I realize that virtual meetings have had their shortcomings. I’d like to extend a heartfelt apology to those people who have tried to access our virtual town halls and have been left out. Every voice matters to this campaign, and our campaign is working hard for solutions that will make our virtual events easier to access and available on more platforms. I understand the frustration of people who want to be heard and involved, but feel left on the sidelines. That is not what our campaign is meant to be. Our inclusive stance is to correct the inequities in representation that currently exist in the political process; that means recognizing where we ourselves have fallen short, and putting in the work to make things right.
We can build a strong coalition. Everyone knows that politics is full of partisanship, pettiness and people protecting their own power. As I meet new people on the campaign trail, one question I am frequently asked is, “how are you going to bring people together?”
I am grateful for the opportunity to demonstrate a new approach to politics for the 4th Congressional District, one that focuses on building unity instead of divisiveness. With that in mind, I would like to share with you some exciting news about our campaign.
We have hired the first full-time Diversity Advocate for a campaign in Central Washington. Mark Anthony Figueroa is a first-generation Mexican American born in Santa Ana, California, and raised in Tri-Cities, Washington. He is the eldest of six siblings and a first generation migrant college student and graduate. His experience is in the realm of education in under-resourced and low-income communities. He has taught at Pasco High school and St. Patrick’s Catholic school. He is passionate about inclusivity in representation and equity for the common good. Within his new role, he is an added voice of support for those who have historically been excluded and are not being heard. This campaign will be one that brings our community together, reaching across boundaries of background and language to strengthen each other. Fluent in English and Spanish, it is our hope to break down language barriers within the political process and communicate to our Spanish-speaking communities of their importance and human dignity. Our goal is to increase voter registration and voter turnout in CD4 for all groups and celebrate the richness of diversity within our district.
Our new campaign manager has a background in public service and education. Lindsey Keesling has a twenty year history of social service: she’s worked on transitioning families out of homelessness; drug and alcohol abuse prevention and treatment; youth mentorship and more. She is a proud alumnus of Yakima Community College and Heritage University. Most recently she’s worked as a public school teacher in the Yakima School District. She is passionate about strengthening community resources so that children can succeed.
Reaching out to marginalized groups isn’t without challenges, but we are ready. I am looking forward to outreach opportunities throughout the district. If we back down from the challenges we face because they are difficult, that means accepting a loss from the start. The truth is that we can win, and I believe we must win in order to offer our district a stronger and more secure future. We will continue to innovate and create a new kind of campaign for the 4th Congressional District, and to overcome the challenges we face through bringing our community together.