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The economy is the focus for some Pa. Latinos this election

Voters largely said they were unfamiliar with the candidates and offices decided in November’s election.

  • Anthony Orozco
Thousands of Puerto Ricans and others filled the streets of Lebanon earlier this month for the city's first Puerto Rican Day Parade and Festival.

 Jeremy Long / WITF

Thousands of Puerto Ricans and others filled the streets of Lebanon earlier this month for the city's first Puerto Rican Day Parade and Festival.

This is the third of a series of articles by WITF that examines the needs and concerns of voters in connection with WITF’s larger mission to deliver voter-focused election coverage.

For all of the political football and culture war rhetoric that comes in the lead up to November’s election, some Latinos in the midstate say they are focused on hyperlocal issues.

Several who spoke with WITF while they attended outdoor community events said they are not wrapped up in the larger political implications that statewide races – such as for U.S. Senator and governor – will have on the commonwealth or the country.

Here is a snapshot of their motivations, concerns and hopes for November’s mid-term general election.

Berks County

During the National Night Out event, which brings together the community and the local police force, Reading residents like Wilfredo Rivera were out with friends enjoying the festivities.

Anthony Orozco / WITF

Wilfredo Rivera talks elections at National Night Out in Reading.

Rivera said he votes in every presidential election and in city races. He said he had seen news about the upcoming elections and candidates, but he was not familiar with who they are or their stances.

More than anything, he said he hoped that being an active voter could help improve Reading.

“For me, what’s most important this year is to fix Reading and the delinquency that’s here and just to move everyone forward,” Rivera, 52, said in Spanish.

Lucy Diaz, 36, said her biggest motivator for voting was the well-being of her three children.

Anthony Orozco / WITF

Lucy Diaz, left, says she hopes being an active voter can help improve safety in Reading.

Unable to name a statewide issue she was most concerned with, Diaz said she wished her vote could ensure a better environment for her family.

“They need to pay more attention for the playground,” Diaz said. “Because when I go take them out to the playground for my son, it’s not safe.”

Nelton Manon works in Reading City Hall and has lived in the city for more than three decades. He is from the Dominican Republic, said he votes in every election and said he is particularly interested in local politics.

Manon was among few of the voters who spoke with WITF who brought up a nationally-discussed issue: voter access to the polls.

“So right now, one of the main concerns, I want my vote to be counted and I want also there to be ID because how come people from the cemetery are gonna vote?” he added, jokingly.

ID is not required to vote for in PA, with the exception of first-time voters. Manon said he didn’t think Mastriano’s plan to purge voter rolls was necessary.

Manon noted that his concerns had less to do with the track record of flubs by Berks County Election Services and more to do with the process in general.

Anthony Orozco / WITF

Nelton Manon said he’d like to see voters show ID to vote and ensure fair elections.

None of the other six Berks Latino voters who talked with WITF expressed concerns about elections, even when taking into account the county’s troubles serving Spanish-speaking voters.

One recurring theme, and topic of national interest, among midstate voters was a concern about the increased cost of living in recent months.

Anthony Orozco / WITF

Juan Delgado said politics has been too crazy in recent years for him to dedicate a lot of attention.

Juan and Elizabeth Delgado said it is hard for them to concern themselves too much with politics as they just try to make ends meet.

“It’s just so crazy right now,” Juan Delgado said, adding that he had just learned about fees on the PA Turnpike going up another 5% in 2023.

The Delgados said they are most concerned about the economy, which tracks with nearly 40% of other Latino voters in the state in a recent poll by Bendixon & Amani International.

“Everything’s going up,” Elizabeth said. “So why can’t US workers get paid more?”


During a visit from Lancaster to the Puerto Rican Day Parade in Lebanon, Danny Reveron said he is very unhappy with where the country is—namely, the economy.

Jeremy Long / WITF

Danny Reveron speaks about the economy at the Lebanon Puerto Rican Day Parade.

Reveron said that the increased prices on goods appears to him as a mismanagement of the economy by Democratic-controlled congress and White House.

“I mean, the price that we’re paying now, because of the country now it’s Democrat, it feels like we’re paying more than when Republicans used to run it,” Reveron said.

Reveron was not yet well acquainted with candidates for statewide positions.

He said that he has gotten most of his limited knowledge of candidates through ads.

“I see it on YouTube, you know, commercials and stuff like that,” Reveron said.

When pondering the wide ranging effects a change in leadership could have on issues at the state level, such as abortion, Reveron began to say abortion is mostly none of his business and that it is OK.

His wife, Norma Reveron, jumped into the conversation.

Jeremy Long / WITF

Norma Reveron jumps in to talk about abortion rights with her husband, Danny.

“They shouldn’t tell a woman what to do with her body,” Norma Reveron said. “Especially when situations like rape or are you something like that.

“But at the same time, you don’t want to just have an abortion because you feel like you can’t take care of your kids.”

Norma Reveron said that she will likely vote Republican.

When presented with the possibility of that abortion rights could be rolled back, as suggested by candidates like Mastriano, she said she does want abortion rights preserved.

But she said economic prosperity outweighs the issue of abortion for her.

“We live here and we have to sustain with whatever we make,” Norma Reveron said.


Margarita Marquez, made the trek to Lebanon for the parade as well. She said she was totally disinterested in politics.

From local races all the way to Washington D.C., Marquez said she doesn’t care about who runs, wins or loses political campaigns.

“I worked for the government in Puerto Rico and ever since I lost my job there, I haven’t voted,” Marquez said.

Jeremy Long / WITF

Margarita Marquez, second from left, dances with family and friends at the Lebanon Puerto Rican Day Parade.

She has lived in Pennsylvania since 2016. Before losing her government job in Puerto Rico, she said she used to identify more with the Popular Democratic Party of the island, which advocates to continue as a Commonwealth of the United States with self-governance. It is considered a centrist party.

Marquez works in homecare and is a single woman with grown children now. She expressed frustration that the government has denied her Medicaid.

She said part of her distancing from politics is fueled by the feeling that she is on her own.

“It’s not that I don’t want to know or don’t care,” Marquez said. “What is it worth it to me if I can’t get any sort of benefit from the government? I have to go to work to be able to survive.”

Anthony Orozco is a part of the “Report for America” program — a national service effort that places journalists in newsrooms across the country to report on under-covered topics and communities.

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