Neil Nisperos, Staff Writer
Created: 09/25/2011 07:03:04 AM PDT

The GOP in California faces increasing electoral challenge as the numbers of Democratic-leaning Latino voters continue to grow.

As demographics shift in the state, California Republican Party officials acknowledge the party needs to do a better job of communicating its policy goals directly to Latino voters.

Beginning with the first-ever GOP Latino Town Hall meeting at its fall convention in Los Angeles recently, new efforts by the California Republican Party will include more town hall meetings and candidate recruitment, said Tom Del Beccaro, chairman of the party in California.

“You can’t persuade people to whom you never speak,” Del Beccaro said. “We’ve tended to directly communicate with only a small portion of California, and if we want a two-party system, we have to have two party communication.”

State Sen. Bob Huff, R-Walnut, said the town hall event was a “a good start” but more work needs to be done toward finding common ground.

“We need to highlight what unites us, not what divides us,” Huff said. “We need to listen more than speak. We need to roll up our sleeves and work along side them on issues important to them. I believe we share strong family values, moral values, personal responsibility, strong work ethic and fiscal conservatism to name a few traits. This is a good base to build on.”

Jan Taber, spokeswoman for state Senate Minority Leader Bob Dutton, R-Rancho Cucamonga, said the party is committed to job creation, education, and public safety.

“These are issues important to all, and Republicans should be reaching out to all voters in California,” Taber said.

Assemblyman Curt Hagman, R-Chino Hills, agreed.

“The values of most Latino families are more similar to Republican values with the focus on strong core family values, public safety, education, and the rule of law,” Hagman said. “Generally the media only focuses on one issue, and that’s illegal immigration.”

Ron Wall, chairman of the San Bernardino County Democratic Party, said the Republican stance on immigration and social programs isn’t helping the party.

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