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Photo: Reeves Campaign, Adobe Spark
Photo: Reeves Campaign, Adobe Spark

Kristine Reeves is fighting for her district and Afro-Latinx visibility in Washington State

If elected, Reeves would be poised to make history as one of the first Afro-Latinas in Congress.

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Kristine Reeves (D-WA) has found herself as a possible frontrunner in Washington’s 10th Congressional District. If elected, she would be the first Democratic Latina to represent her state in Congress. 

Reeves could also become the first Black politician elected to Congress from her state.

But she’s already made history.

In 2016, she became the first Black woman elected to the Washington State House in nearly 20 years.  

"None of the six states of the Pacific Northwest -- Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming -- has ever elected a Black person to Congress, much less a Black Latina like myself. But I think that will -- finally! -- change this year. I truly believe that if we are going to change Congress, we have to start by electing bold, new leaders with a different lived experience that better represents everyday Americans,” Reeves told AL DÍA.

Reeves describes herself as, “not a typical congressional candidate.” Growing up in and out of foster care, Reeves experienced homelessness during high school, but paved her own way as a first-generation college graduate. She says she will bring her real-life experiences to Congress.

“I’ve spent my career operating in systems that weren’t built by me, or with my inclusion in mind,” wrote Reeves on Twitter.

“While my story may be unique to the halls of Congress, it is not uncommon in all corners of our country and across Washington state. There are so many families across the 10th Congressional District struggling to put food on the table, access the healthcare they need, or keep a roof over their head while wondering what will become of their jobs,” Reeves continued.

Her story shares traits of Candace Valenzuela (D-TX), who could also make history as the first-ever Afro-Latina in Congress if she wins the general election in November.

Should they both win, the pair could make history together. Add Ritchie Torres into the mix — who will almost certainly become the first Afro-Latino in Congress — and the nation could see three politicians from three corners of the nation make history at once.

“For me — as an Afro-Latina, an economic developer, a working mom of two young kids - the fight is personal,” Reeves continued. 

“So yes, I am someone who knows what it takes to survive, but more importantly, I know what it will take for us to thrive and it’s why I am committed to fighting for a future that includes us all.”

According to Reeves, current racial tensions throughout the nation highlight the importance of electing officials who represent the true diversity of the nation.

“I think what you’re watching is people are tired of asking nicely for the change that we need to see in a government that should reflect all Americans,” Reeves told KUOW news in Washington. 

“We’re now demanding change.”

But it’s more than the color of her skin that she’s bringing to the table. It’s the unique experiences that have shaped her life. 

“We need leaders in Congress who will fight for our kids, for working families, and for an economy that puts people first – now and far beyond this pandemic,” said Reeves.

Washington’s Congressional Democratic Primary is August 4. If the momentum continues, Reeves could make history on multiple fronts.

 

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