With approximately one week until one of the most critical elections of our time, one of the most influential voting blocs will be American Hispanics, both in terms of how individual elections will play out and what it all means for both parties heading into the 2016 presidential election cycle.  It is important to understand that while a candidate’s broad approach to immigration is a gateway, Hispanic voters, like most Americans, are also focused on job creation and strengthening our economy, ensuring educational opportunity for their children, and health care policy that empowers individuals and families.

There are three races that will impact the future of those issues that matter to main street Hispanics more than the many other contested races, and those are races where Hispanic voters and candidates can change history. Candidates in those races are: Cory GardnerCory GardnerBiden administration reverses Trump changes it says 'undermined' conservation program Gardner to lead new GOP super PAC ahead of midterms OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Court rules against fast-track of Trump EPA's 'secret science' rule | Bureau of Land Management exodus: Agency lost 87 percent of staff in Trump HQ relocation | GM commits to electric light duty fleet by 2035 MORE (R) for Senate in Colorado; Marilinda Garcia (R) for Congress in New Hampshire; and Carlos Curbelo (R) for Congress in Florida.


These races are important, not only for the role of Hispanic voters, but also for the role that the candidates themselves can play in the future of the issues close to heart of hardworking Hispanic families across the country. Hispanics are looking for leadership that will create jobs, strengthen our families, and promote the entrepreneurial and independent spirit that is a cornerstone of our heritage. And beyond policy, American Hispanics are eager for leaders who will make a sincere effort to engage them in a respectful way.

For Colorado voters, Gardner represents a forward thinking leadership style that prioritizes the importance of individual liberty and economic prosperity. Gardner’s desire to empower families will be a breath of fresh air to a Senate that has abdicated its responsibilities in recent years under the iron-fisted style of Sen. Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidTrumpists' assaults on Republicans who refuse to drink the Kool-Aid will help Democrats The Jan. 6 case for ending the Senate filibuster Manchin flexes muscle in 50-50 Senate MORE (D-Nev.).  Gardner’s election will be a critical component to the GOP’s securing of a majority in the U.S. Senate, and Hispanics can win this race for Gardner. While immigration cannot be overlooked as an issue, too often pundits offer platitudes or simplistic analysis about how this issue plays out with Hispanic voters and the larger political ramifications.  Gardner, to his credit, understands that the underlying issue is about acknowledging the contributions of all Coloradans to his state and having an honest and respectful discussion with Hispanics on a wide variety of issues, including the many facets of immigration policy.

The races in Florida and New Hampshire for Curbelo and Garcia, respectively, also represent important opportunities for the Hispanic community to make its voice heard.

In New Hampshire, Garcia represents the type of action-oriented youthful energy that Congress needs.  She has the potential to not only shake-up a tired Washington relying on old ideas to new problems, but to be an ambassador for the notion that we can solve problems by empowering individuals and families, rather than politicians and bureaucrats. From healthcare to job growth, she has a record of fighting for free market principles, which is critical to economic prosperity in our communities.  

Curbelo, in one of the most important House races of the year, gives a voice to common sense policy and focuses on empowerment of our nation’s children through education reform and opportunity.  A successful Curbelo campaign will give voters in Florida’s 26th Congressional District a new start, after the serious legal and ethical troubles that his opponent Joe GarciaJose (Joe) Antonio GarciaFormer Florida congressman fined 6K in campaign finance scheme Overnight Defense: Biden honors McCain at Phoenix memorial service | US considers sending captured ISIS fighters to Gitmo and Iraq | Senators press Trump on ending Yemen civil war Biden pays tribute to McCain at emotional memorial service MORE (D-Fla.) has wrought on his constituents.  Curbelo’s background in education also means that he can be an important voice in talking to Hispanics and others who long for a piece of the American Dream.

Hispanic Americans have an opportunity to influence their own future, to strengthen their families, and to create opportunity for a new generation of Americans. For anyone who is concerned about securing our liberty and ensuring economic opportunity, these three candidates are part of the answer. And with the support of Hispanic Americans in Colorado, Florida, and New Hampshire, we can give them the opportunity to fight for our values.     

Lopez is president of the Hispanic Leadership Fund, a conservative national advocacy organization.