History was made in several races during the 2017 off-year elections, with minorities, first-timers, and other under-represented candidates winning their campaigns. But it was no easy feat. Some hopefuls were hit with racial epithets and discriminatory advertisements before they won.
And for them, victory sent a clear message: our state is not a state of hate.
At least this was Virginia’s delegate-elect Elizabeth Guzman’s reaction. She and Hala Ayala this year became the first two Latinas ever elected to the state's House of Delegates. In an interview with Cheddar on Tuesday, Guzman said that many Republicans were mimicking the anti-immigration rhetoric exhibited by President Donald Trump. In her case, her opponent accused her of wanting to protect criminals.
“I think it was a huge response from Virginia to Washington, D.C., and also to Richmond, and Prince William County,” she said about winning. “We are not a state of hate. We are a state that is diverse, and we are proud of our diversity.”
Guzman, who began campaigning in October 2016, says her children were a motivating factor for her run for office. The public administrator and social worker was already heavily involved in her community. As a delegate, she hopes to encourage Latin children to feel represented and hopes more people with her background run for office in the future.