Things That Matter

Her Juvenile Parole Officer Gave Her The Second Chance She Needed, And She Went On To Become The First Latina Legislator For Nevada

Lucy Flores likes to call herself an accidental politician. Why? Flores says that, statistically speaking, her troubled past and run-ins with the law mean that she was never supposed to become a politician. Yet despite that, she used her time as a troubled youth to drive her life through law school and, eventually, into the political spotlight. Since her first election, she has worked tirelessly to keep helping her community and other disenfranchised communities around the country. Lucy Flores currently works at mitú as the vice president of public affairs.

“It really was a series of fortune and good luck and a lot of hard work,” Lucy Flores told mitú about her path to becoming a politician.

Courtesy of Lucy Flores
CREDIT: Courtesy of Lucy Flores

Flores opened up to mitú about the experiences that led her to career in politics and it all started with the tragic, gang and drug-related murders of two of her brothers in east Los Angeles.

“That’s what led my dad to try and start over in Las Vegas. Heading to Vegas, we did struggle but we made do like so many low-income immigrants and families struggling in this country,” Flores told mitú. “That was primarily what inspired my run for public office. And what still inspires my work every day is that the challenges that I experienced growing up are still very much what people are experiencing, even more so now under the economic conditions that we live in.”

But it wasn’t all good fortune for Flores. She said that her family struggled a lot when she was younger. When her mother left, that’s when things started to spiral downward.

Courtesy of Lucy Flores
CREDIT: Courtesy of Lucy Flores

“When I was 9 that was a really hard experience for me,” Flores said about her mother leaving. “I was doing really well in school. I was in gifted and talented education and I loved learning and I loved everything about school.”

But the family dynamic was so grueling that her father was working at all hours and when she started to suffer academically, no one noticed.

Courtesy of Lucy Flores
CREDIT: Courtesy of Lucy Flores

“I didn’t have any support. I didn’t understand what was happening. I started doing poorly in school and not a single person intervened,” Flores recalled to mitú. “I went from this gifted and talented education student to really failing every single one of my placement exams and doing poorly in school – almost overnight, and not a single person noticed. So, I didn’t have that support structure there and I fell through the cracks like so many people do and I didn’t have a whole lot of positive role models and people to aspire to, but I did have a lot of negative ones.”

Things went from bad to worse when Flores was a teenager. Starting at 12, Flores had run-ins with the law and found herself in juvenile centers starting with statutory infractions like ditching and running away, up to grand theft auto.

Courtesy of Lucy Flores
CREDIT: Courtesy of Lucy Flores

“Just going through that system, it was really traumatic and partially explains why, statistically speaking, I should have ended up in that system,” Flores told mitú when recalling being strip-searched at just 12 years old. “But, eventually I ended up on juvenile parole at 15 because all of that seriousness quickly escalated and was sent away for grand theft auto and a couple of other major, more serious, crimes. When I got out I was expected to do better given the same circumstances, the same resources, the same everything because there also isn’t enough of a support structure when you are released out of the correctional facility.”

Thanks to the second chance given to her by her parole officer, Flores began to see that a positive life for herself was possible.

Courtesy of Lucy Flores
CREDIT: Courtesy of Lucy Flores

“I successfully got off of parole, I still ended up dropping out of high school at 17 because, again, that’s just kind of what people in my community do. Everybody in my family except for one of my brothers had dropped out of high school and then I just started working” Flores told mitú. “It was through a series of mentors and role models that came into my life over the years that I finally started to believe that I could do something different. I started to see that people were successful and going to school and doing all these things. People would tell me that I was smart and that I should study and that I could go to college. So finally at 21 I got my GED and enrolled in community college and did everything that I possibly could to make into a regular four-year college.”

Eventually, Flores made her way to law school and began to work to help her community, a common theme in Flores’ public service career.

Courtesy of Lucy Flores
CREDIT: Courtesy of Lucy Flores

It was during her second year in law school, after completing an externship in the Nevada capitol of Carson City and passing some wrongful conviction reform legislation, that Flores decided she would run to be the first ever Latina legislator elected in the state of Nevada, and she won.?

