These two Latinas could be key to turn the House
Of all the Latinos who have decided to run for public office, two women could make an important difference.
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This year the goal is one: to turn the Congress and dethrone a Republican majority that has succumbed in recent months to a passive and permissive tribalism.
And to that end, organizations such as the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) are promoting candidates that not only represent marginalized minorities in electoral processes but also become key pieces for the so-called "Blue Wave" that promises regain control of Congress in November of this year.
As Raquel Reichard explained in the FIERCE column for MiTú, the Democrats "need to flip at least 24 seats currently held by Republican lawmakers," and the DCCC machinery has not hesitated to join forces behind Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (Florida) and Xochitl Torres Small (New Mexico), candidates who have become part of the "Red to Blue" program organized by the Committee.
"Candidates are our best asset, and we will continue to do everything possible to help them build strong campaign infrastructures, energize grassroots, and raise the resources needed to spread their message," said Rep. Ben Ray Luján (NM), President of the DCCC, in a statement.
Debbie Mucarsel-Powell is a candidate for Congress in South Florida, in one of the "most closely watched" races, as is the District 26, currently represented by the Republican Carlos Curbelo, from Cuban origin.
For, Mucarsel-Powell, who was born in Ecuador but came to the United States at the age of 14 years, Curbelo "does not align with the families of this district."
The candidate has set clear goals close to her personal experience as a professional immigrant citizen, arguing that "the same opportunities that allowed her and her family to improve their lives are disappearing for too many of our neighbors today," explains her candidacy platform. "Too many families are struggling to get by and are one unexpected expense from not recovering."
For Mucarsel-Powell, her opponent, on the other hand, "has voted against families in the community by voting against health care and background checks for guns and passing a tax plan that helps companies instead of hard-working Americans," she told FIERCE.
With a professional education in political science and political economy, the candidate has a background in community work in Miami-Dade with organizations such as the Hope Center, Zoo Miami Foundation, and the Coral Restoration Foundation, and her priorities are medical assistance, charter schools, immigration, armed violence (she lost her father in the hands of violence back in Ecuador) and environmental protection.
For her part, and in southern New Mexico, another Latina candidate has joined the DCCC project. Her name is Xochitl Torres Small and she is part of that second generation of immigrants who have made the United States their home.
Daughter of arduous peasant workers, Torres "learned the importance of having your neighbor’s back - something that Congress doesn’t seem to care about anymore," explains her platform.
"We are not getting the opportunity to reach our best potential," she explained to FIERCE, noting that "families, including pregnant mothers, often have to drive three hours away to obtain the health care they require.”
With great effort and large debts on her back, Torres managed to get her diploma at the Georgetown University in just three years, graduating Cum Laude and returning to Las Cruces, her hometown, to "increase cell phone service, broadband and other communication lines in rural New Mexico."
Torres worked as a judicial law clerk for the Honorable Robert C. Brack, closely observing the consequences of the "broken immigration system", and now as a lawyer at Kemp Smith LLP, her vocation has focused more on local governments, farmers, and conservationists.
"I was excited and looking for a candidate to support," Torres confesses to the media about her decision to run, "but as I kept waiting, I thought, 'What if the person I'm waiting for is me?'"
Now, the attorney seeks to fill the vacant seat of Republican Representative Steve Pearce, who has decided to run for governor, in the second congressional district in New Mexico.
As FIERCE continues, the primary elections in New Mexico will be held in June and 66% of the delegates of the Democratic Party "have already put their support behind Torres."
The Red To Blue program has more than 30 key candidates to make the Blue Wave a reality this year.
You can learn more about it here.