Lucy Flores Endorses Bernie Sanders

Lucy Flores

I was a junior in college when the reality of today’s economic and social injustice hit me squarely in the gut with soul crushing force. After managing through my own set of difficult circumstances – escaping the cycle of poverty and dysfunction that included abandonment by my mother, gang-involvement, a stint on juvenile parole, a teenage abortion and becoming a high school drop-out – I was working several jobs to get myself through school at the University of Southern California.

One of those jobs was assessing kids involved in a long-term study on the impact of early learning on brain development. As a research assistant I would go to the kids’ homes and periodically assess their progress. Many of our participants lived in neighboring South Central Los Angeles where poverty, violence and drugs were rampant, but given my own experience growing up in similar conditions, that type of environment didn’t shock my senses very much.

I arrived at my assigned child’s house one day and began my normal routine of introducing myself to the parent and figuring out where in the home was best to do the assessment. I was used to working just about anywhere given that most homes I went to were tiny and cramped and generally didn’t have a lot of room to work with, but on this occasion I noticed right off the bat that this was going to be different.

As soon as I walked into the tiny one-bedroom, single-story apartment, I looked around and saw things everywhere – dirty clothes, dishes, shoes, plastic and paper bags, and what seemed like countless other things – on just about every surface imaginable. There literally was not a single space to clear off or rearrange and the house smelled like it hadn’t been exposed to fresh air in weeks, so I decided to work with the child on the apartment stoop.

The child was about 5 years old – a young black boy who even despite his living conditions had a smile on his face and a twinkle in his eye. I made my way through my standard questions – “How often do you read?” “Sometimes, when I’m in school.” “How often does your mom read with you?” “Never.” “Do you enjoy reading?” “Yes.” “How much? On a scale of sad face to happy face, point to the face that shows how much you enjoy reading.” He pointed to happy face. So on and so forth. When we got to the end, I told him he did great and began to put away my things. As I was packing, he abruptly pointed to something and said, “Can I have that?” I didn’t have anything special so I looked at him confused and asked, “Have what?” “That.” He said, still pointing. I looked down again and saw that my happy face assessment sheet was at the top of my stack of papers. I immediately realized he wanted to keep my sheet – my black and white, photo-copied a thousand times over, sheet that had sad to happy faces on it. Then I realized how anxious he seemed that I might say no, so I asked, “Do you have any books at all in there?” “No.” “Do you have anything to read at all? A magazine or something?” “No.” “Do you have toys? Or anything to play with?” “No.” “Do you have anything at all? Like crayons or pens or something?” “No.”

And then it struck me: this bright kid, this happy, starry-eyed kid, this kid with all the potential in the world, had nothing. He had a filthy, dirty apartment with no active parenting, no role models around, and I was about to make his week just by giving him my happy face sheet. So I said, “Well of course you can have my sheet!” Then I started to furiously dig around my bag to see what else I could find. I found some neon highlighters he could color with, a few extra happy face sheets, and some red and blue pens.

I gave it all to him. Then I said, “Ok, I have to go now. Have fun coloring your sheets. And remember to read at school every chance you get!” He happily nodded as he walked back into his filthy apartment. I walked to the sidewalk, sat on the curb, and sobbed uncontrollably. I sobbed with despair I hadn’t felt, well, ever. I knew as soon as I walked away what was likely in store for that kid – I knew the odds were against him, just like they were against me. I knew that statistically-speaking, he was likelier to end up in prison or dead than end up attending college. I knew that I had just witnessed the human tragedy that is wasted potential.

And I knew I was powerless to do anything about it. Until I realized that I wasn’t.

Until I realized that change is achieved one person at a time, one day at a time, and one vote at a time.

I think about this boy all the time. I wonder if he beat the odds. I wonder where he is. I wonder if he’s still alive. He still makes my heart hurt. I thought about him when I first heard Bernie Sanders speak.

Choosing which candidate to support for president was one of the most difficult tasks I have done in the recent past. I’ve always been strong in my resolve, firmly planted in my roots and guided by my sense of justice. I have never made a political decision based on what was the “smart” or “safe” thing to do (just ask any of my often times dismayed political advisors) and I have always done what I believed aligned with my values and my ideals. But this decision was difficult because both Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton are both accomplished and worthy candidates, and both are light years ahead of any of the Republican choices. And as the first Latina elected to the Nevada legislature in the history of the state, and as a young woman who has struggled mightily in this male-dominated world of politics, Hillary inspires a lot of pride.

But only one of these candidates makes me think of that young boy in South Central Los Angeles– and that’s Bernie Sanders. We used to live in a country where the “American Dream” was attainable for most. We used to live in a country where you could make it if you tried, where upward mobility was a tangible thing, and where education was the key to success.

