David Montero

David Montero is a reporter at The Salt Lake Tribune, where he has been covering immigration and politics since 2010. He has spent much of his time covering Utah’s attempt to push comprehensive immigration reform through legislation and the push behind The Utah Compact, which has since been modeled by other states seeking a solution to the issue. He has also spent time tracking the issue in Arizona, reporting in depth on Arizona’s SB1070 approach and covered the economic impacts of that legislation as well as the recall of former State Senate President Russell Pearce. Prior to the Tribune, he spent five years at the Rocky Mountain News, where as a general assignment reporter, he covered the Democratic National Convention in Denver, the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and the work of doctors in India after a tsunami struck Southeast Asia. A Southern California native, he graduated from California State University, Fullerton with a degree in journalism.

Project Stories

Many Latinos in Colorado choose to skip voting

Denver — Joie Gutierrez is Mitt Romney’s problem. Not far up the highway, Barack Obama’s problem is named Jaime Portillo.

Both are eligible voters. Neither plans to exercise their right in November. And no amount of cajoling, convincing or campaigning will change that fact. Instead, their votes will be among thousands left on the table come Election Day in Colorado. That they are Latino is perhaps less surprising.

According to U.S. Census data, there are about 664,000 Latino adults living in Colorado and a survey released this year by the group Latino Decisions shows there were 340,798 registered Hispanic voters in the state. That means 49 percent of Hispanics in the Centennial State aren’t registered to vote. The reasons are varied — apathy, belief that a vote doesn’t matter, lack of time or simple dissatisfaction with the two candidates.

But campaigns for Obama and Romney are reaching out to that demographic through canvassing, phone banks and a blitz of bilingual advertising on television and radio.


Latino vote key in Nevada, a swing state ravaged by housing

Reno, Nev. » It’s dark, early and quiet when Julian Soriano awakens, gets dressed and prepares to travel three hours to a job that won’t come close to covering the monthly mortgage payment on a house he’s about to lose anyway.

In the kitchen at 1:30 a.m, his parents are up as well. Flora Soriano stands over sizzling onions and eggs frying in a pan while Gonzalo Soriano’s gnarled, weathered hands stuff an ice chest with drinks.

The 27-year-old, wearing an orange sweatshirt and jeans, watches his parents for a moment before heading out to the truck to get a heavy safety harness for the bridgework he’s about to do. The job will last a week. There are no employment guarantees beyond that, so he has to take it. To turn work down now may mean not being considered for stable work later. And if Soriano learned anything during the recession, it’s this: A job is everything.

“I feel bad,” Soriano said. “My parents came to this country for a better life for us.”

He doesn’t know if a better life is possible now. He doesn’t know if it can be better again, though a barrage of political ads suggest it can by voting for Barack Obama or Mitt Romney.

Both campaigns view Latinos like Soriano as critical in Washoe County — a swing county in a swing state. But political promises — even delivered in Spanish — can’t compete with the personal stories told and retold by those living through Nevada’s mortgage meltdown. Which is why real-estate agents Lolis Vazquez and Kristene Biglieri look at Soriano — their client — and take their voting cues from his experience.


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