Election 2000: Nobody's Ignoring Hispanics Now

Latinos are important beyond their numbers--as the Republicans are belatedly recognizing

How important will the Hispanic vote be in the next general election? Just take a look at Connecticut's Fifth Congressional District. Hispanics make up a puny 6% of the population and until recently have been a largely ignored minority. Yet Democratic Representative James H. Maloney recently snagged a $50,000 federal grant for a clinic to serve the south end of Waterbury, the district's largest city and home to most of its Latinos. "He's reaching out," says Rafael Herrera, a civic leader. "We haven't seen that in a long time."

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