Candidate Profile: Lucy Flores for Nevada State Assembly

October 17th, 2010 · 9 Comments

With all of the recent press about the Latino voter enthusiasm gap, I thought that it would be a good idea to profile some up and coming Latino leaders who are running for local office. While people tend to get excited about electing a president every four years, voters have a better chance of holding their local elected officials accountable than they do presidents or even senators and congressional representatives. In a more perfect democracy, everyone would be interested in the people running for local judge, DA, assembly, state senate, school board, and city council. We know what happens when citizens aren’t paying as close attention to these local elected officials, especially in light of the City of Bell pay scandals.

One up and coming Latina leader that I have learned about in recent weeks is Lucy Flores, Democratic candidate for Assembly District 28 in Nevada. Flores has a compelling story having risen out of poverty and a history of gang involvement and crime. Fortunately, she made a change upon leaving a juvenile detention facility as a teen, pursued higher education, and is now a viable political candidate. You can learn more about her journey in this video:

Since Lucy Flores is running for office in Nevada, where the tea party candidate Sharron Angle has been in a tough battle with Nevada Senator Harry Reid and in light of Angle’s recent commercials that take an anti-Latino tone, I was curious about how the public was receiving Flores’s candidacy and message, which is on the progressive side of the spectrum. Flores told me, “If anything my campaign is getting more attention to mobilize the Latino community. In my district, 70% of the voter registration is Democratic…making my run rather safe. This allows me to reach out to people who I wouldn’t otherwise including those who voted for the first time in ’08.”

When I asked Flores about Latinos who may feel inclined to sit out this election or not participate because of the lack of movement on immigration at the federal level and the economic situation, she said, “Now is not the time to sit out. I have been educating people about Senator Reid and his advocacy for people in the state, acting as a community ambassador. We may experience an up ticket phenomenon in Nevada, where people who show up to support me may end up supporting Senator Reid.” Flores also expressed concern about the credibility issues that Sharron Angle has, and this has been widely documented.

Because Flores has a lot of union support, I asked her about the teacher’s unions and the notion that these organizations stand in the way of reform, especially in light of the new documentary Waiting for Superman. Flores responded that she understands the concern many teachers who are in unions have about performance based evaluations because there really isn’t a good way to track them, but she is receptive to finding a way that assesses teacher effectiveness. She also added that she isn’t a fan of tenure for everyone and thinks that teachers aren’t paid enough, which doesn’t help attract or retain qualified people in the profession.

To learn more about Lucy Flores, check out her campaign website.

Tags: Crime · Education

9 responses so far ↓

  • 1 @JesseLuna // Oct 18, 2010 at 11:51 am

    Amazing story! I shared it on Twitter and on Facebook. It’s great to see talented people like Lucy Flores stepping up and taking leadership roles. Best of luck to Lucy on her campaign!

  • 2 Pablo // Oct 18, 2010 at 4:14 pm

    That’s a very powerful commercial. The comment she makes about how people who show up to vote for her might also thereby vote for Reid is interesting too. Democrats need more candidates like Flores. Latinos, generally, need more candidates like Flores.

    America needs Lucy Flores.

  • 3 Anna // Oct 18, 2010 at 6:53 pm

    Firt of all, he ability to turn her life around had nothing to do with “luck.” She made a choice to change her life.

    I think she should work in the real world for a few years before she runs for office. She’s not even out of school yet, and she hasn’t had much life experience. Her troubles weren’t that long ago.

  • 4 webmaster // Oct 18, 2010 at 7:00 pm

    Anna, I agree that it wasn’t so much “luck”, and I even mentioned this to Lucy. She realizes that she had some very helpful mentors and made the choice to improve her life.

    As for running for office, I believe Flores just graduated from law school at UNLV this year. I don’t know about the whole “life experience” argument. I mean, one could say that someone like Sarah Palin has a lot of “life experience”. Sometimes I think that this whole “life experience” excuse is thrown in the face of younger candidates to discourage them from moving forward like Flores is doing. According to her bio, Flores is almost 31 years old — she’s not a child.

  • 5 Anna // Oct 18, 2010 at 11:08 pm

    I think what’s bothering me is that she’s taking her experience and generalizing it to all Latinas. She says that the expectation for Latinas across the country is to get pregnant and drop out. What? Maybe that’s what was expected of HER by HER family.

    I admire her for overcomimg so many obstacles and getting an education. But she hasn’t worked through her issues yet, which tells me that she needs more life experience to gain distance and perspective. Her identity is still based on how she grew up, and she’s projecting that onto all Latinas.

