School Board: 2013, 2017
Elected office held and how long in that office: At-large Des Moines School Board since September 2013
Why did you run for office? There were a lot reasons I ran for the school board. Most importantly, I have always wanted to be in public service and I believe that elected public service is honorable. I grew up in Des Moines and my kid will go to Des Moines schools. I also knew that it was long past time for the school board to have en elected member from the Latino community. DMPS enrollment is 25% Latinx and even though qualified candidates had run from our community, none had been elected. I wanted to change that to give my community a seat at the table.
Was your Latino heritage an asset or a detriment to your campaign? I am sure it was both an asset and a detriment depending on the beliefs of the voters. I was very clear about my ethnic heritage because I wanted people to know who they were voting for and to be able to be clear about the impact of my election.
What advice would you have for an aspiring Latino elected official? I tell everyone who aspires to elected public service two things. First, figure out what you are passionate about and devote your life to fixing it instead of trying to put yourself on any timeline to being elected to a certain office. Second, when you know why you want to serve, try to start local. In Iowa the local elected offices are nonpartisan and I like that. It allows public servants to be more creative because very few issues fit within a Republican/Democratic lens.
What do you hope to achieve in office or what were you most proud of accomplishing? The goals for my board service have evolved over my service. At first I was just trying to learn how it all worked and find ways to contribute. When I was chair and vice chair I focused on leading the bard in a way that kept us focused on student outcomes and made everyone’s contributions feel valued. Now I am focused on the 600+ four years in Des Moines that don’t have access to preschool. The district does not have revenue to serve those kids , so I have to be creative about solving the problem.