Fresh from a press conference with the New York Immigration Coalition to announce a major rally for immigrant rights - The March for Immigrant New York – newly elected Senator Marisol Alcantara of New York sat down with WIG to talk about her policy priorities for 2017.
Upon moving to New York City, Senator Alcantara noted she was “disheartened to see that there were not many women of color in position of power.”Despite the fact that women comprise 30.5% of the New York City population, there were no Latina women in the Senate. When the seat opened up in her district, she immediately decided to run.
Senator Alcantara’s legislative priorities include fighting for women in New York City to ensure their reproductive rights are upheld and to maintain funding for Planned Parenthood.Alcantara wants to make sure that New York “stays on the forefront of standing up for women’s health.”Senator Alcantara is a strong supporter of Planned Parenthood because “immigrant and working class women rely on its services.”
Senator Alcantara is committed to providing economic and educational opportunities for her constituents.She noted that schools in her district are “often overcrowded and underfunded,” and she wants to make college affordable for undocumented students who live in New York.Noting that her district has one of the highest numbers of rent-stabilized units, and with many women as heads of households who may be responsible for taking care of sick parents, she wants to ensure that “people can stay in their homes.”
When asked about the best advice she received when running for office, Alcantara responded, “To keep focused; to think, to strive, and not to yield.”Alcantara said, “Oftentimes you get distracted by a story that is not nice, by your opponent, or whether or not you will get an endorsement,” she said.“Concentrate on selling your story and your message.”
When asked about increasing the number of women running for elected office, Senator Alcantara advises that young women interested in running for office should “not be afraid of failing - just do it!”She cites herself as a perfect example: she came to the United States at 12, and her mother was a housekeeper.She acknowledged that running for office can be difficult. “It’s hard for women because you are always concerned about family,” said Alcantara, noting that this pressure can come from external sources as well.
Citing the hard election for both female Presidential candidates – Carly Fiorina and Secretary Hillary Clinton – Senator Alcantara sees a definite need for mentors for women of diverse racial and economic backgrounds who want to run for office.
About Future WIG
Women In Government supports women of all ages in leadership roles, and is working hard to ensure that young women are given the resources and mentorship they need in order to achieve their goals. This program takes place at WIG Regional conferences, where WIG asks women state legislators and leaders in the private sector to encourage young women across the country to pursue leadership roles. This program is made possible by Southwest Airlines.