But that’s not the America we live in anymore. Fewer and fewer Americans are able to break the cycle of poverty, wages are stagnant or declining for most except for the top 1%, and our political system is dominated by millionaires and billionaires. Secure retirements and pensions are becoming a thing of the past, and that key to success via education is instead becoming a weight of massive debt hanging around the necks of young people everywhere, myself included. How did we end up in a country where you can break the cycle of poverty only to end up in a cycle of debt?

I believe that Bernie Sanders wakes up every day with these things on his mind. That the unfairness of it all weighs on his heart, just like it does mine, and that when he is elected, he will do whatever it takes to make America the land of opportunity again. I believe that Bernie Sanders will lead the charge, with many millions of Americans behind him, against the unfettered Wall Street greed that has threatened the very existence of the middle class and shackled so many more to permanent poverty. I believe that now, more than ever, America needs a political revolution.


Lucy Flores is a candidate for US House of Representatives from NV-CD4

 

A Note from Lucy Flores

Flores4Congress-logoThis past weekend, as thousands of UNLV students celebrated their graduation, I reflected on how important education was in creating opportunities for me. I also remembered that overcoming the odds and becoming the first person in my family to attend college would not have been possible without financial aid to make tuition more affordable.

That’s why I’m disappointed that Crescent Hardy recently voted to make it harder for students to pay for college.

Higher education is essential to achieving the American Dream, but it’s increasingly harder to afford. And now Rep. Hardy helped Speaker Boehner and the GOP Congress pass a budget that freezes Pell Grants for a decade, meaning the class of 2025 would have to find a way to pay for an extra 10 percent of their tuition.

We need to ensure the next generation of Nevada students has the same opportunity to complete their education and reach for their dreams.

Join me in calling on Republicans in Congress to make college more affordable? Sign the petition today.

Reblogged from the Blue Nevadan Newsletter—

From the Secretary of State’s office:

Candidate filing for non-judicial offices on the 2014 ballot begins at 8 a.m tomorrow, March 3 and closes at 5 p.m. on Friday, March 14. Candidates can still schedule appointments with the Elections Division at 775-684-5705 during regular business hours (8 a.m. to 5 p.m.).

Secretary of State Ross Miller released the appointment schedule of individuals who plan to file Declarations of Candidacy for non-judicial offices in the 2014 election.

To date, 15 individuals have scheduled appointments with Secretary of State Elections Division filing officers.

Date and Time Name Office Location
3/3 -8:30 AM Kim Wallin Treasurer Carson City
3/3 – 9 AM Don Gustavson Senate District 14 Carson City
3/3 – 9:30 AM Mark Hutchison Lt. Governor Carson City
3/3 – 10:30 AM Brian Dempsey U.S. Congress, District 2 Carson City
3/3 – 11:30 AM Adam Laxalt Attorney General Las Vegas
3/3 – 12 PM David Cook Assembly District 40 Carson City
3/3 – 1 PM Jim Wheeler Assembly District 39 Carson City
3/3 – 1 PM John Ellison Assembly District 33 Carson City
3/3 – 1:30 PM Barbara Cegavske Secretary of State Las Vegas
3/3 -2:30 PM Barry Herr Controller Las Vegas
3/3 – 4:30 PM John Rutledge Governor Carson City
3/4 – 9 AM Cort Arlint Controller Las Vegas
3/5 at 2 PM Vance Alm U.S. Congress, District 2 Carson City
3/6 – 10 AM Ross Miller Attorney General Carson City
3/7 – 4:30 PM Jared Townsend Assembly District 40 Carson City

 

In other news……

Assemblywoman Ellen Spiegel – TBN’s Sponsor of the Week 
This week’s newsletter is brought to you by Assemblywoman Ellen Spiegel who will be honored as the Emerge Nevada”Woman of the Year” this coming Saturday, March 8th in Las Vegas. Spiegel is a graduate of the 2007 (first) class of Emerge Nevada and is the first graduate to have been elected to public office. Clark County District Court Judge Nancy Allf will also receive the “Alumna of the Year” award. You don’t want to miss this celebration so get your tickets while you still can.  Tickets are available online here. Thank you Assemblywoman Spiegel for your generous support of TBN and all you do for Nevada!

Caucus Highlights
Assembly Speaker pro Tempore Paul Aizley and Assemblyman Dr. Andy Eisen were among the elected who participated at their caucus location in Southern Nevada last week, bringing the number of Democratic officials elected to state offices present at caucus to  nearly 50!

