Things That Matter

From New York To San Diego, These Candidates Are Standing Up For Their Latino Communities

Seats in all level of government are up for grabs for the midterm elections and there are some new faces joining the world of politics. Candidates are out there running for state legislatures, seats in Congress and some governorships. However, before new candidates can compete to take these seats, they must first make it through the primary elections.

A primary election happens before the general to narrow down the field of candidates to two candidates, usually, who battle it out for the prize. Primary season began in March and will end in mid-September, depending on the state you live in.

As campaigning continues, we are beginning to see the candidates of color who are seeking change with progressive platforms. Let’s get to know the leaders of the next generation who represent the underrepresented.

Roza Calderon

Running for Congress to represent California’s 4th district, Roza Calderon, 32, wants to represent people’s needs over party interests. Hailing from Lincoln, California, Calderon is the daughter of a Salvadoran refugee and understands the importance of the American Dream. An activist for blue-collar families and geoscientist, Calderon’s platform includes combating climate change, promoting Medicare for All, and building an inclusive economy.

Part of her motivation stems from the lack of inclusive policies pushed by her opponents. In an interview with the Press Tribune, Calderon states, “I want to make sure that people have jobs. I want to make sure that people have the ability to negotiate fair wages and that’s really what I’m fighting for.” Calderon would become the first Latina representing California’s 4th district if elected.

Nelson Araujo

📷: @kellyfitzphoto

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Currently representing Nevada’s State Assembly District 3, Nelson Araujo, 31, is campaigning to be the next Nevada Secretary of State. His parents came to the U.S. from El Salvador to escape the Civil War in the 1980s. Araujo is motivated to run for Secretary of State because he believes Nevadans deserve a voting system that is just and protects the rights of every eligible voter. Araujo also states, “I believe an open government depends on fair elections and that will be my guiding principle in office.”

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, 28, is running to represent New York’s 14th congressional district. Born to a Puerto Rican family in the Bronx, Ocasio-Cortez continues to work with families of the Bronx and Queens as an educator, organizer and service worker. This has allowed her to learn more about the experience of everyday people, which inspired her to run for Congress.

One of Ocasio-Cortez’s main platform issues is banning super PACS to end the financial corruption at the expense of her community. Additional platform issues include paid sick and family leave, federal aid for Puerto Rico, and infrastructure renewal. Ocasio-Cortez would become the first Latina representing New York’s 14th district, if elected.

Ammar Campa-Najjar

Hailing from East County, San Diego, Ammar Campa-Najjar, 29, is running for Congress to represent California’s 50th district. He lived in San Diego before his family moved to Gaza as a child. However, Campa-Najjar, his brother and mother relocated back to San Diego after the war broke out. His working-class upbringing motivated him to run and give back to working families. Additional congressional interests include election reform, gun safety, and universal healthcare. Born to a Mexican-American mother and Palestinian father, Campa-Najjar could be the first Latino-Arab American to be elected to Congress.

Juana Matias

Born in the Dominican Republic and currently residing in the U.S., Juana Matias, 30, is running for Congress to represent Massachusetts’ 3rd district. Matias states on her website that her family pushed her to go to college before she eventually pursued law school. She worked her way to becoming Massachusetts’s first Latina State Representative. Matias understands what communities face firsthand, especially at a time when the American Dream is under attack. Matias’s platform includes the fight for a better education, the protection of immigrant rights, and the creation of quality jobs. In a video posted on her Facebook account, Matias states, “To me, politics is personal because we’re talking about people’s lives.” She would become the first Latina and immigrant representing Massachusetts’ 3rd district if elected.

Sam Jammal

Sam Jammal, 36, is running for Congress to represent the 39th district of California. Raised by immigrant parents from South America and the Middle East, Jammal saw his parents sacrifice many things in order for him and his siblings to have a better life. Jammal has a message on his website that states, “We need leaders who can stand up and fight to make sure our government gets back to the basics and represents our best interest.” His platform issues include fighting for LGBTQ and women’s rights and honoring veterans. He could become the first Latino-Arab American in Congress or share the title with Ammar Campa-Najjar.

Amanda Renteria

California is searching for a new governor and Amanda Renteria, 43, intends to hold that elected position. She was born in the U.S. to a Mexican father and American-born mother, both former farmworkers. Renteria received her degrees from Stanford and Harvard. She was the first Latina Chief of Staff of the U.S. Senate and now she is ready to take on her opponents in the race for governor of California. Renteria’s gubernatorial platform includes access to clean air and water, freedom from harassment and discrimination, and preparing children for the 21st century economy. Her goal is to make politics about people again. Renteria would become the first woman and Latina as California governor.

What you need to know. And what you can do.

You can make a difference. The most crucial act you can take during the primary elections is to vote. Not only can it create diversity in politics, but it can also lead to more equitable policies for underrepresented communities. Learn more about all candidates running in your state and remember to vote during the primary elections!

  • California – June 5, 2018
  • Nevada – June 12, 2018
  • New York –  June 26, 2018
  • Massachusetts – September 4, 2018

READ: We Spoke With Ammar Campa-Najjar, The First Latino-Arab Running For Congress

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AOC Has A D.O.G And It’s Making Its Rounds About Capitol Hill

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AOC Has A D.O.G And It’s Making Its Rounds About Capitol Hill

Just when we thought Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D–N.Y.) couldn’t shake up the D.C. scene more than she already has, it turns out the congresswoman has a new trick up her sleeve.

Earlier this year in January, news surfaced that the congresswoman had adopted a French bulldog by the name of Deco. In a post to her Instagram page, the progressive Democrat welcomed the pup into the world with a post writing “Hey boo boo! Hi, welcome to our family.”

