politics

6 Reasons Why You — Yes, Hermana, You — Should Run For Office

Women are running for office at record-breaking numbers. According to Politico, at least 575 women have announced their bid for the House, Senate or governor, many alluding to President Donald Trump and the #MeToo movement as inspiration for their campaigns. Whether fed up with how the old boys’ club is directing the nation or hoping to fulfill a lifelong dream to serve their community, their place in government is essential.

The United States ranks 101 in the world when it comes to women’s representation in national office, with ladies making up just 20 percent of Congress, 25 percent of state legislatures and only six of 50 governors. For women of color, the numbers are even more shameful. Currently, there are nine Latinas serving in the House and just one, the first and recently elected Catherine Cortez Masto, in the Senate.

Simply put, there are not enough Latinas in government — and that is true at all levels, from city to state to federal. Without women of color, our governments not only fail to represent us but they will also never govern at its highest potential. That’s because women have proven time and again to be more productive and progressive in political office than men. Several studies show that we introduce more legislation, are more likely to work across political lines to pass necessary laws, bring more funding into our districts, are less corrupt and are bolder leaders.

We need more women, especially women of color, serving in all ranks of our government. In fact, we need you — young, multicultural, Black and brown Latina women — in office, leading our communities and our country. We, who constitute the future of this nation, will make our governments more inclusive, attentive and effective.

FIERCE chatted with Jenn Addison, the digital and creative manager at She Should Run, a nonpartisan organization that encourages women to consider a future run for office and provides them with resources and community to kick off their path to elected leadership, about why you — everyday Latina who may or may not have ever considered a career in politics — should run for office.

1. You would help make our government more inclusive.

(Image Credit: Getty Images)

In order to have a government that’s by the people and for the people, Addison says “we need a government that represents the people.” This means that Latinxs, who account for 17 percent of the population and continue to be one of the fastest-growing ethnic groups in the nation, and women, who are a majority in the country, must be present in our government.

2. You are more likely to understand the people you represent.

(Image Credit: Juana Matias for Congress)

As a member of a multiracial, multicultural and multilingual population, you are more likely to understand the experiences and needs of the diverse people you represent. You, who lives on the border of so many identities, are a bridge for people of various racial, immigration, class and gender backgrounds. “We can’t have the best policies if we don’t have the best and brightest minds of all backgrounds at the table,” Addison told us.

3. You are active in some of the most pressing issues.

(Image Credit: Lucy Flores / Facebook)

From immigration, criminal justice and poverty to reproductive rights, environmental racism and education, you — or your family — are likely directly impacted by some of the most pressing political issues, allowing you to take into account the shared lived experiences of you and your constituents when introducing and passing legislation. “Your perspective as women of color, Latina and Black woman, is essential in politics if we want solutions to big challenges we face as a nation,” Addison said.

4. You are qualified.

(Image Credit: Nanette Barragán for Congress)

While there might be a dearth of women in political leadership, we are not in short supply of ladies who lead. The problem, according to Addison, is that we don’t view our experiences as leaders in our homes, schools, churches and communities as sufficient, though it is. “Imposter syndrome, not realizing that you are qualified or feeling like you don’t belong, is a barrier that stops women of color from running, but shouldn’t,” she said. The qualities we gain from our life-long service to our communities — commitment to people and causes, clear and respectful communication, honesty and integrity, decision-making, accountability, empathy and empowerment — all make us eligible for elected office.

5. You will hone your leadership skills.

(Image Credit: Wendy Carrillo for Congress)

Running for public office, whether you are elected or not, provides candidates with valuable experiences and lessons. Through campaigning, you build networks, confidence and leadership skills. “They are already leaders, and running for office will help them to effect more change, locally and civically,” Addison said.

6. You can inspire the next generation.

(Image Credit: Getty Images)

Not seeing yourself represented in politics makes it difficult to envision yourself there. “It sends the message that there is not a space for me there,” Addison said. Running for office allows others to visualize a different political reality and inspires the next generation to consider that path for themselves. “Young people need to see themselves leading if we want them to grow up believing that they can be anything. Women stepping up and being the first will send that message to girls,” she continued.

Inspired to run for office? Find resources and community over at She Should Run.

Read: Democrats Hope To Flip The House From Red To Blue — And They Believe These Latina Candidates Could Help

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Ocasio-Cortez Didn’t Drop The F Bomb On ‘The Late Show With Stephen Colbert’ So People Should Just Chill

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Ocasio-Cortez Didn’t Drop The F Bomb On ‘The Late Show With Stephen Colbert’ So People Should Just Chill

Lawmakers in Washington — and their old school way of doing things — had no idea what they were in store for them when Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez won her historic election. Ocasio-Cortez has no issues speaking her mind, and these older, more established, lawmakers have never had a  young woman — of color — tell it like it is.

She also has no problem with schooling how the democratic party — and our country for that matter — should be handled. First, let’s get something out of the way. Last night, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez appeared on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” in which the host asked her how many “f*cks she gives regarding what some lawmakers have critically said about her.

