For SouthShore Honorary Mayor and local businessman Joe Zuniga, mobilizing the Hillsborough County Latino community and encouraging them to register to vote is a personal mission. With nearly 32 million Latinos eligible to vote in the coming election, Zuniga is focusing his efforts on making sure that those residing in the SouthShore area understand the importance of their votes.
According to Zuniga, historically, more than half of the eligible Latino voters have not participated in elections.
“Yet with their growing numbers, their potential to have real voting power to reshape the political landscape is evident,” said Zuniga, who explained it is important to him that the Latino people embrace their right to vote, recognize their power and make their voices heard. “I feel we are a community that has been overlooked and taken for granted by the political system, and now it is time for the Latinos to mobilize and flex our political muscle.”
Zuniga also wants the politicians to take note.
“Besides the national elections, this is a wake-up call to all local candidates as well that if you don’t acknowledge us, you are missing a very important resource,” he said.
With his extensive background in marketing as the owner of Zuniga Marketing, Zuniga is taking a grassroots-level approach to reach his fellow Latinos. By launching digital campaigns in the Wimauma, Ruskin, Plant City, Seffner and Dover areas, he wants his message to reach the overlooked Hispanic population, educating and mobilizing them to demand to be seen and heard.
Through local influencers and leaders in the area, Zuniga has been organizing community events to promote the ‘get out and vote’ message. He wants the younger and rapidly growing generations of Latinos to recognize the political force they can become, and ultimately a force the politicians can no longer ignore.
As the child of a migrant family who traveled throughout the country working in fields, Zuniga overcame many obstacles to achieve his dream of becoming an award-winning singer, author, inspirational speaker and business owner. With his leadership and influence, he hopes to bring more inclusion of the Latino community and its younger generation, and to ultimately lead them into greater awareness of their own importance and power in the political arena.
Zuniga’s message to the Latino community is: “Nuestra voz es nuestro voto—Our voice is our vote.”