What is democracy ? We asked Coloradans ahead of the November election

Former director of communications for the city of Pueblo and former publisher of PULP Colorado, a Pueblo-based magazine.

Q. What does “democracy” mean to you?

A. For Rodriguez, the future of democracy rests in the hands of the media charged with sharing the stories of the underserved.

“Who is watching the people who are there to protect us and make decisions on behalf of the community? Rodriguez asked. “The first real knock is that journalism and the people who are supposed to watch over a community are the ones who are in survival mode and not doing a great job, I believe, for Pueblo.”

Q. What are the examples of democracy, according to you?

A. Rodriguez cited Pueblo and its shifting demographics — from predominantly white to predominantly Hispanic — as illustrations of democracy. Rodriguez said members of the Latino community now have the opportunity to voice their concerns and have more impact than ever before.

“What we’re seeing now is how (Latinos) relate to a modern, multicultural world, in addition to being the immigrant who was really looked down on to those who are the decision makers,” Rodriguez said. “So over the next decade, they can decide what their community looks like.”

Q. In general, what do you think Pueblo’s relationship is with Colorado with respect to democracy?

A. Rodriguez thinks Pueblo is often written off by those in Colorado who live elsewhere.

“Pueblo is a still town trying to find itself in a modern world,” Rodriguez said. “He struggles to get past this idea that we were just a manufacturing town, where a high school education and a factory job was really the epitome of American life and the American dream.”

Q. What does your community need?

A. Rodriguez thinks Pueblo needs a revamped image — one of culture and hope — rather than violence and tragedy.

“We are a community that makes fun of the rest of the state. We’re “memeified,” Rodriguez said. “People are afraid to be proud of Pueblo. We’ll put the slogan on a fridge, but we won’t fight back when people put us down.