Last year, a wealthy Dominican sugar-baron family invested $3.5 million to help fund an organization that would advocate on behalf of Dominican-American voters in the Northeast. That organization, Dominicanos USA, has since registered nearly 80,000 voters. Most recently, the organization released what it calls a "first-of-its-kind" report that asks Dominican-American voters a simple question: What issues do you care about?
Dominicans are one of the fastest growing Latino groups in the U.S. In fact, according to the U.S. Census Bureau and American Community Surveys, in 2000 there were some 688,000 people of Dominican descent in the country. In 2012, they numbered nearly 1 million. And for the first time in New York—where the majority live—Dominicans now outnumber Puerto Ricans.
(Related story: "Young Latinos Have Quickest Rebound After Recession")
This study is helpful, especially around election time, when the "Latino vote" becomes a sound-bite monolith—one homogenous group that will supposedly vote the same way. And if you pay attention to what pundits say, it would appear that the only thing Latinos care about is immigration.
“The No. 1 complaint that I get in my district office is housing. Dominicans are renters. They live in urban areas, so housing is an important issue.”—New York state Sen. Adriano Espaillat
But that's certainly untrue, says New York state Sen. Adriano Espaillat, who has twice run for Congress, and who is arguably one of the most prominent Dominican politicians in the Northeast. "They have their different issues that are more pronounced in one group than in others."