DENVER (KDVR) — The third annual Colorado Latino Policy Agenda was released Wednesday. A coalition of advocacy groups took the opinions of 1,600 Coloradans across the state to find out the top issues facing the Latino community.
The survey touched on a variety of topics, but the key takeaway from members of the Latino community is that Colorado is becoming way too expensive for people to live here.
“This year’s data shows 61% of our community has less than $1,000 in savings. If something were to happen, $1,000 is not enough to pay rent, and they would be without a home with just one paycheck,” said Mar Galvez Seminario.
1,600 Latino Coloradans polled
Galvez Seminario is a legislative and research coordinator at the Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights, or COLOR for short.
The Colorado Legislative Policy Agenda released a poll to 1,600 Latino Coloradans, an initiative from COLOR and Voces Unidas. The survey found cost of living and improving wages were the top two issues for folks in the Latino community.
Some 76% of people surveyed said they would be more likely to support candidates who prioritize lowering rents and making housing more affordable.
“It’s a no-brainer. We want people who are gonna fight for us,” said state Rep. Elizabeth Velasco, a Democrat whose District 57 includes Eagle, Garfield and Pitkin counties.
The first-year representative and co-chair of the Colorado Democratic Latino Caucus championed a bill that would have let localities introduce rent control. It cleared the House but not the Senate. She said it is an issue the state will be working on for years to come.
“You have representatives who really care and who are going to bring back a lot of legislation that did not pass. You know, for example, just cause eviction, rent control — maybe not next year but in the future. And we will continue to fight and elevate the need for affordable housing,” Velasco said.
Is Colorado moving in the right direction?
Other members of the state’s Democratic Latino Caucus, like Rep. Matthew Martinez of the San Luis Valley, said the caucus is ready to tackle the issues.
“We are excited to hear that those issues are prevalent in the Latino community. Those are some of the issues that we started to address this last legislative session and I’m sure that we are working on diligently to make sure those issues are addressed this upcoming legislative session, and we are excited to roll up our sleeves and get some work done,” Martinez said.
Folks taking the survey were also asked if the nation and the state were moving in the right direction. Most said the U.S. was moving in the wrong direction, but most felt Colorado is moving in the right direction.