CBS’ Elaine Quijano will moderate the debate between the Republican and Democratic vice presidential nominees, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence and Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA).
Since no debates will feature a Latino moderator, Hispanic voters are relying on the journalists who were selected to challenge the candidates on issues that matter most to their communities. Pence has a problematic record on issues that are important to Latinos, including the minimum wage, gun violence prevention, climate change, immigration, and access to reproductive rights. Will debate moderator Elaine Quijano challenge him on these topics?
Pence Signed Law Capping Indiana Minimum Wage, Employee Benefits. In 2013 under Pence’s governorship, the Republican State House rejected a proposal that would have increased Indiana’s minimum wage to $8.25 per hour, at a time when national support for raising the wage to $9 was at 76 percent. According to The Times of Northwest Indiana, Pence had previously signed legislation “prohibit[ing] local governments from requiring businesses [to] pay a higher minimum wage, or offer any working condition or benefit, such as paid sick leave, if it's not mandated by state or federal law.” On May 6, 2015, Pence signed another bill ending a system in which workers on publicly funded construction projects earned a prevailing wage.
Hispanics Support Raising The Federal Minimum Wage And Would Benefit Greatly From The Change. According to Pew, 84 percent of Hispanics support increasing the federal minimum wage. If the federal minimum wage was raised, “nearly 6.8 million Latino workers would benefit” and the wages of Latinos would increase by $8.5 billion, according to a study by the Center for American Progress.
Gun Violence Prevention
The NRA Praised Pence For Adopting Its Radical Agenda. The NRA endorsed Pence’s run for governor in 2012, awarding him an “A” rating while noting in a statement, “Mike Pence has a proven record of defending the Second Amendment.” The statement praised Pence for several votes he cast while serving in the U.S. House of Representatives, including to support a controversial immunity law that makes it difficult for victims of gun violence to sue gun dealers and manufacturers that arm dangerous people through negligent or otherwise wrongful conduct.
Latinos Favor Gun Safety Measures. Polls conducted by Pew Research Center demonstrate that, by a wide margin (71 percent to 25 percent), Latinos “prioritize gun control over gun rights.” The numbers are backed by findings from the organization Latino Decisions, which confirmed in a poll that “a solid majority of Latino voters support gun control measures,” according to The Huffington Post. A majority of Latinos also support background checks, a national database of gun owners and a ban on mentally ill people purchasing guns. The Hispanic community has a reason to be concerned about this issue, as a July 2015 study from the Violence Policy Center found that “Hispanics are disproportionately affected by firearms violence in the United States,” with a “homicide victimization rate for Hispanic victims” that is “nearly twice as high as the murder rate for white victims.”
Pence Has Been A Climate Science Denier And Has Opposed Governmental Action To Combat Climate Change. Asked on the February 21, 2014, edition of MSNBC’s The Daily Rundown about climate change, Pence said, “I don’t know that that is a resolved issue in science today,” adding, “Just a few years ago, we were talking about global warming. We haven't seen a lot of warming lately. I remember back in the ‘70s we were talking about the coming ice age." In 2014, he sent a letter to Indiana’s congressional delegation encouraging them to defund the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan, which combats climate change by placing the first-ever federal limits on carbon pollution from power plants. On June 24, 2015, The Associated Press reported that Pence said that “Indiana won't comply with President Barack Obama's plan to address climate change unless there are significant changes” and that he“threatened to use any legal means available to block the plan.” Pence tried to soften his denial of climate change on the September 27 edition of CNN’s New Day, saying that “there’s no question that the activities that take place in this country and in countries around the world have some impact on the environment and some impact on climate” -- but rather than offer solutions, Pence advocated “end[ing] the war on coal” and “continu[ing] to develop clean coal technology.”
Latinos Support Governmental Action On Climate Change, Understand That It’s Caused By Human Action. Latinos are “significantly more likely than whites to say the Earth is warming because of human activities,” and a significant share favor governmental action to protect the environment. Moreover, because the Hispanic community is more likely to be affected by the consequences of climate change, a majority of Hispanics rate climate change as “extremely or very important to them personally,” and 63 percent support governmental action to address this issue.
Pence’s Record Isn’t Favorable To Undocumented Immigrants, Children Of Immigrants, Or Comprehensive Immigration Reform. According to La Opinión, Pence’s record on immigration issues is “worse than Trump’s” because he has a legislative history on the issue. Pence supported a 2009 measure that would have limited birthright citizenship to children of citizens, people who immigrated legally, and and non-citizens serving in the military. He also pushed for “self-deportation,” and, as governor of Indiana, he joined a lawsuit to halt the implementation of the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA).
A Majority Of Latinos Support Comprehensive Immigration Reform. Pew has found that the number of Latino voters that say it’s important that immigration reform passes soon has risen, with 66 percent saying it’s either extremely important or very important in 2014 compared to 60 percent in 2013.
Pence Signed “Kitchen Sink” Anti-Choice Bill That Would Place Multiple New Restrictions On Abortion, And He Opposes Planned Parenthood. In March, Pence signed Indiana’s House Enrolled Act 1337, a controversial bill that both banned certain abortion procedures and placed new restrictions on abortion providers. The bill banned abortion if the reason the pregnant person gave for the procedure was the fetus’s race or gender or a fetal abnormality. In addition, the bill required that all fetal remains from abortions or miscarriages at any stage of pregnancy be buried or cremated. A federal judge issued a preliminary injunction blocking the bill, which The New York Times called “exceptional for its breadth,” days after the Supreme Court released its decision in Whole Woman’s Health vs. Hellerstedt.
A Majority Of Latinas Would Support Candidates Who “Protect Abortion Rights.” Recent data contradicts the idea that Latinos lean conservative because of deeply held religious beliefs (more than half are Catholic), and that because of this they have “presumed conservative views on abortion.” The data shows that close to three-quarters of Latinas lean Democrat and 63 percent would back candidates who would “protect abortion rights.”