THE BLOG
09/30/2014 04:03 pm ET Updated Nov 30, 2014

The Latino Agenda: Building a Strong Middle Class

When lawmakers, policy experts and advocates gather this week in Washington for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute's annual policy summit, they will be discussing passing common sense immigration reform, accessing affordable health care, earning a living wage, and living in a clean environment. These are the issues that Latinos care about most.

• Time and again, immigration is shown to be the top issue for Latinos. A recent Pew Research Center poll shows that when Latinos go to the voting booth this year, they will be considering the candidates' position on immigration.

• Defending Obamacare from those who threaten to weaken it is imperative. Because of Obamacare, 10.2 million uninsured Latinos have new opportunities for affordable health insurance coverage. This increased access to affordable healthcare is essential to ensuring that Latino families never have to choose between economic hardship and lifesaving medicine.

• Earning a living wage is the foundation for strong families and a strong middle class. According to an AFL-CIO study, nearly 6.8 million Latino workers would benefit if Congress raises the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour. While Latinos comprise 16 percent of the country's workforce, they make up nearly one-quarter of the workers who would be positively affected by raising the minimum wage.

• Overwhelmingly, Latinos believe that our leaders must address climate change and our dependence on fossil fuels. According to a recent poll conducted for the Natural Resources Defense Council by Latino Decisions, nine in 10 Latinos want the government to take action and address the dangers of global warming and climate change. And 92 percent of Latinos favor the use of clean renewable energy such as solar or wind as a step for reducing or fighting climate change.

While finding solutions to each of these diverse issues is critical to the Latino community, they are not merely "Latino issues." Instead, they are American issues that must be part of the national dialogue and effectively addressed by policy makers so that our country moves forward, stronger and more reflective of its people. Simply put, we must work beyond partisan gridlock and do what is best for our nation as a whole. Through the enormous power of the collective Latino voice we can affect change for our entire country. Together, we can lift the voices of Latinos at the ballot box and beyond to the policy debates currently facing our country.

The vision of the Latino Victory Project is to realize the full political power of our community by closing the voting gap and engaging more Latino donors and electing Latino leaders to every level of government in order to advance policies that reflect our values. Through this lens, the United States is a land of opportunity where immigrants come out of the shadows, our air and water are cleaner and safer, and we are healthier and better off with access to healthcare. This is the American dream and it has never been more within our reach. Now is the time.