For Omaha's Latinos, Influence or Representation? - FOX 42: Omaha News, Sports and Weather; |

For Omaha's Latinos, Influence or Representation?


Jonathan Athens

OMAHA (KPTM)--For Latino Americans living in South Omaha, the question they face is a matter of political expediency versus political necessity.

At issue are plans to re-draw political boundaries based on the most recent Census figures.

And in question is whether some plans that state lawmakers are working on will fairly represent a growing Latino population in South Omaha.

Under a plan proposed by State Sens. Scott Lautenbaugh and John Nelson, both Republicans, 57 percent of voter aged Latinos would be concentrated in District 7 while that same population be shaved from 29 percent to 13 percent in District 5.

Some think a higher Latino population in one district will give underrepresented Latino more political clout sooner rather than later.

"I think we need immediate representation to deal with the immediate issues," said Alberto Silvia.

But UNO political science expert Jonathan Benjamin-Alvarado said such plans are against the nation's voting laws.

The law states boundaries cannot be drawn to favor any particular ethnic, racial or political group.

Leave the boundaries for those districts where they are, Alvarado said.

A nine-member special committee of state lawmakers are still working on plans to redraw boundaries. 

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