Never in a million years did I imagine running for president. Growing up in Oklahoma as the daughter of a janitor and a mom who worked a minimum wage job at Sears, my dream was to be a public school teacher. My story has a lot of twists and turns, but I got a chance thanks to $50-a-semester commuter school and became a special education teacher, a law school professor, and a United States Senator. It wasn’t easy, and I didn’t do it alone.
I remember how hard it was to find child care when I was a working mom with two little ones. I had a job teaching at a law school in Houston when the babysitter quit. I tried every arrangement, but it all just seemed impossible.
That’s when Aunt Bee called to see how I was doing. I broke down, cried, and told her I was ready to quit. Then my aunt said eleven words that changed my life forever: “I can’t get there tomorrow, but I can come on Thursday.” Two days later, she arrived at the airport with seven suitcases and a dog named Buddy — and stayed for 16 years.
Aunt Bee saved my career and my family, but I know that most struggling moms don’t have the privilege of an Aunt Bee. Today working families are being squeezed as costs rise for things like health care, housing, child care, college, and more. Latinas and their families deeply understand this lived reality.
Latinas confront the greatest gender pay gap relative to their white male peers. Latinas graduate college at higher rates than their male countparts, but with more student debt. Latinas create new businesses at an above average pace, but lack access to capital to grow. And Latinas, in charge of their homes and leaders in their communities, know that affording rent and health care leaves zero savings for anything else.
That’s why today my campaign is launching “ Latinas Fight, Latinas Win” because together we’re fighting for a better future for all of our families.
I’m honored to be in this fight with fierce women such as Chicana activist Rosie Castro of San Antonio and Mayor Regina Romero of Tucson because when Latinas fight, Latinas win. From State Representatives Lorena Gonzalez in California and Cindy Polo in Florida to Raquel Terán in Arizona and Mary Gonzalez in Texas, Latina leaders are winning tough elections and making progress for their communities. As president, I will be a strong partner with Latinas and for the entire community.
My career has been dedicated to understanding why the path to the middle-class is rocky for working families and even rockier and steeper for people of color. What I found is that our economy and our democracy work great for the wealthy and well-connected, but not for everyone else. I have a plan to put power in the hands of the people.
Democrats, Independents, and Republicans all agree: corruption is holding everyone back. Amazon paid zero federal income taxes for years, while workers' wages have barely budged for decades. Pharmaceutical companies are making massive profits, but people in need of medicine cannot afford their prescription. Fossil fuel companies buy political influence so they can get off the hook for polluting our communities, while climate change threatens life on this planet. It’s corruption, pure and simple. That’s why I have the largest anti-corruption plan since Watergate to make our government work for everyone, not just the wealthy and well-connected.
Immigrants have always been a vital source of American strength, but instead of embracing them President Trump has advanced policies of cruelty and division. I’ll never forget going to McAllen, Texas, where our government was separating families and putting children in cages. The horrific conditions are seared into my memory: little girls in cages, young men in cages, nursing mothers in cages. That’s why I have an immigration plan that reflects our values and creates a more welcoming and humane system. Immigrants are our neighbors, our colleagues, and our friends -- and they are here to stay.
I believe in the teachings of Matthew 25: I was a stranger and you took me in. We have a moral responsibility to treat every person with dignity and respect. The most intimate moments during this campaign have been while I was taking selfies with parents and their kids. That’s when fathers press small notes into the palm of my hand, that’s when mothers whisper in my ear their worries and their hopes for the future, that’s when I tell their daughters, “I’m running for president because that’s what girls do,” and we pinky promise so we remember forever.
To Latinas all over the country, here is my commitment to you: your fights are my fights, and together we will dream big, fight hard, and win.
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