Study finds Washington Latinos politically under-represented

By MANUEL VALDES
ASSOCIATED PRESS WRITER

SEATTLE — Latinos remain largely politically underrepresented in rural towns in Eastern Washington, where about a third of the state's fast-growing Latino population lives and works, according to a Whitman College study released Thursday.

Latinos are the state's largest minority group, accounting for nearly 10 percent of the state's 6.4 million population. Most of the Latinos living east of the Cascade Range are in the central part of the state, according to the latest U.S. Census Bureau estimates.

In towns such as Toppenish, Wapato and Walla Walla, Latinos have considerable less influence in local politics and policy-making although in some places Latinos outnumber whites, according to the study, entitled "The State of the State for Washington Latinos."

"The bad news is there is mounting evidence that (Latinos) are vastly under represented in these communities," said Paul Apostolidis, a professor of politics who led the research dubbed "The State of the State for Washington Latinos" …

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