“In my third year of law school, I went to school full-time, I campaigned full-time, ultimately graduated, was elected, and then sat for my bar during my first legislative session. That has kind of brought me to here,” Flores told mitú. “For me, it is very critical to be very open and transparent about my story and the various challenges I have gone through and the decisions that I’ve had to make. To me, that’s always been the impatience that I’ve had around my approach to public policy. And when people call me courageous, I just call myself on a mission.”

Since serving as the first ever Latina state legislator for Nevada, Flores has also run for lieutenant governor and, most recently, to represent Nevada’s 4th Congressional District in the House of Representatives.

Courtesy of Lucy Flores
CREDIT: Courtesy of Lucy Flores

Flores, who was supported by Bernie Sanders, didn’t win her race but she’s not backing down from her public advocacy.


“I haven’t closed the door to elected office. I think that everything happens for a reason and I did my very best in my last election. I lost, but I’m incredibly proud of the campaign that I ran and the efforts that I made and the things that I achieved on behalf of others, like my policy accomplishments and everything that I’ve managed to do to help others,” Flores said about her political future. “While, I am temporarily doing other political work, I am on the board of [Sanders’] Our Revolution, after his primary loss. So, I’m still deeply involved with the trajectory of this new progressive country that we are trying to build and still doing strategic work around politics for major organizations, including mitú. I think that I am still able to have a voice in trying to improve the outcome of our communities.”

She might have lost, but she does have some advice for the incoming Congressional class.

Courtesy of Lucy Flores
CREDIT: Courtesy of Lucy Flores

“We start making progress by empathizing and understanding other people’s experiences and that’s partially the reason why our government oftentimes experiences as many problems as it does in making good public policy because we have so many of the same kind of people running our government, old white people,” Flores shared with mitú. “Even though you might be black or white or Asian or anything else, you aren’t ever going to entirely know what the experience is to be somebody else but it’s your job to try to understand.”

And Flores really wants young Latinos to get involved in politics because it’s through involvement, sustained involvement, that real change can occur.

Courtesy of Lucy Flores
CREDIT: Courtesy of Lucy Flores

“Their voices matters every single day in their communities,” Flores told mitú about young Latino political involvement. “When you look at laws that have been passed or policy that affects them, it’s not just being done by the president. It’s being done by state legislators, it’s being done by city councils. People need to stop thinking that just because they voted in a presidential election and the outcome didn’t turn out in their favor that that somehow means that their voice isn’t valuable or that their time spent doing that doesn’t make a difference.”

“People can get involved in the smallest of ways and it truly does make an impact.”

Courtesy of Lucy Flores
CREDIT: Courtesy of Lucy Flores

“It can be as simple as just informing yourself,” Flores recommends to Latinos looking to get involved. “By spending one extra hour a week instead of reading TMZ, by reading your local paper and figuring out what’s happening at your school board this week, what’s happening at your city council, what’s happening at your state legislature this week and just keep yourself informed. As you inform yourself about what’s happening in your community you start to find all of these opportunities to get involved in those issues.”


READ: We Didn’t Elect The First Woman President, But We Elected The First Latina Senator

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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Response To GOP House Candidate’s ‘Dumb Blonde’ Joke Will Leave You Breathless

Things That Matter

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Response To GOP House Candidate’s ‘Dumb Blonde’ Joke Will Leave You Breathless

BRITTANY GREESON / GETTY

Dumb blonde jokes. They’re overwrought, trite, and pretty outdated. So it’s no surprise that one that came straight from the mouth of a GOP House candidate and directed at Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez didn’t go over so well.

GOP House candidate Marjorie Taylor Greene attempted a joke at Ocasio-Cortez’s expense on Twitter Monday and it failed miserably.

Greene, whose Georgia campaign is being supported by Donald Trump, attempted to hit at AOC’s intelligence on Monday in a tweet.

“As a blonde woman, I would like to take a moment to thank Congresswoman @AOC. She has single handily [sic] put an end to all ‘dumb blonde’ jokes. Blondes everywhere appreciate your service and your sacrifice!” Greene tweeted.

In response, Ocasio-Cortez retweeted Greene, writing, “Don’t worry Mrs. Greene, I completely understand why you need to swing + miss at my intellect to make yourself feel better. You seem to have some trouble spelling your own insults correctly. Next time try ‘single-handedly,’ it’ll work better.”

