Pedro GalvaoPedro Galvao ’10

WALLA WALLA, Wash.— The next step in the efforts of Whitman senior Pedro Galvao to engage the local Latino community in the political process is a debate between Laura Grant (D) and Terry Nealey (R), the two candidates vying for the 16th district state representative seat.

The candidates will debate, share their views and challenge one another on a variety of issues pertinent to the Latino community. The event takes place Sunday, Oct. 18, 1-2:30 p.m. at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, Nativity Hall, 415 W. Alder, Walla Walla.

The debate is hosted by “El Proyector Voz Latina,” a community-based organization focused on Latino voter education and outreach created by Whitman senior Pedro Galvao. This event is the latest in a series of efforts by Galvao to increase the Latino community’s understanding of and participation in local politics.

Galvao participated in Whitman’s 2008 State of the State for Washington Latinos seminar, taught by Paul Apostolidis, professor of politics. (For a list of findings since Apostolidis began teaching the class in 2005, go to www.walatinos.org.) Galvao’s topic was “The Invisible Latino: A Study of Electoral Politics in Walla Walla, WA.” Based on the 1965 Voting Rights Act, he undertook a study of the electoral politics of Walla Walla County in order to assess the political condition of the county’s Latino population. His findings included the discovery that although Latinos comprise 17.4 percent of the county’s population, they are only 3 percent of those who turn out on election day; he recommended, among other things, that the County Auditor’s Office and Latino political candidates conduct outreach to the Latino community.

Galvao has been working tirelessly to take his own advice, holding small house meetings with members of Walla Walla’s Latino community, then moving on to larger meetings, like last month’s political fiesta held Sept. 20, which attracted approximately 200 people. Galvao said he hopes for another large turnout again this Sunday (Oct. 18). Issues for debate will be geared toward those of most interest to the Latino community, said Galvao, but the event is open to anyone who wishes to attend. In addition, there will be live Spanish translation, he added, as neither candidate speaks Spanish.

CONTACT: Lenel Parish, Whitman College News Service, (509) 527-5156 or
Pedro Galvao, galvaopa@whitman.edu