The newly minted congressman responded with “zero.”

YouTube/The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

The exchange went like this:

Colbert said: “I want to ask this question in a respectful manner, knowing also that you’re from Queens, so you will understand this question. On a scale from zero to some, how many f–ks do you give?”

Ocasio-Cortez said: “zero.”

That answer, however, certainly got the attention of media outlets who focused on the F word rather than who said it.

Ocasio-Cortez tweeted: “I actually didn’t say this, so while I know ‘brown women cursing’ drives clicks, maybe you accurately quote the whole exchange instead of manipulating people into thinking I said this sentence instead of just the word ‘zero.'”

It wasn’t just one outlet who accused her of saying the F word, so she responded to them as well.

“In a shock to no one, @politico is also running with the misattribution as well,” she tweeted. “Here’s what actually happened: I was asked a question on a late night show and answered with the word ‘zero.'”

Furthermore, Ocasio-Cortez also tweeted this excellent lesson in reporting: “This reinforces lazy tropes about women leaders in media: Older + seasoned, but unlikeable; Passionate, but angry; Smart, but crazy; Well-intentioned, but naive; Attractive, but uninformed or gaffe-prone. It’s unoriginal, lazy, and men don’t get the same either/or coverage.” Amen!

Ocasio-Cortez went to discuss other relevant topics including how the government shutdown has affected her first few weeks on the job, all while eating ice cream. (It was Ben & Jerry’s Pecan Resist!).

YouTube/The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

“So the downside is that we’re not able to get to work as much as we want to in the beginning, but the bright side is it gives us a lot more free time to make trouble,” she said on the show.

By trouble, she means demanding Republican Majority Mitch McConnell re-open the government, which he has the authority to do.

Ocasio-Cortez also talked about the social media tips she gave her fellow Democratic leaders.

Twitter/@60sfolks

They’re all so fascinated that she has more than 2.5 million followers on Twitter and almost 2 million on Instagram.

Here’s the advice she gave them.

“Rule No. 1 is to be authentic.”

Twitter/@tedlieu

Ocasio-Cortez said on the show: “be yourself and don’t try to be anyone that you’re not. So don’t try to talk like a young kid if you’re not a young kid.” She also told them: “If you’re an older woman, talk like an older woman talks.”

Rule No. 2 “Don’t post a meme if you don’t know what a meme is.”

Giphy

“That was literally my advice,” and added: “and I said don’t talk like the Founding Fathers on Twitter.”

Rule No. 3 “Mute people but try not to block them.”

There’s a reason why she’s teaching the course, so pay attention! She also added that social media isn’t just for young people. She praised former Congressman John Dingell who is 93 for being savvy on Twitter.

One last thing, just in case you’re trying to come for her, she will fire back under these conditions: “If you have a blue check, if you’re in my mentions, if you’re being sassy in a way that I think is unjustified, and if I haven’t eaten in two to three hours.”

Check out her segments below on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.”

READ: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Had A Long Weekend Thanks To The Government Shutdown And Did Some Self-Care With This Drugstore Hack

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Austin Council Member Delia Garza Just Became The City’s First-Ever Latina Mayor Pro Tem

politics

Austin Council Member Delia Garza Just Became The City’s First-Ever Latina Mayor Pro Tem

In Austin, Texas, city council member Delia Garza was elected mayor pro tem on Monday, making her the first Latina to serve in the role in the city’s history.

But this isn’t the only time Garza, who represents southeast Austin’s District 2, has broken barriers. In 2014, the Mexican-American politico became the first Latina elected to Austin City Council, currently serving in year three of her second term.

Following the unanimous appointment from her council colleagues, Garza, 42, stressed the need for more Latina representation in Austin’s city government, where 36 percent of its estimated 885,000 population is Latinx.

“I want young Latinas in Austin to look at our leadership and see themselves and know that they can serve in this capacity or achieve whatever goals they set their minds to,” Garza, a Democrat, said, according to ABC affiliate KVUE. “I’m proud to be the first Latina elected to this council, but I’m also saddened that it’s taken us this long to have a Latina on council.”

In the new position, Garza will be required to run city council meetings in the absence of Mayor Steve Adler.

“Delia’s passion and caring for the people of Austin has moved the council forward. I look forward to her leadership as mayor pro tem as we take on the difficult challenges facing the city,” Council Member Ann Kitchen, of District 5, said.

District 4 Council Member Greg Casar also shared his support. “Since before we were on council, I have known council member Garza as a progressive leader who never forgets who she is or where she came from,” he said. “As our city’s first ever Latina mayor pro tem, I am confident that she will continue her advocacy and leadership for those who need it most across our city.”

Before entering elected office, Garza, who holds a law degree, was a firefighter with the Austin Fire Department and an assistant attorney general in the Child Support Division of the Office of the Attorney General.

Read: Like Every Congressional Freshman, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Is Making Some Beginner’s Mistakes

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