With minorities expected to become the majority in the U.S. by 2050, it is important to consider the impact of diverse groups as political influencers and decision-makers. Despite an ever-growing population, levels of political participation in the form of voter turnout remain low among Latinos. As a matter of public policy, political participation is essential to groups who are under-represented in political structures. Puerto Ricans within Central Florida represent one of the largest concentrations of Latinos in the state of Florida, a population which in recent years has demonstrated a greater interest in political participation. This brings into question the relevancy of political participation among Latinos Puerto Ricans in Central Florida. Existing literature indicates that Latinas are influencers and drivers of change within their communities and may be the key to increasing political participation for the greater Latino community. Through a series of 12 interviews and 2 focus groups with Latinas of Puerto Rican origin, this study explored the relevancy of political participation among the Latino community in Central Florida, the factors that influence their participation, and their perceptions on how to improve both the quantity and quality of political participation. This study found these Latinas represent civically minded, socially connected, and actively engaged women who care about supporting the Puerto Rican community within Central Florida through political participation. Their heritage and cultural upbringing have motivated them to be politically active and in turn motivate others in their community towards political participation to address significant issue. Furthermore, Latinas, by leveraging the power of their social capital in the form of social network associations, have the potential to influence the broader community to increase the quantity and quality of their political participation.
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Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
College of Community Innovation and Education
School of Public Administration
Public Affairs; Governance and Policy Reseach
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)
Graziani-Califano, Meldin, "Bridging the Gap: An Exploration of Women as the Driving Force of Political Participation Within the Latino Population in Central Florida" (2020). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2020-. 223.