made an unannounced stop at the Fiesta Mexicana at Gwinnett Place Mall in Duluth. The festival marks the Sept. 16 anniversary of Mexican independence.
Kaine shook hands and spoke with dozens of people before he was enticed on stage by festival hosts from the La Raza radio station.
Kaine, who once worked in Honduras, spoke briefly to the crowd in Spanish. He first asked if anyone in the crowd was from Honduras. A few indicate they were.
“There are people from Mexico, right?” he said, according to a translation provided by the campaign. “But we are all Americans, right? I’m in Georgia because the Latino vote in Georgia is a powerful vote.”
In Gwinnett County, a majority-minority county, that may be true, but Latinos make up just 2 percent of the state’s registered voters and 4 percent of Georgia’s voting-age population. The number of Latinos registered to vote, however, has increased by 47 percent since 2010, according to data from the secretary of state.
In a close race, however, 2 percent can make the difference, Kaine said.
“The population is growing really fast and the Latino vote can make the difference in almost every election here,” Kaine said. “I trust Hillary Clinton because we support the Latino community, we want to reform our immigration system, because we are a nation of immigrants not a nation of deportations.
“That is Donald Trump’s opinion. We are not a nation of deportations we are a nation of immigrants.”
Sunday’s festival was held in state Rep. Pedro Marin’s district. Marin, D-Duluth, is the only Latino member of the General Assembly. Having Kaine there, he said, is an important sign to his community.
“This is historic,” Marin said. “He’s coming to one of the most diverse areas of the state. It’s important for people, especially Latinos, one of the fastest-growing communities, one of the fastest-growing voter registration communities.”
Alejandro Plata worked his way through the crowd to get a photograph of Kaine. Kaine, he said, “was really nice and friendly.”
“It makes you show people care about the Hispanic community,” he said.
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