In a nod to the importance of engaging the Latino vote – which was in short supply for Republican candidate Mitt Romney in November’s elections – Republicans in the House launched a Spanish-language Twitter handle today for Hispanics whose dominant language is Spanish.
“@GOPespañol is part of our commitment to take our conservative message and values to every corner of America – to young people and seniors, to Hispanics and African-Americans, to men and women alike,” said House Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers. ”Communication must be a two-way street, so @GOPespañol will not only be a platform for us to share our message, but it will also facilitate an ongoing conversation with our followers,” added McMorris Rodgers.
According to the National Journal, House Republicans had considered a larger Spanish-language initiative. But some in the House, like Iowa Republican congressman Steve King, were not in agreement. “There’s a conflicting message that comes out from the Republicans if we want to recognize the unifying power of English, and meanwhile, we send out communications in multiple languages,” said King to the National Journal, adding “official business and documents needs to be in English.” Congressman King has generated headlines by comparing immigrants to dogs and introducing a bill to deny birth citizenship. The initiative was also opposed by the group U.S. English. Its chairman, Mauro Mujica, said he would fight the Spanish-language Republican initiative, calling it “insane.”
Latino Republican strategist Danny Vargas thinks the Spanish-language twitter handle was a good move on the House Republicans’ part.
“I think any and all efforts to engage folks and establish a more open dialogue is good,” says Vargas. “The latest elections prove we need to do a better job of listening, engaging and communicating what we are doing,” Vargas says.
And in another example of Republican outreach to Latinos, Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio is giving the Republican response to President Obama’s State of the Union speech, and the Cuban-American Senator will deliver in English y en español.