Meet Lucy Flores, the Democratic candidate for Nevada’s lieutenant governor. She’s been a representative in Nevada’s State Assembly since 2010 (and was one of the first Latina members as well!) and instead of campaigning on policies that will “get the vote”, she campaigns on her own real story.
Flores grew up in poverty as a part of a family of 13 children in the Nevada district that she represents today. As a teen, she fell in with a gang and was sentenced to time at a juvenile prison. After dropping out of high school, she independently sought her GED and then went on to study politics and law at the University of Southern California. Ever since, she’s been a wildly successful politician in Nevada and has instituted many programs to increase Latino involvement in politics.
Her stories from her early years have been crucial to her platform, putting a face and experiences on legislation and reminding the representatives in Nevada that yes, this does happen to real people and yes, something must be done about it. Flores has described it as helping “Lucys in every town across this state…That’s why my focus is on making sure that this is a state that works for every Nevadan, not just the privileged few.”
One example of these efforts is a bill Flores proposed that helped survivors of domestic violence to break their leases in order to escape their abusive relationships. As a survivor herself, Flores has worked to bring the realities behind these sorts of situations and relationships to light.
Now, Flores has come out as (perhaps) the only politician to have had an abortion for perfectly normal reasons: she was not ready for a child. At 16, after seeing all of her older sisters become teenage moms, Flores decided to get an abortion, with the support of her family.
With this admission, Flores is helping to de-stigmatize the stories of those that receive abortions, who are often seen as selfish. Through her emotional reveal during an assembly debate (yes, in the middle of a debate!) she stated that she did not regret it, for now she can help make a difference for the youth of Nevada so that they would not have to experience similar mitigating circumstances. And the people agreed - her approval rating went up 59% after she came out about her abortion.
What an important time for her to be speaking about this, as well. With the Supreme Court’s recent rulings on abortion clinic buffer zones and on Hobby Lobby’s anti-contraceptive win, the rights of women to be in charge of their own bodies are not being well-defended at all in our government.
Flores is a great reminder that government policy does have a significant influence in the lives of every citizen and positive, effective changes can be made. Here’s to hoping she inspires more politicians to take the honest route and to act more like real people instead of weird Capitol Hill robots.
Images via the Las Vegas Review Journal