Election of Latinas in Texas Congress long overdue

Jovahana Avila

Historically, there has always been a shortage of Latinas in public office in the United States and Texas is no different. In fact, Texas has actually never elected a Latina into Congress. With the Latinx population currently sitting at about 10,405,000, it’s heartbreaking to realize that there are zero Latina Congresswomen to Represent Texas.

Just recently, Sen. Sylvia Garcia (D-Houston) and former El Paso County Judge Veronica Escobar celebrated their wins in the 2018 midterm primary election, posing them to be the first Latina Congresswoman from Texas, ever.

Again, it’s 2018. The election of a Latina congresswoman is long overdue. Of the 36 congressional seat, there have been a total of 17 Latino congressmen in Texas, and there are currently 5 with Ted Cruz being the first Latino from Texas to get elected to the Senate. So we have 5 men and Sen. Cruz to vouch for issues that men could never understand, such as women’s reproductive health issues, sexual assault, and equal pay. Not to mention that these issues are amplified for women of color.

Statistics show that, on average, Hispanic women earned only 53.3 percent of the median weekly earnings of white, non-Hispanic men. Black women earned 61.2 percent. Asian women 87.3 percent. In 2014, Cruz voted for the Paycheck Fairness Act, which was part of an effort to address gender pay gap in the U.S. However, later that year Cruz voted with his party to block the bill.

Rep. Bill Flores (R-TX) was against reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act, which would help address the representation of women and minorities in the upper classes of the economy and the workplace. Lack of support and understanding of women’s issues comes from all ends of the spectrum, Republican and Democrat.

Representatives like Joaquin Castro (D-TX) are the Latino officials we need to watch the most. They run off the platform of supporting women in order to gain voter support. Although Castro has supported women’s safety, equal pay and has been supported by The Feminist Majority. Supporting legislation is part of the job, bringing legislation to the floor and opening the conversation is an entirely different job.

The rise of Latinas running for office should be no surprise to anyone, and the support for these women shows in poll numbers. Escobar won the nomination over five other Democratic candidates with nearly 61 percent of the vote. Garcia won the nomination with more than 64 percent of the vote.

When inequitable representation exists on a campus, or in a school district, it sends a message that certain leadership, upper level positions may not be for the student of color who may seek that as a profession and a life’s calling. It starts with those that we elect into office, and the solution to this is to pay attention to the elections. Not just the congressional and senatorial elections, but also the local elections where the lack of representation also exist. The time to support Latina candidates is yesterday.