latinos

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

Although Governor Gina Raimondo highlighted a desire during her 2014 campaign to provide driver's licenses to undocumented Rhode Islanders, the General Assembly is not expected to move the issue forward in this session.

In the fall of 2013, Raimondo campaign expressed disappointment via Twitter when Democratic primary rival Angel Taveras said Congress should decide the issue of driver's licenses for undocumented drivers.

Catherine Welch / RIPR

Latinos in Rhode Island make up 8.6 percent of eligible voters in the state. And that is why the Ocean State is one of 12 where the share of eligible Latino voters is larger than the current polling margin between gubernatorial candidates, according to a report by Latino Decisions, a survey research organization specializing in voting behaviors among Latinos.

I recently attended a conference at Rhode Island College about the health and social welfare needs of the Latino elderly in Rhode Island. And what struck me is something a couple of presenters focused on: the growing isolation of older Latinos here.

It's not something that was on my radar before, but it seems their numbers and needs are growing (there are nearly 9,000 Latinos in Rhode Island aged 60 and up). And really, their struggles are similar to those of other ethnic communities, even if language, education, and immigration issues compound them.

A new analysis out from the US Health and Human Services agency estimates that about 17,000 uninsured Latinos in Rhode Island may qualify for assistance buying a health insurance plan on HealthSource RI or for Medicaid. That's out of RI's total Latino population of about 112,000. Both seem like sizeable numbers for a state of only about a million.

Ryan T. Conaty

Last night I attended one of what could be the first of 39 more public forums, put on by the state's health department, around Rhode Island. And it wasn't what I thought it would be.

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