Wednesday, Aug. 6, 2008 | 2 a.m.
The state Democratic Party has named Emilia Pablo, one of the most widely recognized local faces in Hispanic households across the Las Vegas Valley, as its new spokeswoman.
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Pablo has been a reporter and producer for two years at Univision, which has the highest-rated early-evening news among adults in the valley, including English-language stations.
The move comes as the national Democratic Party and the campaign to elect Barack Obama have named Nevada one of the top four states in the nation when it comes to testing the Hispanic vote’s power in November’s election. They are putting $20 million into drawing that vote, more than both parties combined in the 2004 presidential race.
Having Pablo as the face and voice of the party statewide “is a smart move that will produce potentially lots of inroads and credibility for the Democratic Party’s message” in the Hispanic community, said Federico Subervi, a professor at Texas State University and director of the Latinos and Media Project.
Subervi said naming Pablo was “politically wise. You have the major audience, the key person, the key state.”
Travis Brock, executive director of the state party, said “having somebody with the skills and background and with ... a connection to the Latino community will prove important in the upcoming presidential election.”
The 30-year-old came to the United States from Oaxaca, Mexico, with her family when she was 6. She was the first in her family to graduate from college, earning a graduate degree in journalism from UC Berkeley. Univision was her second job in television; she has also worked in print media. She produced segments for Univision on such subjects as prostitution in Las Vegas and the drama of children left behind by parents who are deported.
The 6 p.m. newscast ranked first among 18- to 54-year-olds for May, the most recent month for which there are data. Perhaps more telling, nearly three-fourths of Nevada’s Hispanic voters polled in a recent survey said they watched Spanish-language TV at least “a few times a week.”
Univision’s reach was not lost on the Democratic Party in its January caucus; candidates Obama and Hillary Clinton gave their only interviews the day of the event at the station’s Henderson studios.
Pablo, reached during her second-to-last day at Univision on Tuesday, said walking the streets and entering the homes of people in the valley as a reporter had convinced her of the importance of the Hispanic vote in the next presidential election. She also emphasized that her bilingual abilities will help her bring the Democratic Party’s message to all voters. The most recent figures from the Clark County Election Department put Hispanic-surnamed voters at 12 percent of the rolls, with 61 percent of them registered as Democrats.
Perhaps fittingly, the news of Pablo’s new job broke in Spanish-language media. Her former boss, News Director Adriana Arevalo, wrote of Pablo’s departure in her Aug. 1 column for El Tiempo, a weekly newspaper.
Arevalo saw the move as evidence of the progress of immigrants and that “despite being a minority, or not having been born in this country, we shouldn’t resign ourselves to accepting what comes but instead should chase after what we really want.”