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Dulce Vasquez is a determined Latina ready to make a difference.

She educates migrant people in her community and is currently a candidate for the Los Angeles city council representing District 9 on the June 7 ballot.

Vasquez is a migrant from Tampico Tamaulipas, Mexico. She arrived in the U.S at the age of 7 and lived as an undocumented migrant for 7 years. She recalls cleaning houses with her mom because money was tight while her dad worked as a farmworker.

When Vasquez finally became an American, she wanted to do the most American thing: Participate in the democratic process and encourage people to register to vote. Although her parents brought her to the U.S to have a shot at a better life, Vasquez says that she knew she had the opportunity better her and the lives of others by harnessing the power of education.

[NOTE: CANDIDATES IN LOS ANGELES AND LA COUNTY WHO WOULD LIKE TO RESPOND TO A SIMILAR Q&A SHOULD CONTACT CALÓ NEWS AT INFO@LATINOMEDIA.ORG.]

CALÓ NEWS
Dulce Vasquez hails from Tampico Tamaulipas, Mexico and today is a candidate for LA City Council in the June election.

HOW DID YOU GET INTERESTED IN THIS FIELD OF POLITICS? HOW FEMALE – FRIENDLY IS THIS FIELD?

“ I have so much pride in becoming an American. For someone that was born in Mexico, grew up Mexican and at the age of seven didn’t speak any English when I immigrated. I was asking myself what can I do to be more American when I look like this and I can’t change that. Some ways of being American was having the privilege of voting.”

“ This field is not female-friendly at all, absolutely zero. It really sucks because women legislate from a different perspective when we talk about health care, child care, education, and experiences in education we have a different perspective. I know there are tough women out there and I want to believe I’m one of them but the nastiness and negativity In this all is disappointing. People can tell me I’m a sentida but it’s actually a good thing because you don’t want me to be a robot and stuff like that hurts and it hurts a lot of women. “

WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO SERVE IN YOUR COMMUNITY?

Honestly, the last straw was the pandemic and because I work in education my heart just broke. I do food distributions and I saw teachers coming in with their students and I saw them  taking meals for the students and also meals for the adults as well. That’s when I realized it’s expensive to feed kids. The school feeds them 10 meals a week and that’s now a burden on the family’s budget which they were not prepared for. Many families in the service industry lost their jobs, lost wages, and many of them were undocument. There’s also no recourse for them, no unemployment, and no paid time off. The government was awful with the stimulus checks with people who had undocumented people in their families because they automatically were disqualified for this money relief. I see things that others don’t understand, I empathize and I would make different decisions, that’s why I’m running and putting my name out there.

HOW DO YOU PLAN TO INVOLVE RESIDENTS IN THE DECISION – MAKING PROCESS WHEN YOU GET ELECTED?

“ So, the city council meets three times a week in the city hall chamber but they actually have the capacity to not have a meeting in city hall chambers, and they don’t exercise that right. What I would like to do is to have one meeting a week. The Friday meeting should be within the 15 districts that we serve and that’s one very easy way to engage the residents. Also during the campaign, I started a series called Cafe con Dulce and that’s something I want to continue as a council member where we pick a panaderia or a coffee shop to discuss and listen to the people because that’s one of the best ways to legislate. “

WHAT ARE SOME SOLUTIONS YOU PROPOSE TO HELP WITH HOUSING AND HOMELESSNESS?

Dulce Vasquez and her team at the Dana Cafe Boba, supporting an immigrant business owner in District 9.

“ I have a house first policy, I don’t think we should be criminalizing people that live on the streets. Giving them a ticket does absolutely nothing and further prevents them from seeking the help they need. For me, it’s a battle of breaking down the barriers and building housing quickly and there are so many new technologies now that we can employ modular housing that can get a building up in 18 months from the day that you start. The first step into doing that is decreasing council member discretion and that means taking some power away from city council members. If someone is checking all the requirements they automatically know they are getting a green light for their projects. “

HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE TRANSPORTATION OPTIONS CURRENTLY AVAILABLE IN OUR CITY? CAN ALL OF OUR RESIDENTS AFFORDABLY GET WHERE THEY NEED TO GO? IF NOT, WHAT WILL YOU DO TO IMPROVE TRANSPORTATION IN THE CITY?

Transportation in our city is awful and it has one of the largest bus leads in the world but the average speed is 10 miles an hour. How do you expect people to get to work or rely on public transit when its moving 10 miles an hour. We need to make sure we have more buses that are fast, on time, clean, safe and reliable. In order to make them faster, we need to make sacrifices and create dedicated bus lanes so that they can move more quickly and also they need to be free to our residents because oftentimes you spend more money on the bus than actually using a car. “

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE BEST PLACES IN TOWN YOU RECOMMEND ANGELENOS TO VISIT?

“ I recommend the Tire Shop Taqueria, La Flor Blanca for pupusas, and Las Delicias Bakery Cafe. “

Amairani Hernandez

Amairani Hernandez is a native of Los Angeles and a graduate of the California State University of Los Angeles with a degree in Broadcast Journalism. She is a freelancer and focuses on stories about Latinos,...