Rep. Titus Receives Endorsements from Key Latino Leaders
The Latin Chamber of Commerce and several Democratic members of the state Assembly and Senate endorsed Rep. Dina Titus for a second term over Republican challenger Jose Padilla. Endorsements came from Otto Merida, President of the Latin Chamber of Commerce, State Senate Majority Leader Mo Denis, Senator Ruben Kihuen, and Assembly members Lucy Flores and Irene Bustamante Adams. Other Latino leaders include Eloiza Martinez, Luis Valera, Tony Sanchez and Nora Luna.

Kate Marshall Receives EMILY’s List Endorsement
Congratulations to State Treasurer Kate Marshall, who received the endorsement of EMILY’s List last Thursday. In announcing their endorsement, EMILY’s List President, Stephanie Schriock, stated about my candidacy, “Kate’s record as State Treasurer over the past seven years shows a commitment to empowering women and families through economic development, and EMILY’s List… is proud to help her become Nevada’s next Secretary of State.” Donate to Kate’s campaign here.

Lucy Flores Announces Candidacy for Lieutenant Governor
It was a packed house at the North Las Vegas campus of College of Southern Nevada yesterday when Assemblywoman Lucy Flores announced her candidacy for Lt. Governor. To get involved in Lucy’s campaign, visit her website at www.lucyflores.com.

National Women’s Lobby Day
March 8th is National Women’s Lobby Day. This is the day to check your congressional representative’s voting record on women’s issues and let him or her know how you feel about that. Click here for more information.

Apply Now for Nevada Youth Legislature             
Applications Now Being Accepted for the Nevada Youth Legislature. This is a great opportunity for teenagers to learn about our government by actually participating in it.  Applicants must be 9th to 11th grade students during the first school year in which they will serve on the Nevada Youth Legislature. The deadline to apply is April 12th. For more information, click here or download an application.

Nominations Now Being Accepted for Nevada Senior Citizen of the Year
Nominations for the Nevada Senior Citizen of the Year for 2013 will be accepted through March 31, 2014. The Nevada Delegation of the National Silver Haired Congress (NSHC) in partnership with the Aging Services Directors Organization (ASDO) established this award last year. Anyone knowing a Senior Citizen who has made significant contributions at the local, state, and/or national level may nominate that person. Click here for nomination forms and additional information.

Students can enter “Home Means Nevada” Essay Contest 
Students in grades six through 12 are invited to enter the Home Means Nevada Sesquicentennial Essay Contest, sponsored by the Nevada Department of Education, Nevada in the West Magazine, Nevada History Foundation and the Nevada 150 Commission. All entries must be submitted to the Nevada Department of Education by March 24, 2014. Click here for more information.

On the Flip Side
Less than 1/3 of Republican Party believes GOP Leadership Doing a Good Job in Congress
A new Pew Survey done last month shows that just 28% of Republicans and Republican leaners said the GOP was doing a good or excellent job in standing up for its traditional positions of smaller government, tax-cutting and conservative social values, while seven-in-ten (70%) rated their party’s job as “only fair” or “poor.” Read the entire report here.

Keep up-to-date on all things BLUE at the Blue Nevadan.   Better yet, get you own copy of the newsletter by subscribing to Blue Nevadan Newsletter.

Report to NSDP Central Cmtee Members

Welcome to May and just 2 days until early voting and 166 days until the General Election.

Since our Central Meeting in Carson City we have been very busy planning for the NSDP State Convention in Las Vegas June 9-10. We are expecting a lot of excitement at the convention and are excited to have Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa as our keynote speaker.

In April I traveled to Charlotte, NC the site of the DNC Convention in September. We toured the convention center and areas around Charlotte. The city is preparing for a great convention. While there I also visited our assigned hotel, which is the Hilton Garden Inn just across the street from the convention center. At our DNC Executive Committee meeting the board voted to approve the Credentials Committee and Rules Committee appointments of our Chair, Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Nevada won again as Assemblywoman Lucy Flores was appointed co-vice chair of Credentials and Assemblywoman Olivia Diaz was appointed to the Rules Committee.

I will visit Charlotte again in July for the State Chairs meeting. I will be insuring arrangements for the Nevada Delegation are in order for our visit in September.

During the past few months I have been given the honor to speak at OFA Office openings in Southern Nevada. It is great to see the excitement! I have also attended many candidate events and walked in the Helldorado parade for Shelley Berkley.

I have started having monthly conference calls with our elected Leadership Team, Vice Chair James Brown, 1st Vice Chair Theresa Navarro, Secretary Marla Turner, Treasurer Jan Churchill, Parliamentarian JoEtta Brown and Executive Director Zach Zaragoza. The Rules and Bylaws Committee worked tirelessly to write Election and Convention Rules.

The Executive Committee had a conference call to approve the Election Rules.
Thank you for all that you do to move our party forward! As always I am available to answer any questions you might have. My cell is 702.767.5332 or you can reach me via e-mail at chair@nvdems.com

Sincerely,
Roberta Lange