Latino Democrat Joy Díaz is running for governor of Texas


In a time of pronounced fear that American democracy is in jeopardy, Joy Díaz is doing the most democratic thing of things.

Without any political party support or political mechanism, Díaz – a Latin American mother, former public radio journalist and former public school teacher – announced through online videos that she would run for the post. governor of Texas in mid-term of 2022.

A Democrat, she is, so far, the only Latina to run for the major party primaries in March in Texas, a state where the number of Hispanics is almost equal to the number of whites. Delilah Barrios, who is also Latino and indigenous, ran in the general election as a Green Party candidate.

Democrat Joy Díaz has said that the fact that Covid-19 is focusing on its priorities.Sandra Dahdah

“I have to believe in the promise that government is by the people, for the people and by the people,” Díaz said.

The Texas Democratic Party primary includes the much better known and funded former US Representative Beto O’Rourke, a former candidate for the US President and Senate.

Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, is considered the frontrunner. He is running for his third term, although he has drawn major GOP challengers.

The state has been ruled for decades largely by Republicans, who have resisted the recent “blue waves” that ushered in Democrats nationwide and in other states.

Then-President Donald Trump won Texas by five points in 2020, the slimmest margin in years for a Republican presidential candidate.

The midterm elections approach as Trump and his right-wing supporters continue to push the lie that the 2020 election was stolen. States, including Texas, are following Trump’s lead by putting in place mechanisms to reject ballots and results, by funding elections “audits“and adopting more voting restrictions.

Congress continues to investigate the Jan.6 attack on Capitol Hill and the prosecution of attendees continues as misinformation about the attack proliferates on social media.

“The person at the top of the government, the governor, cannot be the chief bully,” Díaz said.

Surviving Covid – and a wish for change

“It’s a bold move,” Díaz told NBC News in a phone interview about his candidacy. “Why do we have to limit ourselves? Who can guarantee me that I am 40 years old to have a career in politics?

The answer to that question is very clear for Díaz, 45, who was infected with Covid-19 in March before vaccines were made available to people in her age group. Her 10-year-old son was also infected.

“I remember the panic of not being able to breathe,” says Díaz in his video announcing his candidacy. Fluent in Spanish, she has produced videos in both languages ​​as well as one in English with Vietnamese subtitles.

She vowed to devote her life to public service if she survived “because so many people have died,” she said in her video. “The state was not prepared. Lack of planning as a state is unacceptable, not just planning for pandemics, but planning for everything else, ”she says in the video.

“If we wait until we have the money,” Diaz said, “we’re never going to run.”

Díaz was born in Mexico to a Nuyorican father (Puerto Rican native or born in New York) who met his mother there on a missionary trip. Because her father is an American citizen, so is she.

She was raised a Christian, she said, and learned service through the work of her parents helping the children who lived in the dumping grounds of Mexico City.

They built community showers, a dental clinic, and a school to serve the children, working through their non-denominational church. Her father also organized breakfasts for local businessmen at landfills so they could see how the children were living and find sponsorships, she said.

A mother of two, her other daughter is 14, Díaz said when she wins her race she will hold the first quinceañera in the governor’s mansion.

Texas’ population is 39.3% Hispanic and 39.8% non-Hispanic white, according to the 2020 census. Hispanics are expected to outnumber whites next year.

“There is so much going wrong for Latinos in the state. The first is visibility, the other is lack of power, ”said Díaz. “We believe in Texas like our Texas. We invest in it as equal partners and are not often seen as equal partners.

Díaz named education, the border and state preparation as the main issues. But right now, Texas is at the center of a nationwide abortion clash over the passing of its tough abortion law.

Díaz said she supports women’s abortion rights. She lost twins after having a medically induced abortion. She resisted the procedure at first, she said, and nearly bleed to death. “I was not making the right choice. I was not saving my life.” After losing consciousness, the decision fell to her doctor and her husband, she said.

Running around the state of Texas, which has several major media markets, is always a costly and difficult task. Better-funded and party-backed candidates with little name identification struggled to overtake incumbents.

Don’t wait to ‘get the money’

Díaz is someone who is both optimistic and realistic, said Victoria DeFrancesco Soto, associate dean at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas, Austin.

“If there is anyone to push against both the Democratic establishment and the Republican establishment, it’s Joy,” DeSoto said. Díaz attended the LBJ Women’s Campaign School, an eight-month certification program for women wishing to run for public office.

In 2018, former Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez, a Democrat, was the first Latin American and openly gay candidate to win a major party nomination for governor of Texas. She finished with 42.5% of the vote.

“Conventional wisdom can say that it is unlikely that an average person, even qualified, even competent, even with a huge heart, will become the next governor of this great state,” Díaz said in his video.

Díaz said that as a reporter for about 16 years she was not naive about the daunting task of running for Texas and the lack of money and support are factors that many women and applicants to. color face.

“If we wait until we have the money,” she said, “we’re never going to run.”

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