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House GOP Focuses on Latinos

House Republican leaders are circulating a “best practice” document designed to help rank-and-file GOP Members raise their profile with Latino voters over the two-week spring recess.

Top Republicans such as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.), Senate Republican Conference Chairman Lamar Alexander (Tenn.), National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn (Texas) and Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele have pressed their colleagues in recent months to build relationships with black, Latino and other minority communities.

While the material going to Members this week does not include similar guidance for outreach to other minority communities, a spokeswoman for the House Republican Conference said the document is part of a broader minority outreach effort under way by the House GOP.

“The House Republican Conference is currently reaching out to all minorities, but in this recess packet we are focusing on the Hispanic community,” spokeswoman Mary Vought said.

The one-page document is included among the House Republican Conference’s recess messaging materials, which heavily emphasize the budget fight and the broader dispute between Democrats and Republicans over the economy.

Citing the “best practice” in minority outreach, the document emphasizes the need for Members to be more proactive in media efforts geared toward the Latino community, saying visibility and accessibility are the primary goals.

The document suggests that a lawmaker’s “communications staffer should make contact or personally meet with your local Spanish language publication, radio station and TV outlet. Building these relationships, even if you don’t agree on every issue, will facilitate booking future interviews with them.” It also recommends meeting with the director of a local Latino community group or chapter of a national Latino organization and sending “your media advisories and press releases to the local Spanish language media outlets, even if they are in English. This demonstrates a willingness of inclusion.”

The document urges Members to invite minority small-business owners to their district offices to discuss “their experiences during these difficult economic times,” as well as hiring a part-time Spanish translator and arranging for one-on-one interviews with Spanish language publications.

Discussing the economy is a “unifying issue,” according to the document, while “taking the time to share your point of view and the reasons behind your voting record makes a huge difference among your minority constituents.”

“Making the effort to invite them to your district office or appearance at their meetings will make them supporters,” the document concludes.

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