Senator Tim Kaine has been speaking both English and Spanish while campaigning as the Democratic vice-presidential candidate. When he recently stopped in Reno for a rally, attendees were surprised that he did not use those bilingual skills.
Kaine did discuss several issues important to the northern Nevada community, including immigration and women’s healthcare, but attendees like Evelyn Galvan would have welcomed the use of Spanish as well.
Galvan, 18, is a freshman at the University of Nevada, Reno and a fluent Spanish speaker whose parents emigrated from Guadalajara, Mexico. She is the first person in her family to go to college.
“I think that’s a very good way to connect with, get the Latino group to support you,” she said. “He can reach out to people who can’t speak English and tell them his policies and his ideas.”
Eden Gutierrez, 22, is also a native Spanish speaker. Before this rally, she did not know Kaine spoke Spanish.
“Tim Kaine speaking Spanish makes him more relatable to a wider audience,” she said. “It’s also his Latino audience, his Hispanic audience, that’s cool.”
In addition to issues like college tuition and women’s reproductive health being of interest, Gutierrez would also like to hear what Kaine’s stance is regarding the United States immigration process. Gutierrez’s father and stepfather are both undocumented and they have been working on the naturalization process for several years, but are still not citizens.
A rally attendee focused on one particular issue was Charlene Dressler, who works on the Pyramid Lake Indian Reservation and the Walker River Indian Reservation. Dressler decided to attend the Tim Kaine rally for one reason: To see if Kaine is against the Dakota Access Pipeline. Even if she did not get a complete answer about Kaine’s position on the issue, she hoped to make the Clinton campaign more aware of her opinion about the DAPL for the future.
Dressler also thinks Kaine’s ability to speak Spanish is a great way to show an appreciation for cultural awareness: “That’s diversity, you know. Why not show it?” she said.
For those learning Spanish like Amanda Buell, a UNR graduate student in Latin American studies, Kaine’s efforts have made an impact.
“I’m absolutely fine and condone him speaking Spanish on the campaign trail. Individuals speak Spanish. However, I do feel it can be a handicap for an individual that is in America that only speaks Spanish due to the fact that we are a predominantly speaking English country,” he said.
Cameron is a business administration major and undecided as to who he should vote for, which is why he likes to attend political rallies.
Kaine did speak Spanish after the rally when he met community members at Carnicería Tejaro, a Mexican restaurant in north Reno.