In swing-state Pennsylvania, a Latino-majority city embraces a chance to sway the 2024 election – Lowell Sun

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By LUIS ANDRES HENAO Associated Press

READING, Pa. (AP) — Religion and politics frequently overlap in Reading, an old industrial city in one of the most pivotal swing states of this year’s presidential election.

In Pennsylvania, there is early precedent for this kind of thing. The state began as a haven for Quakers and other European religious minorities fleeing persecution. That includes the parents of Daniel Boone, the national folk hero born just miles from Reading, a town where the Latino population is now the majority.

Today, the Catholic mayor is also a migrant — and the first Latino to hold the office in Reading’s 276-year history. Mayor Eddie Moran is keenly aware of the pivotal role Pennsylvania could play in the high-stakes race, when a few thousand votes in communities like his could decide the future of the United States.

“Right now, with the growing Latino population and the influx of Latinos moving into cities such as Reading, it’s definitely an opportunity for the Latino vote to change the outcome of an election,” Moran says. “It’s not a secret anymore.”

A community of spirituality — and Latinos

In Reading, the sky is dotted with crosses atop church steeples, one after the other. Catholic church pews fill up on Sundays and many stand for the services. Elsewhere, often in nondescript buildings, evangelical and Pentecostal congregations gather to sing, pray and sometimes speak in tongues.

Outside, salsa, merengue and reggaeton music (often sung in Spanglish) blast from cars and houses along city streets first mapped out by William Penn’s sons — and that now serve a thriving downtown packed with restaurants proudly owned by Latinos.

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