Now it turns out, AOC’s new pup is meant for the community, so you might have a chance to hang with him if you’re in his side of the hood

View image on Twitter

Responding to a question on Twitter about whether she intended to bring the dog to work, AOC said Deco is meant to be a dog about town.

“The goal is to train him to be a community pup,” she shared in a post that featured him taking a nap in her lap. “Ideally we want to work to the point where he can enjoy town halls, be an Amtrak pup, come to the office, etc. But first, naps.”

According to People.com, AOC’s new Frenchie had been nameless for a few weeks and the congresswoman eagerly collected name suggestions from her followers on twitter.

“He doesn’t have a name yet!,” Ocasio wrote in an Instagram in January. “We are thinking something Star Trek-related or Bronx/Queens/NYC/social good related.”

Ultimately Ocasio-Cortez did pick a name from suggested from her community.

“As we took [the dog] for a walk…a neighbor suggested we name him after an artist,” AOC explained in an Instagram story. Ultimately the congresswoman and her boyfriend Riley decided to not go for an artist’s name but one inspired by the early 20th-century art deco movement. “We loved the idea, and decided to name him after one of Riley & I’s favorite design styles: Art Deco — which also is inspired by themes of optimism & social and technological progress, and is a fixture in iconic NYC architecture,” she later explained said.

Turns out, AOC’s new French is rocketing to stardom just like his mother.

Earlier this week, Representative Ayanna Pressley (D–Mass.) shared a photo of herself hanging out with Deco for the very first time and used it as a chance to hype up AOC.

“Making the Capitol better one puppy snuggle at a time: @AOC & Deco,” Pressley tweeted in a post

Rep. Veronica Escobar Delivers Spanish State Of The Union Response Touching On Healthcare And Gun Reform

Things That Matter

Rep. Veronica Escobar Delivers Spanish State Of The Union Response Touching On Healthcare And Gun Reform

PBS News Hour / YouTube

President Donald Trump delivered his State of the Union address on Feb. 4. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tore up her copy of the speech and conservative radio personalist Rush Limbaugh being awarded the Presidential Medal of Honor. There were also several responses to the SOTU, including Representative Veronica Escobar, who delivered her rebuttal in Spanish.

President Donald Trump delivered his State of the Union on Tuesday night.

Fact-checkers have combed through the speech and determined the lies and misleading information peppered throughout. The speech, according to NowThis, contained one lie every 2.5 minutes. The SOTU made the news for multiple reasons, but most notably, people have been talking about Nancy Pelosi tearing up a copy of President Trump’s speech.

Democrats have taken their time responding to Trump on social media.

Senator Chuck Schumer took to the Senate floor on Feb. 5 to address one inaccuracy he found in President Trump’s SOTU. The New York senator called out Trump on his claims of the growing economy is his own. While the Trump administration has seen economic growth, charts and trends show the positive nature of the economy to be residual effects of Obama’s policies that wrangled in the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.

One response to President Trump’s SOTU was from Rep. Veronica Escobar.

Rep. Escobar, who represented Texas’s 16th congressional district, delivered a SOTU response in Spanish to include more people in the conversation. There are 32 million Latinos who are eligible to vote in the upcoming presidential election. A large number of Latino voters are concentrated in California, New Mexico, and Texas.

Rep. Escobar used the beginning of her speech to address the need for accessible and affordable healthcare.

Credit: @vgescobar / Twitter

Rep. Escobar delivered her SOTU response from the El Centro de Salud Familiar La Fe, a clinic that serves her community in El Paso. The representative used the setting to address the attack on health clinics by the Trump administration. Rep. Escobar highlighted the Republicans claiming that they are fighting to protect Americans’ healthcare but their actions say otherwise. In the House of Representatives, 183 Republicans voted to block legislation that protected coverage from healthcare providers for pre-existing conditions.

Even people who do not support the Affordable Care Act have found some common ground with the representative.

Credit: @jcrowder55 / Twitter

“Democrats are fighting back. In the first year of our House Majority, Democrats passed sweeping legislation to dramatically reduce the price of prescription drugs, shore up protections for people with pre-existing conditions and crack down on shoddy short-term health insurance plans – what we call ‘junk plans,’” Escobar said in her response.

“In contrast to the Republicans, we know that health care is a right for all, not a privilege for the few.”

The representative also spoke about the tragic El Paso shooting that rocked the Latino community.

Credit: @JessEscoATX / Twitter

Rep. Escobar used the moment to address the contentious debate on gun control raging between the two parties.

“On August 3rd of last year, El Paso suffered from the deadliest targeted attack against Latinos in American history,” Rep. Escobar said during her speech. “A domestic terrorist confessed to driving over 10 hours to target Mexicans and immigrants. Just before he began his killing spree, he posted his views online and used hateful language like the very words used by President Trump to describe immigrants and Latinos.”

“That day, the killer took 22 innocent lives, injured dozens, and broke all of our hearts.”

“Incidents of gun violence take place in our schools, places of worship and neighborhoods every single day.”

“Democrats understand that this is a matter of life and death. As one of our first actions, our Majority passed legislation that would strengthen background checks and save lives, which is supported by an overwhelming majority of the public.”

Latinos were appreciative to hear a response to the SOTU address in their native language.

Credit: @sffcorgi / Twitter

A study by Latino Decisions found that the use of Spanish-language ads increases voter turnout. In markets with Spanish-language ads, the number of Latinos who turned out to vote increased from 49.8 percent to 60.2 percent. The study also showed that 68 percent of people relied on Spanish-language news or ads on a daily and weekly basis.

READ: Who Is Rep. Veronica Escobar? The Congresswoman Representing El Paso, Texas And Fighting For Her Community