“Another four years of the Trump administration will continue to erode the health, both economically and physically, of the Latino community.”
The decision for State Sen. Rebecca Rios to become a representative of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’ campaign was simple. She recognized that not only has President Donald Trump failed the Latino community, but thinks he has caused irreparable harm to the Latino community.
Sen. Rios served in the Arizona House of Representatives from 1995 to 2000. She now represents Legislative District 27 and is the Arizona House Minority Whip.
Rebecca’s father, Pete Rios, is a former Arizona State Senate President, making Rebecca and Pete the only father-daughter duo to serve together in the Arizona State Legislature.
“We need a leader that not only is going to work for the Latino community but one that’s not going to demonize the community,” Sen. Rios tells the Copper Courier. “Trump has gone out of his way from day one when he first opened his campaign by calling Mexicans rapists and criminals.”
Rios said, “For me, I think it’s as simple as recognizing that another four years of the Trump administration will continue to erode the health, both economically and physically, of the Latino community and we cannot afford that.”
When asked about election integrity, Sen. Rios said it is sound. She said that if anyone did their homework, they would know that the actual voter fraud numbers Trump and many of the Republicans are using to try to suppress the vote are nearly non-existent.
She believes these are simply scare tactics to try and keep people from voting.
“Make no mistake. His full intent is simply to call into question the election if he loses. He’s setting this all up in preparation for losing, and then using that as the reason why. I think at one of his many rallies he commented the only way he could lose is if there was…essentially if there was nefarious behavior, if there was cheating. It’s a scare tactic.”
Sen Rios believes we need to continue to let voters know that, particularly in Arizona, around 80% of voters tend to vote by mail and there have been no issues.
In fact, Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes even has a system set up where you can literally track your ballot. Voters receive text messages when the ballot is received and when it is processed.
Sen. Rios said she thinks that many Latinos voters may be concerned about going out to vote on Election Day for fear of COVID-19 since the Latino community has been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.
“So that is why we’re making a real push to let folks know you can still register online, get your ballot and vote from the comfort and safety of your own home,” she said.
Then there’s the whole issue of the switching voter registration dates in Arizona. When asked if that may cause confusion among voters, she replied, “Absolutely. I think it is very telling that in Arizona, it’s the Republican party, the Republican attorney general, that…jumped right on board with appealing that extension of the voter registration date and it really begs the question — why are these people so focused on limiting the number of people that can vote. For folks like myself, we know the answer.”
Sen. Rios has been in the Arizona Legislature since 1995, and tells the Copper Courier that when it comes to votes, it has been one idea after another in the past decade directly focused at suppressing the vote—particularly within the Latino community.
“They don’t want certain groups voting, and typically Latinos have not overwhelmingly supported Republicans, people of color have not overwhelmingly supported Republicans, and so that is their focus,” Sen Rios explained.
When asked what she makes of the long voting lines and high-voter participating we’re seeing, Rios said she thinks people are fed up. She has not seen this level of excitement in an election since Barack Obama. With Democrats there was a lot of excitement the first time he was elected into office. That was exciting and new. But this is different.”
The state senator said we are seeing people voting with a focus of wanting to restore normalcy because we cannot continue to go down this road. It has been devastating for society, for racial relations, for the economy, for working families, and for healthcare coverage.
She believes Biden is the only candidate who can bring back a sense of normalcy and to a state where we can begin to have conversations without so much dismissiveness.
“It’s serious and I and I think that is something that people have grasped and that is why we’re seeing this historic return of balance within the first few days. People are scared. People are angry. People want a return to normalcy.”
So what does Sen. Rios think if we have to wait for the presidential race results after November 3? She said that, as part of the process, she fully anticipates Republicans will cry foul because, historically, Republicans have voted in person while Democrats have turned in their ballots closer to the deadline. So bumps we see after the election are mostly Democratic votes. “That’s where you see Republicans saying, ‘They found all these millions of votes.’ They didn’t find anything. They were in the queue, they just were counted later because they were returned later.”
Sen. Rios thinks it could work two ways: there’s so much outrage right now that we could have a clear and convincing winner on election night. But if we don’t, we need to be supportive and recognize that our election process is safe.
“And that’s my fear is that Trump is going to try and exploit the results of the election, no matter what, and people need to be aware of his game plan, and not respond, not react.”