Why I'm Running
Speaking to voters and hearing about their issues, issues that my family and myself have faced, made me more determined than ever to win, for them.
Welcome to our blog!! I am so excited to have this new feature for my website, I plan on using this to speak directly with you as we continue with the campaign. Some posts will be written out like this one, some with videos, I just want to make sure you have somewhere to go to hear directly from me.
Running for office was honestly the most overwhelming, scariest but fulfilling thing I have ever done.
Where I come from
So as many of you know I was born and raised in Miami, and I have lived in Sweetwater for 15 years now. I am a proud alumni of Miami Coral Park Senior High (GO RAMS). I am also proud of my Cuban heritage with both of my parents immigrating to the United States from Cuba. My father was a part of the Pedro Pan program, that brought over many young boys in their teens to the United States, alone, while waiting for their families to immigrate from Cuba. My mother left with my grandparents and uncle when she was just 12 years old, after my grandfather's life had been threatened by the Castro regime.
My twin brother (YES! I am a twin) and I came along as somewhat of a surprise to my parents, in their second marriage. My parents already had three children in their late teens. My mother found herself starting all over again, this time with TWO BOYS. I thank my mother every now and then out of nowhere, just because I could only imagine what it was like for her. Throughout my life, my family, like many families, had our good and bad times. A couple years after achieving their dream of homeownership, we lost our house and had to start over again. My mother ever the fighter, kept her head up and pushed forward, never letting me and my brother know that we were in trouble. Our situation got better, but like many families, we found ourselves steady, but still trying to set ourselves up for the long term.
I wanted to write about my family and childhood, because when I was knocking on doors during the previous campaign I found so many other families going through exactly what mine had gone through in the past.
Why I'm Running
I've heard it all. It's not your turn, you don't have the network, you can't run a campaign and work full time and on and on. There was a lot of barriers and roadblocks I had to push through the first time I ran for State House. At first I wanted to run for two reasons. First was because I believe that the people of my district, including myself, had been ignored by our representatives. Second was because when I looked at the numbers from previous elections, I realized that if we had a real candidate, that actually ran a campaign and understood the district, we could win. So I decided to run, I wasn't questioning if it was my turn, or who else could run. I knew that someone needed to run, and I believed that I was best suited to do it.
No matter how many trainings you go to, you will never be fully prepared for the massive undertaking that running a campaign is. Running for office was honestly the most overwhelming, scariest and most fulfilling thing I have ever done. I was going to be outspent, I knew that, but I swore that I would not be outworked. So I knocked on doors, a lot of doors. By the end of the campaign we had knocked on over 4,000 doors with a small team of 4-8 people. What I found to be the most surprising is the change in people's attitude when the actual candidate is the one knocking on the door. They were more open to answering my questions, telling me about their problems and issues and what they needed to make sure they could keep their families secure and safe. Speaking to voters and hearing about their issues, issues that my family and I have faced, made me more determined than ever to win, for them.
At the end of the campaign we came within 417 votes of winning, which after being outspent 60-1, is a victory in itself. Although true, I still felt like I let my constituents down. I spoke to young mothers who couldn't find safe and affordable child care for their kids. Seniors who depend on public transportation, but find it too complicated and unreliable most of the time. I spoke with parents worried about the safety of their kids schools, the quality of the education and the ability to save for the future. I met so many young voters (same ages as my nieces and nephews) who were already drowning in student debt, although they were only half way through their college education. People with health issues and debt due to high premiums. I heard the concerns of residents close to the shoreline of the blue green algae blooms and the health issues that might come with it. Those are the people that raced through my mind on election night, I thought to myself that I should have done more for them.
That is why I am running again. I haven't been able to get those stories, those faces, and their needs out of my mind. They need help, and I know that I can help. So we continue this fight that we started in 2017. Because District 105 deserves a real fighter, from the community that understands first hand what they are going through. I hope to continue to have your support, like I did the last election. I know we can finish the job that we started in the last campaign, but this is just the beginning of this fight. Join us.