  • 6 webmaster // Oct 19, 2010 at 1:03 pm

    Dear Readers of this Thread:

    Someone posted a comment about an ad buy on Univision with a number for someone who no longer works at the network (we took the time this morning to verify). We will be writing a more comprehensive blog post about this later in the week. So please refrain from posting any comments regarding an ad buy encouraging Latinos to not vote until we get this sorted out. I don’t want the readers to call the wrong number with information that hasn’t been verified.


  • 7 Lucy Flores // Oct 21, 2010 at 10:32 pm

    Pablo and Jesse Luna: thank you for the kind comments. Anna: thank you for taking the time to read and comment on this blog. I understand how you can conclude that I am generalizing Latinas, but if you listen to my story within the context of the video, you’ll find that my background fits into the horrendous drop out and teen pregnancy rates that afflict the young Latina community. Does every single Latina get pregnant and/or drop out of high school or are expected to do so? Fortunately, no, but many do. A disproportionate number of them do. And that is what I am attempting to highlight. The numbers are staggering and that requires intervention as a community and as policy makers. It benefits no one when under privileged children merely fall through the cracks and their potential forever goes unrealized. And as far as my life experience goes, I have been employed since I was 15 years old. Despite dropping out of high school I managed to get into accounting and managed a small business for several years before finally returning to school. And of course I worked throughout college and law school. I currently own my own media/public relations consulting firm because NV has a part time legislature and I have to support myself in some way. I am very proud to say that I have experience in a wide variety of professional settings and therefore am probably even more sensitive to generalizations because I have had the opportunity to experience all kinds of settings with all kinds of people. Therein lies the inherent problem with public policy. How do you develop something general enough to cover an entire issue, state, nation, etc., but flexible and specific enough so as not to paint everyone with that broad paint brush you refer to? It’s a tough question, but I believe a question that can be answered if we can get past our differences and stop looking at people as expenditures and instead as investments. Yes, in my community I was expected to get pregnant and work a menial job the rest of my life. I was lucky, yes lucky, that someone decided to invest their time and energy into me. Then others came and they too invested their time, energy, and dollars into me and here you have the product. How many of our young girls don’t get lucky and find people who will invest in them? I am here because I was empowered and once that happened, it took sheer will and yes, some more helping hands to finally get me through the hard times. I simply want to ensure that if you have a desire to excel, to achieve greatness, to pursue a god given talent, that you have the opportunity to do so. You and you only should determine your own fate, not your circumstances. These kids need tools. You can have all the dirt and seeds in the world but if you have no tools and no water and no sunshine, then guess what, dirt and seeds, that’s what you end up with. Too many kids are just dirt and seeds. Ultimately, that is what the point of my video was.

    Thanks again for your interest if you’ve managed to make it this far down the post and I hope that I have clarified some things.

  • 8 Pablo // Oct 22, 2010 at 9:59 am

    Great reply, Lucy! You should post it on your campaign site’s blog. Nuestra gente needs to know you as well as they can!

  • 9 Anna // Oct 22, 2010 at 11:51 pm

    Ms. Flores thank you for responding to my post. I agree with everything you say, and I think you should say all of that in the video. Many people would like to hear about your professional accomplishments. You’re an accomplished professional woman running for public office, but the video makes it seem like you’re a former juvenile delinquent running for office. I see the same thing with former farmworkers or children of farmworkers. They are never able to shed that identity no matter what else they accomplish because somebody has drilled it into them that that is who they “really” are.

    As for luck, somebody decided to invest time in you, but you had the good sense to accept the help. Not everybody does. Not everybody thinks they deserve help, especially if they are conditioned to believe that being Latina equals poverty and suffering. That conditioning needs to change, and it’s in the culture. So again, I think luck has little to do with it.

    I will give you an example. Recently I went to the Latino Book and Family Festival in Los Angeles. While I was eating lunch between panel discussions, I heard some guy on the stage telling a story to a group of elementary aged school children.
    (It was Saturday between 2-3pm, and I don’t know his name.)

    I didn’t hear the story from the beginning, but he started saying, “society expects you to be number one, society expects you to be number one. But you don’t have to be number one. It’s OK to be last, it’s OK to be last.”

    Yes, that idiot told those school children that it’s OK to be last. What’s worse is that somebody from the Festival probably approved of that story ahead of time. Can you imagine those kids thinking that it’s OK to be last? That means it’s OK not to study, not to compete, not to make any money, not to stand out. That’s what they were being told.

    I think these social problems will change when we change the culture, but nobody likes to hear that.

    As for teen pregnancy, to prevent generalizing all Hispanic women, maybe there needs to be a profile or study of the type of Hispanic teen likely to get pregnant. Again, I think the problems are cultural.

    Anyway, good luck on election day. I am sure you will win, and I am sure that you will be very successful in office!

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