She signed off her tweet writing “Good luck writing legislation!”

It’s not the first time Greene has come for AOC and failed.

Greene attempted and failed to get under AOC’s skin earlier this month.

Facebook.com

In September, the candidate shared a photo of herself holding a rifle next to images of AOC and other Democratic lawmakers Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib to her Facebook page.

She captioned the post “Squad’s worst nightmare.” It was soon removed by Facebook who cited violations of its policies.

It didn’t take long for AOC’s supporters to strike back at Green to defend the congresswoman.

“Those who are jealous and envious of others typical attack those whom they envy because they need to feel important and try to gain some attention for themselves,” one user commented in the thread. “You are where you are @AOC because of your work and dedication. Mrs Greene knows she can’t compete so she attacks.”

According to People, “Greene has a track record of embracing false stories publicized by QAnon, a conspiracy theory-fueled group which alleges there’s a group of Democratic pedophiles operating around the country.”

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Users On Reddit Are Sharing Why They Didn’t Vote In 2016 And The Answers Will Make Your Stomach Turn

Things That Matter

Users On Reddit Are Sharing Why They Didn’t Vote In 2016 And The Answers Will Make Your Stomach Turn

Joe Raedle / Getty

In 2016, estimates from the U.S. Elections Project showed that nearly 43 percent of eligible voters failed to fill out a ballot for the presidential election. According to Pew Research, tens of millions of registered voters did so because of a “dislike of the candidates or campaign issues.” Shockingly, this means that in 2016, the number of people who were eligible to vote and chose not to greatly outnumbered who voted for Clinton, Trump, or a third-party candidate.

Curious about this, we turned to Reddit to find out WHY people were so quick to willfully toss out their voting power.

Check out the answers we found below.

“I wasn’t scared my brown or LBGTQ country folk would actually be fucked over. I assumed it was all his [Trump’s] ploy to get the people who voted Bush and Reagan in, to vote him in… Make the white people scared and make sure they don’t trust the Dems. or people of colour or alternative life choice. I’m from L.A.; we grow up mixed and if your a decent human you respect everyone or move back to whatever hate hole you come from.” – Sgrociopath

“I moved from a strong blue state to a strong blue state on November 7, 2016, which was too late to register to vote in this year’s election(and I re-checked multiple times to make sure that was the case).” –lovethenewname

“Didn’t pay enough attention when they first started running and by the time I was looking, everyon was so polarized biased I didn’t wanna dig through the bullshit to make an educated opinion.” –AndeeRin1031

“Didn’t find a candidate I could support. The only good thing anyone else had going for them was “eh at least it’s not Hillary” and when that’s your only good trait you’re not worth my support.” – egnards

“Because I didn’t want to pledge my allegiance to a candidate and then have to defend them for their choices. I want to complain about the president because a group of yes men ultimately get you sent to a psych ward.” –buk_ow_ski

“I didn’t have a permanent address and wasn’t sure how to even anything.” –weinerpug

“I live in a completely red state and didn’t give myself enough time. I left an hour and a half early for work, sat in line for 45 minutes, realized I wasn’t going to make it and said “fuck it” and left.” –Eensquatch

“I refused to vote (my first election that I did not) simply because both candidates were disgusting and there was simply no choice I could make.”-ultimatemayerfan

“I didn’t vote despite voting in the primaries. The reason why was aside from the fake propaganda essentially the democratic party really did know who they wanted and had enacted things to make primarying difficult in order to support Clinton. Dropping people from registries, cutting down primary locations, making it so you had to be registered so many months in advance Clinton was the only option. If your party deliberately makes it hard to vote you can’t turn around a few months later and tell everyone “Okay now get out and vote!”

Also the narrative against Sanders had been “1 man can’t change things that much”. But then when it was Clinton against Trump the narrative was “1 man will ruin everything”. You don’t get to have it both ways.

I was going to be a first-time voter but then I was basically told “we don’t want you to vote unless it’s who we tell you”

I don’t regret it. Especially since my state is so red (Utah) even had I voted for Clinton I would have just been another vote that didn’t win her the election.” –collin3000

“My ballot didn’t come in the mail.” –NutellaGood

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