No woman has been a councilor for the 10th district that is now a Latino majority.

Aura Vásquez, an environmental justice activist, tries to become the first woman councilor for the 10th district of the Los Angeles Council, a seat that has always been in the hands of African-American politicians.

“The representation on the 10th District Council has to change. Latinos are already 60% of the population, although only 28% of voters. If Latinos want change, they have to get up and vote. I want all voices to be reflected in my campaign, ”says Aura.

District 10 for which Aura competes, includes the neighborhoods of Mid-City, Olympic Park, Palms, South Robertson, West Adams, West Peak and Wilshire Center in Los Angeles.

She lives in the Pico business corridor. He seeks to keep the seat he will vacate in 2020, Councilor Herb Wesson.

It has strong opponents like the outgoing supervisor of Los Angeles County, Mark Ridley Thomas; the organizer Channing Martínez; businessman Melvin Snell; and attorney Grace Yoo.

Aura Vásquez has a history of combating environmental pollution. (Photo provided).

Who is this afrolatina?

Aura was born 40 years ago in the Candelaria municipality in the department of Valle del Cauca in Colombia. She was the first immigrant to be commissioned by the City's Department of Water and Energy (DWP) in Los Angeles.

From the age of 11 when he founded an environmental club at the college of nuns he attended in Colombia, he showed that he would become a fighter against pollution.

She and her brother left Colombia in 1994. Aura was barely 18 years old. His family would meet them in New York, months later. The narcoviolence that plagued his native country in the 1990s, led them to seek refuge in the United States.

"Six months after arriving in this country, my family and I were undocumented. We were like eight years agoí ”, he adds.

A graduate of Political Science from Lehman University, she has worked with unions such as United Way in New York, faith organizations such as PICO, and with the Sierra Club. He currently works for JCI, a Fortune 500 company, dedicated to reducing energy consumption. In 2008 she became a citizen of the United States, and was able to vote for the first time for Obama.

Aura has always been involved with the community in environmental issues. With his work he contributed to the closure of three natural gas plants in Los Angeles and Orange County, where they operated with hydraulic fracturing (fracking), a mechanism that causes a lot of pollution in beaches, parks, communities and marine life.

It definitely says that Trump's arrival in the United States presidency encouraged her to enter politics.

“It takes a person at the local level to fight for us. People like me who have been undocumented, who have worked hard and have escaped from narcoviolence. We need a leader. This is the moment".

Vasquez admits that he is being moved to participate in the many issues that district leaders have not resolved, such as the lack of affordable housing.

“It’s alarming. You cannot pay the rent. There is much displacement of low-income Latinos and African Americans to other neighborhoods, and they travel 30, 40 miles or more to work here. ”

He says that Los Angeles politicians raise funds for their campaigns from construction companies, which build housing that residents cannot buy or rent. "These companies buy cheap houses, fix them and sell them very expensive."

Aura Vásquez seeks to reach the Los Angeles Council and focus on housing, homelessness and the environment. (Photo provided).


Vasquez says that as a councilor, his number one priority would be affordable housing, although the problem that worries him is also homelessness.

“It’s tremendous. We see it every day. We need real housing solutions. Sending a person to jail is not the solution to end this homeless crisis. ”

The candidate points out that voters approved 1.5 billion dollars to deal with the problem of the homeless, and if necessary, they must take services, such as the toilet, wherever people need it.

Your third priority will be climate change. “Air pollution is killing us and it will get worse. The fires we have had will not disappear and emphasizes that Latino children have the highest rates of asthma.

“We have generations that don't know what it is to breathe clean air. Latinos are the most affected, ”he says.

The candidate stresses that although she could buy an electric car, she cannot do it because the rental housing building where she lives has nowhere to plug them in. "Apart from that they are expensive, there is nowhere to connect them where we live."

Aura Vásquez was commissioned by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Energy. (DWP). (Photo provided).

Candidate without millionaire friends

Aura clarifies that she is not political, nor does she have friends who give her millions of dollars to campaign. "I am empowered by ordinary people."

And he recognizes that his expectations for winning are based on the fact that the community wants a change. “I am competing against a supervisor who has said that he wants to be a councilor and from there, run as mayor.

He – a political rival – represents a group that thinks that African Americans are the only ones who can represent the 10th district when 60% of the population is already Latino, ”he remarks.

He says she would be a councilor to represent everyone.

“I dedicate three, four hours a day to knock on doors. I have met people who say it is the first time that a candidate for the 10th district has come to their homes to listen to them, ”he says.

The primary elections to elect councilor will be from February 22 to March 3. The candidate with more than 50% of the votes would win, but if nobody gets that percentage, the first two with the most votes will face each other in a next round in the November election.


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