Ralph Alvarado became the first Hispanic elected to state office in Kentucky when he won his state Senate race in 2014.
On Wednesday night, Alvarado, a medical doctor, will give a speech to the Republican National Convention.
His convention speech is important for Donald Trump. Trump is struggling to win Hispanic support. According to a recent Wall Street Journal/NBC poll, Trump has the support of only 14 percent of Hispanics.
Alvarado and Adryana Boyne, a Texas delegate to the Republican convention, were angry over Trump’s statements about Mexicans and his call to remove 11 million illegal immigrants. Both backed other candidates for the Republican nomination.
But both Alvarado and Boyne told VOA they believe Trump will make a better president than the likely Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton.
Alvarado said conservative policies supported by Trump and Republicans are better for Hispanics and other Americans than liberal programs backed by Clinton and Democrats.
“Many Hispanics have been here for several generations and they came here, like my own parents, after waiting in line and doing it legally,” Alvarado said. “What is lost in this debate is that Donald Trump knows the power of immigration. His wife is one.”
Alvarado is one of two Hispanics scheduled to speak at the four-day Republican convention. Also speaking is Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, who lost to Trump for the Republican nomination. At the 2012 Republican convention, there were nine Hispanic speakers, according to news reports.
Hector Barreto is chairman of The Latino Coalition. He said Hispanic voters want details about Trump’s plans for the economy and national security. And they also want to see “more respect” from Trump, Barreto said.
“We don’t feel he’s been talking to our community with the kind of respect you expect from a candidate who is asking for their vote,” Barreto said.
Boyne, the Texas Republican delegate, said Trump has taken steps to make her feel better about his campaign. For example, Boyne credits Trump with selecting “a good person with a good record as his vice presidential candidate.”
Last week, Trump named Mike Pence, the conservative Republican governor of Indiana, as his running mate.
But Boyne wants Trump to do more. She hopes Trump will apologize for a statement he made when he first announced he was running for president -- 13 months ago.
At the time, he said, Mexican immigrants are “bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”
“Maybe, he thinks apologizing will make him look weak,” said Boyne, host of a Spanish-language radio show. “But I think it would make him look stronger.”
The Hispanic vote is important. Hispanics now make up 17 percent of the population.
Arizona State Senator Kimberly Yee addresses the opening day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Monday, July 18, 2016. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
The Asian-American votes
On Monday, the first day of the Republican convention in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates heard a speech from Kimberly Yee. She is the first Asian-American elected to the Arizona State Legislature.
In her speech, she spoke about how her great grandparents came to the United States from China at the start of the 20th century. Like so many immigrants, they hoped for a better life, Yee said.
Her parents, she said, “taught me that I could achieve anything I wanted in this great country.”
On Monday, she told delegates she supports Donald Trump for president.
“It is time for us to get back to our conservative Republican values that make our nation great,” Yee said. “We cannot endure the next four years like we’ve had for the past eight. And it is because of these principles that I support Donald J. Trump for president.”
But, as is the case with Hispanic voters, the Trump campaign faces problems with getting Asian-American votes.
A May poll by Asian Americans Advancing Justice said 62 percent of Asian-American voters have a favorable view of Hillary Clinton, compared to only 19 percent for Trump.
Asian-Americans now represent six percent of the U.S. population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Bruce Alpert reported this story for VOA Learning English. Hai Do was the editor.
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Words in This Story
Hispanic -- n. a person of Latin American descent living in the United States
schedule -- v. a plan of things that will be done and the times when they will be done
respect -- n. a feeling or understanding that someone or something is important, serious, etc., and should be treated in an appropriate way
credit -- v. praise or special attention that is given to someone for doing something or for making something happen
select -- v. to choose
statement -- n. something that you say or write in a formal or official way
achieve -- v. to get or reach a goal by working hard