The fastest growing group in the American electorate is Hispanic voters, and many pundits believe the results of the 2016 presidential election may rest in their hands.
In this political environment, the national media viewed the hiring of Jorge Silva MAIPS ´11 as director of Hispanic media for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign as a sign of the high stakes involved. Jorge, who is credited with developing and implementing Hispanic media strategy in several Western states as the senior strategist for the Senate Democratic Caucus, previously served as senior adviser to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
“Secretary Clinton is a strong supporter of comprehensive immigration reform,” says Jorge, who currently commutes between the Clinton campaign offices in Brooklyn and Washington D.C., where he lives with his wife, Elizabeth Romanoff Silva MPA ’11. He is excited to take on the rigors of a presidential campaign.
Jorge is the campaign’s official spokesperson for Spanish-language audiences, and a large part of his job is to help the press and public understand complicated policy issues. “One of the big challenges is appealing to Hispanic communities in both languages,” he says, and the Institute prepared him well. “Working with diverse groups of classmates on policy projects helped me get a better grip on how to talk to people about complex issues,” he says. He also noted that his Institute experiences helped him learn to work with people with different sets of skills toward a common goal.
With notable exceptions, most presidential hopefuls have their own plans for media outreach to the Hispanic electorate. It appears that the first big test for Jorge will come on February 20th, when Nevada voters vote in the first caucus in the West. A large youth population and hitherto low voter turnout make Hispanic voters a key strategic focus for both parties. Jorge says he has full confidence in his team and hopes to continue working with them on longterm Hispanic outreach strategies beyond the 2016 election.
Before coming to the Institute, Jorge was a lawyer in his native Mexico. He moved to Monterey to be with Elizabeth, then his fiancée, and intended to work at the Monterey Bay Aquarium while she completed her degree. But he soon became so interested in her studies that he enrolled at the Institute as well.
Jorge and Elizabeth’s strong bond with the Institute community includes having their great friend and mentor Professor Adele Negro officiate at their wedding. They are also part of a strong network of alumni in Washington D.C. that includes two of Jorge’s friends from the Senate. “It’s easy to become friends with the people you work with, because you all believe in the same ideals,” he says, “but the connection seems to run even deeper with classmates, and we’re able to rely on each other for connections, tips and information.”