Building Bridges: Latino Political Mobilization in Pasco, WA

Andrea Leilani Miller

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This report specifically addresses the role of the local political environment and nonpartisan advocacy organizations in shaping Latino political and civic participation in Pasco. The central questions of my study ask: How does the political environment, as shaped by local political parties, interact with Latino mobilization efforts? What kinds of strategies have developed in reaction to the particular political climate of Pasco?

Methods:Reviewing previous scholarly research, I examined Latino political participation levels as well as strategies used to mobilize the Latino community throughout the nation. I then sought to find what kinds of mobilization efforts were happening in Pasco by reviewing the documents and websites of organizations, attending meetings of nonpartisan and political party organizations, and extensive interviews. I interviewed a wide range of people, including public school coordinators, employees of the Franklin County Elections Office, as well as the members and leaders of nonpartisan advocacy organizations and political parties.


  • In general, political parties are not upholding their historic role as an organization that encourages political participation by immigrants, new citizens, and minorities. Instead, nonpartisan advocacy organizations have replaced political parties in creating excitement around becoming involved in politics among these groups.
  • As a strategy, legislative education and action has been used by organizations like the Hispanic/Latino Legislative Organization to get around the obstacles created by local political parties.
  • The major organizations mobilizing the Latino community in Pasco are not reaching the Latino youth or working class.


  • Coalition building between existing organizations and projects interested in increasing Latino political involvement in Pasco would greatly strengthen the effectiveness of these efforts.
  • Legislative education and action can be an effective approach in addressing low levels of Latino political engagement within a politically hostile environment.
  • Outreach to youth and the working class by nonpartisan advocacy organizations would dramatically increase the Latino community’s overall involvement in politics as mentioned in the scholarly literature section.
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