Cristina Tzintzn Ramirez, Candidate for Senate in Texas


Cincinnati Eras. Welcome to the PODCAST. Thanks for having me glad to be here you are one of my very first guests with the electorate. I think in two thousand seventeen the very first year and I talked to you because you had an organization called Jolt in Texas which was to register voters. Latino voters in Texas. Is that still going on? Jolt Yeah Jolt is up and running across the state and quickly become one of the most important political forces in Texas lifted up the voice vote of thousands of Latinos across the state of. It's amazing so what made you decide to run for the Senate so I wasn't looking to run for the Senate. Texas has changed a lot in the last few years and some of the state's most important progressive leaders and folks that helped run better. O'rourke Senate race. I guess we're in a meeting back in April and recognized that the state is very close to flipping but for us to get over that last hump to flip the state that we have to drive up voter turnout amongst young people in that he knows and I'm one of the folks on the best job of that in our state and so they asked me to run for. Us Senate also because of my policy background working on raising wages Making job see for my first organization. Workers Defense Project also tackling issues like student debt climate change and based on that resume. They thought that I would be a good fit to run for. Us Senate and at first. I told them no and they kept calling me and I thought no because I felt like the really wrong time for me. Personally I have a two year old little boy named Santi at home that I raised primarily by myself and I went on a long walk after the kept calling me because I lived for changing the politics of Texas and they were really convincing me that this was the best way to influence the political outcome on the progressive issues that I care about and so I went on this long walk and I thought yes. It's totally the wrong time for me personally but it was also the wrong time for me personally when I was twenty four years old and I launched my first nonprofit called Workers Defense Project and it was the wrong time for me personally when I was six months pregnant the week after the two thousand sixteen election and I launched jolt so I thought yes. It's the wrong time me personally. But maybe it's the right time in Texas history for Progressive Latina to become our next senator so I threw my hat into the ring and here we are well. That's really great. That's a really great story. I mean I'm just thinking about I mean because I have a baby at home I understand. Thank you and I'm always thinking about that. Like I talked to women like you. And they're all at different stages of their political careers and they all have really good advice. I remember talking to someone last year. Who was running in the November elections and she said something to the effect of you. You're more ready than you think. You are. Always think that we're not ready. So I love hearing stories like yours so congratulations. Thanks Emma's who really know is it. Does it feel heavy to have so many people relying on you saying you're the one you're the one we think you can do this like what does that feel like. You know. I think after being a jolt and working across the state to have young people especially young Latinos see they were this tremendous political force. I realized that so much of the reason why it was hard for people to believe that was because they didn't see anybody in power that reflected their stories their experiences. It looked like them that came from their backgrounds and so every day I wake up I think about what a gift. And what a responsibility this is to be running that. I WANNA be everyone senator in Texas and I also want to uplift the stories and communities often haven't been reflected in what story gets told about Texas so there is always some piece of you that wonders is this actually what I should be doing. And then there's another part of you that realizes that this is the right moment. This is the right time. And if we're not the ones to cease it than who will and so. That really keeps me going and focused on. Why I'm doing this and who I'm doing it for and what it means to many many people across my state so what story is told about Texas that you think is incorrect or needs some correction the narrative about Texas. Well you know. I think when people think of Texas they think of state. That's pretty monolithic. Actually they think of cowboys and Barbecue. And there's great barbecue and Greek cowboys and Texas to be sure but our state is actually incredibly diverse. From I want people to think of Texas I want people to think of the Anthony Bourdain episode where he goes to Houston Texas which is one of the most diverse cities in America and he goes to a Kenyatta and is there with a Latino family. He goes into a Vietnamese community into African refugee communities to meet with African American communities and it just and then goes and eats barbecue. And it's just this beautiful reflection of WHO Texas is. That's the Texas that I see and that is really who we are as a state in that one in three Texans are like me we are immigrants or children of immigrants. I think so much of WHO Texas is today is who the rest of the country will be common. I think it's a beautiful diverse place that I want to uplift and for other people to see while it's really beautiful. I have to go back and watch that episode. It's one of the bats. Yeah I'll have to watch it. You know it's funny because you're talking about better O'Rourke right and what people are thinking about the state of Texas and the possibility of it flipping so I was just looking at those numbers and first of all just want to point out that your primary field is huge right there. Lots of people running in this primary for the seat right. That's one thing. So maybe they the same idea that this is a great time to try to you. Know get involved in flipping Texas but the second thing you know. A lot of the analysis says that there is a better effect here and I think in twenty one thousand nine hundred Ted Cruz one by a little over two slightly a hair over fifty percent and better work product forty-eight percent but that was a five percentage point improvement over Clinton because I think trump won Texas by fifty two percent in Clinton loss with forty three percent. I mean is that what people are looking at? Yes so you know just in the last few years. We've seen a huge uptick in voter participation. What you have to remember about Texas people have said were. This has been a long time red state and while it's true that we've Gone Republican. We've more than anything. Been a nonvoting state. We've had one of the lowest voter turnouts and that's how Republicans have held power in Texas. They have been happy to win without a mandate but with a minority voters participating. And now because that's changing we're starting to see that Texas who are future leaders will be will likely change in likely happen in twenty twenty. We are one of the youngest states in the country where majority people of Color and those young people and people of Color and progressive white folks are voting like never before in Texas and I think with trump on the ballot. You're going to see a massive wave of Latino voter turnout in Texas. Because half of all those turning eighteen in the state are Latino and they are voting decidedly for progressive candidates. So what do you think that is I mean? Why do you think that you have low voter turnout in Texas? Because I know that states had to have low voter turnout. The story is different for each one. There's always some voter suppression. You know especially in the states that have high populations of people of Color right you know. I always dismissed the idea that apathy is a big part of it. Like what do you think it is with Texas? Will you look at the states that have lower voter turnout? A lot of them are going to be states where people are working many hours In Texas we actually work more hours than most people in other states We have people in power that have made it increasingly difficult to register to vote and to vote and that ends up getting reflected in who actually goes to the polls and now though that is changing and it's changing because also Democrats are taking control over the big metro areas in our state which were the majority of the State's population lives and they're making it easier and more accessible to vote so place like in Houston which is Harris County. They're now extending hours to where you can vote and making sure you can anywhere in the county that you don't have to vote your precinct where your local polling station. And that's changing the outcome of

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