As a little girl on career day, I donned a child sized business suit, with a skirt, of course, and borrowed my mom's briefcase. When asked what if I was a businesswoman or an attorney I said, "No, I'm the first woman President." I went on to be featured in my high school yearbook as the "Future President". As I got older, I became an activist for the conservative movement, serving in the College Republicans. I soon found that my principles mattered much more than my party affiliation and so I joined the Young Conservatives of Texas. What I liked most about the organization was their commitment to state and local issues. It's true in a national election or issue that every vote and you should be educated and involved. However, imagine how much more of an impact you can have at the local level.
At the local level, you can apply to serve on a board or commission that makes policy recommendations and advises the Mayor and Council on various issues, from community policing, planning and zoning, to transportation. You can sign up to help your Chamber of Commerce to recruit business, help budding entrepreneurs and recruit new members. You can provide your input on the budget process and what your funding priorities are. You can even help select the transformative projects that could be featured in the next bond package. You can pick up the phone and directly speak to your Council member. You can Tweet them, Facebook them or email them. They are accessible because they are your closest elected officials.
When the Federal Government shut down in 2013 you may not have directly felt the impacts of it. Imagine if your municipality shut down. Trash pickup. Animal care services. Public safety. Emergency response. Drainage and flood control. Pothole repairs. This is the level of government closest to you and you have the power to guide it.
There are a lot of ways in San Antonio to get involved, some as simple as watching Council A and B sessions online at www.sanantonio.gov.
Another way you can help? Get ready to tell your state officials that your cities need local control and that you believe that government is not one-size-fits-all.
If politics aren't your cup of tea, I challenge you to find a non-profit you believe in and volunteer your support. You don't have to give funds if you can't. Be there to help. Pick up litter in the park. Report potholes to 311. Say thanks to a City worker helping with infrastructure projects. Smile when you pass someone on the sidewalk.
Finally, remember this. As a Latina, there are very few leaders who look like me. There are even less Latina Republicans in the spotlight. Did this stop me from forging my own path? No. I don't need a leader who looks like me to inspire me to lead. I need a leader who inspires me to fight for my values. So if the President of the United States stands against what I stand for, then I am motivated to fight. If my local leaders listen and fight for what I believe in then I am inspired to help them fight.
I didn't have a female president for me to aspire to be the first female president and it didn't stop me from dreaming.
Keep your head up, America. We have a great future ahead. I live in a country where a girl from the valley, whose mother immigrated from Mexico, can grow up and go to college, forge my own career in a new city on my own, and have a corner office at the City Hall I so long admired from a distance. I live in a country where this Hispanic conservative can be named to a 30 Under 30 Rising Conservative Stars list. I live in a country where I can vote without fear. I live in a country where there is a peaceful transition of power and checks and balances. We are lucky. Let's not forget that.