Local Latino leader reacts to news of Joe Biden’s presidential victory

Written by on November 8, 2020

 Local Latino leader reacts to news of Joe Biden’s presidential victory

By Genesis Ortega

November 8, 2020

Click here for all of our election coverage.

Victor Martinez, hosting PBS39’s Es Tiempo Lehigh Valley, a weekly talk show that highlights the diversity and cultural essence of the Latino community in the Greater Lehigh Valley. Photo| PBS39

Late Saturday morning, the AP called Pennsylvania for Joe Biden, giving him the electoral votes needed to become the next president of the United States. 

Kamala Harris was in Pennsylvania last Monday in an effort to get out the Latino vote on Election Day. Victor Martinez, local radio host and president of Alianza Lehigh Valley Political Action Committee, was also part of those efforts.  

WLVR’s Community Correspondent, Genesis Ortega, caught up with Martinez to hear his reaction to Biden’s election.  

Listen to the story.

TRANSCRIPT:

Genesis Ortega: How are you feeling right now?

Victor Martinez: I am thrilled, I am happy, I am excited. This has been months and months of working, of trying to get our Latino community engaged, registered to vote, and then getting them to vote. And I am thrilled and excited to know that the Latino community showed up, and the Latino community took part into electing Joe Biden.

GO: You did a lot of work to get out the vote for the Latino community; what does this win mean?

VM: It’s huge, it’s huge for the community. We had, rough numbers right now, over 290,000 Latinos that came out to vote in the state of Pennsylvania; 75% went to Joe Biden, so this means a lot for the community. It means a lot for a community that has been insulted, that has been pushed aside, that has been ignored; and finally, we get to step up to the plate and say, “We are here. We demand respect. We demand attention.”

GO: What issues are most important to you? What changes would you like to see?

VM: Well number one, like everyone else; COVID. The Latino community has been hit disproportionately by the coronavirus. So just like the rest of America, COVID is very important in the Latino community. Number two, obviously the economy needs to get back in track. We have a lot of Latino small business owners, of bodegas, hair salons, barbershops, that got hit hard when corona hit. So let’s get the coronavirus pandemic under control so then we can then get the economy back working. And then finally, healthcare. Latinos need healthcare, with a high index of Latinos suffering from diabetes and high blood pressure and heart conditions. So those are the top three items on the table for the Latino community.

GO: Does this stop here, or is there more work to do?

VM: This is just the beginning. This is just the beginning; next year, we have local elections, so we are going to continue to encourage our community to stay engaged, to stay informed, and to hopefully get this and translate this into getting them involved for local elections next year.

GO: There’s a lot of talk about healing, Victor; what are your thoughts about that?

VM: There is a lot of healing that needs to take place in our country. Donald Trump, I don’t believe created, obviously, racism, but I do believe he gave freedom to a lot of those racist people to come out of the shadows and come out of hiding and be vocal about it and be expressive about it.

GO: I’m sure you’re hearing from a lot of people, so I want to end on this; what kind of calls are you getting? What are people saying to you?

VM: My god, everybody’s happy. I am getting texts, Facebook messages. People are honestly excited, they are thrilled, they are happy. I’m getting a lot of “congratulations, we did it!” The community, for me, my Latino community, honestly feel they were a part of this victory, they were part of this election, and they are really happy.

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