The day after Donald Trump was elected president, Elizabeth Guzman’s nine-year-old son asked her if they should leave the country because they speak Spanish. A year later, the social worker won a seat in the Virginia House of Delegates, ousting an eight-term Republican incumbent. A political newcomer, she was the first Latina ever to run for a seat in the statehouse.
Since then, Guzman’s success story has served in part to galvanize other women considering a run for office. In what’s been dubbed a “Pink Wave,” there are a record number of women seeking to win elections in 2018 at all levels of government; many are running for the first time.
Guzman has never shied away from sharing her personal story. She came to the U.S. from Callao, Peru, as an 18-year-old single mother. She worked three jobs to pay the rent for a small apartment. Eventually she was able to study; she now holds two Master’s degrees.
Her story has resonated: just days after her January 20 swearing in, Guzman was chosen to give the Spanish-language rebuttal to President Trump’s State of the Union speech.
“My experience have been a testament to the incredible promise that our nation holds, one we feel proud to call home,” Guzman said in her speech.
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This story was produced in collaboration with Univision Contigo, Univision's social responsibility team.