Dr. Victoria M. DeFrancesco Soto

Dr. Victoria M. DeFrancesco Soto

About

Victoria is Assistant Dean at the LBJ School of Public Affairs and a contributor to MSNBC and Telemundo. Her areas of expertise in the domestic policy landscape include immigration, Latinos, women and childcare, and economic equity. more→

Research

Victoria brings an interdisciplinary lens to understanding policy development and its intersection with institutional and political contexts. Underlying her academic work is the applicability of rigorous research to on-the-ground policy realities.

Dr. Victoria M. DeFrancesco Soto
Dr. Victoria M. DeFrancesco Soto

Recent Media

This post originally appeared on NBCLatino.

Arizona is a red state. The Governor and the legislature is Republican, very Republican, and the state’s congressional delegation is dominated by the GOP. Let’s just say that when I come home to visit my folks in Southern Arizona I don’t see a whole bunch of Obama 2012 stickers. Nevertheless the Obama campaign has bet big on the growing Latino population and declared “game on” in the Grand Canyon state. The President together with the Democratic National Committee is relying on a large dose of optimism, the belief that Arizona Latinos will mobilize in reaction to recent anti-immigrant policies, and that Rich Carmona’s Senate bid will energize Latinos and attract non-Latino moderates.

Winning statewide office as a Democrat in Arizona is no easy feat. However, it can be done and if someone can do it its Richard Carmona. He pulled himself up by his bootstraps, military bootstraps, to be exact. Carmona grew up poor with parents who had substance abuse problems. He dropped out of high school but then enrolled in the military where he became a combat decorated soldier having been a Green Beret and medic in the Vietnam War. Upon return from Vietnam Carmona completed college and went on to become a prestigious surgeon that in his spare time served in the Pima County Sheriff’s Department. Then, in 2002 under George W. Bush he was nominated and unanimously confirmed as Surgeon General.

Richard Carmona is a dream candidate, but the electoral reality of Arizona is difficult if not nightmarish from the Democratic standpoint. In the 2008 presidential election Barack Obama received the majority of the Latino vote but only 40 percent of the white vote. And in the 2010 mid-term election Senator John McCain received two-thirds of the white vote. White voters, who make up well over three-quarters of the electorate, vote Republican. What the last two elections highlight is that while Latinos may be the state’s fastest growing population, they make up fewer than one in five voters. (more…)