This Year, Rising Latina Politicians Became Icons- Here’s A Look At The Most Empowering Women Set To Turn U.S. Politics On Its Head
Politics have been on everyone’s mind ever since the 2016 election and, thankfully, things seem to be improving for Latinas running for office. Not only did a record number of women run for office in 2018 but the trend continued with wins and a record number of women heading to Congress next year. And, thankfully, Latinas made up some of those numbers.
You probably know all about Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, but did you know that there were 9 Latina political stars this year who made strides for all of us? Some of them won their elections and some lost but, overall, it’s been a good year. Here are the Latinas in politics that you need to know before the year is over.
1. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortezocasio2018/Instagram
The 29-year-old Latina is definitely the breakout star of 2018 politics. The progressive candidate first made headlines when she shockingly won the Democratic primary for New York’s 14th congressional district. Today, the “100% people-funded” Congresswoman-elect is getting ready to take office in 2019. The issues she supports include immigration justice and abolishing ICE, gun control and an assault weapons ban, criminal justice reform, supporting LGBTQIA+ and more.
2. Veronica Escobarveronicaescobar.com
Escobar is the current member-elect of the United States House of Representatives for Texas’s 16th congressional district in El Paso. She made history in 2018 by becoming one of the two Texas Latinas to be the first to serve in Congress. She ran on a platform of immigration reform, improving veterans’ services, expanding access to affordable healthcare, protecting the environment and more.
3. Sylvia Garciasylviaforcongress.com
The second Texas Latina to win Congress in 2018 is Garcia, who will be representing Texas’s 29th congressional district. “I’ve dedicated my life to my community and public service, and want to take my fight for working families, immigrant justice, women’s rights, and equity for all to Washington,” she said on Twitter earlier this year.
4. Guadalupe “Lupe” Valdezlupefortexas/Instagram
Although she did not ultimately win the 2018 Texas gubernatorial election against Republican opponent Greg Abbott, Valdez still made headlines for being the Democratic nominee. “From migrant farmworker to Captain in the U.S National Guard, federal agent to the very proud Sheriff of the good people of Dallas County, I’ve dedicated my life to defending Texans and I’m not done yet,” she said. Despite her loss, we’re hoping to see more from Valdez. As she said, she’s not done yet.
5. Michelle Lujan Grishamnewmexicansformichelle.com
Great news doesn’t just happen in Texas. Lujan Grisham is the current governor-elect of New Mexico, becoming not only the first Democratic woman to win the governor seat of NW but also the first Democratic Latina elected state chief executive in the history of the United States after replacing Susana Martinez, a Republican. She ran with Howie Morales as her Lieutenant Governor.
6. Mary Sally Matiellamatiellaforcongress.com
With record numbers of women running for Congress, Matiella was one of those. She was the U.S. Assistant Secretary of the Army, holding office from 2010 until 2014, and in 2018 ran as a Democrat to represent Arizona’s 2nd congressional district for the United States House of Representatives. Although she lost the primary to Ann Kirkpatrick, who went on to win the 2018 election, we’re hoping to see more from her in the coming years.
7. Lea Marquez Petersonleamarquezpeterson/Instagram
The Republican nominee for Arizona’s 2nd congressional district was Marquez Peterson, winning the primary and running against Kirkpatrick in the general election. Although she did not ultimately win the seat it was still great to see another Latina candidate on the ballot. She continues to be active on Twitter and supporting her local community in Tuscon.
8. Debbie Mucarsel-Powelldebbieforfl/Facebook
Ecuadorean-American Mucarsel-Powell is another example of Latinas winning big in Congress in 2018 after she was elected to represent Florida’s 26th congressional district in the United States House of Representatives. She made history in 2018 by becoming the first Ecuadorian-born person to be elected to the U.S. Congress, and she is the first Latina member born in South America and the first woman to represent her district. Oh, and she was endorsed by President Obama,
You know, NBD.
9. Elizabeth Guzmánelizabethguzmanva/Facebook
Although Guzmán was elected to the House of Delegates in Virginia back in 2017, she still deserves a spot on this 2018 list for two major reasons: Earlier this year, she delivered the Spanish response to the 2018 State of the Union Address. She also is taking part in the new initiative between the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators and Rutgers University called the Latinas Lead Initiative whose goal is to recruit and train Latinas for office.
“All of the Latinas who are running for local office, we didn’t know about each other. We all had our own campaign strategies,” Guzman said to NBC News. “Finding Latinas who are willing to help is important, to be there and take our success and failures. Trying to come up with a strategy. We are famous for working hard.”
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