It has been 4 years since I decided to run for office and as I begin strategizing for re-election, I cannot help but reflect on the journey and the village it took to get me to this point. I remember sitting in a small conference room with five other aspiring candidates listening closely to political consultants on how to run effective and successful campaigns. I was hanging on to every word because I knew I was the underdog in the race, but I was in it to fight the good fight – and win.
Now, I am proud to say we have accomplished so much over the last four years. I like to say “we” because my milestones in office have never been achieved alone. I have always had a supportive network of women, including the Emerge sisterhood and The Latina Circle, who have served as advisors and allies in this journey.
Through their mentorship and guidance, I have learned that legislation is about problem-solving. I have been very fortunate to represent a city filled with outspoken residents who have influenced many of the policies presented at Chelsea City Council meetings and who have helped me to realize that my power derives from the people who elected me to be their representative in office.
Together, we have tackled the housing crisis in our community by passing a groundbreaking inclusionary zoning ordinance to expand affordable housing to our residents. We have directed millions of dollars in funding to support our local businesses and to enhance the façade of our downtown area, also known as the heart of our great city. We have invested in arts and culture to celebrate the diversity and vibrancy of everyone that has made Chelsea their home. In the midst of this national political climate, our city chooses to recognize and celebrate the contributions of immigrants because they are the backbone of cities across the country.
During my time on the council, we have tackled a great number of social issues but many remain unresolved. If re-elected, I would like to continue to address the housing crisis by shifting our focus from affordable rental units to increasing homeownership, improving transit options for our residents and strengthening our ties with the Youth Commission, which was created to give voice and power to our youth population.
Ultimately, I envision a government that is bound by unity. I believe that today, we unfortunately have too many disruptors and not enough builders. Our local, state and federal government needs more builders or people who understand that running for office should be about checking egos at the door and working with those from across the aisle to find common ground. Emerge has taught me that compromise is a virtue, especially in politics, when there is so much at stake.
As we recognize Hispanic Heritage Month, I take a moment to feel proud of my raices and recognize the responsibility I have to those who have paved the way for me. I hope that my story motivates other women, especially other Latinx women, to reach out to Emerge and run for office because we need their voices at the table.