Koch-affiliated Libre Initiative rolls out new public image

The Libre Initiative, a group affiliated with mega-donor Charles Koch’s political network, is rolling out a new public image and a seven-figure campaign to reach Latinos in seven states.

The group, known for its advocacy of free-market policies in Hispanic communities, launched a new website Monday, along with a video and the official debut of “Sabor a Freedom,” its Spanish-language podcast.

The video podcast had a soft launch in March, with an episode featuring Mexican TV chef Pati Jinich commemorating International Women’s Day.

Jinich, known for her TV show “Pati’s Mexican Table,” discussed her immigrant story while teaching Grajales to make sopa de tortilla.

The podcast, hosted by political analyst Cesar Grajales, won a Viddy award for an episode featuring Dolia Leal, founder of the Ladies in White, a Cuban human rights movement.

The homey, family-oriented image with a political edge is replicated in Libre’s “Vive tu American Dream,” video featuring Libre President Daniel Garza’s backstory through the foundation of Libre in 2011.

“People come to America to achieve their aspirations — and the Latino community has been no different,” Garza says in the video. “Critical to a strong America is a strong Latino community — and vice versa. We are interdependent of each other.”

Libre first gained national attention with Thanksgiving turkey giveaways in Hispanic communities, where staffers would tout the benefits of conservative and free market policies.

But Libre’s history has coincided with a tumultuous decade in Hispanic conservatism.

The group was founded shortly before the 2012 election, in which only 27 percent of Hispanics voted for Sen. Mitt Romney (Utah), then the GOP presidential nominee challenging former President Obama.

Four years later, Libre scaled back its spending, as the race between former President Trump and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton turned off many conservatives, including Koch and his brother David, who died in 2019.

The Latino political landscape has shifted since Trump’s victory in 2016 — and President Biden’s in 2020 — with more Hispanics voting and support for conservatives up significantly from its 2012 floor.

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