Latinos Transform Northwest Arkansas, But Political Clout Elusive

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News21 UMD Staff

Photo by Leonard Sparks
Eddie Cantu and his wife, Becky, relocated to Springdale, Ark., 15 years ago, part of a wave of Latino migration to the region. (Photo by Leonard Sparks)

Eddie Cantu, a Christian pastor, never imagined running for office. Born to Mexican parents in Amarillo, Texas, he never thought he would call Springdale, Ark., home, either.

But 15 years ago, an Assembly of God missionary encouraged him and his wife, Becky, to relocate to northwest Arkansas and minister to the growing Latino population there.

“I thought, ‘How can that be? That’s Clinton country,' ” he said. “I could not fathom in my mind Latinos being in Arkansas.”

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