Latina leaders share the challenges and opportunities of running for public office


“If I was a man and I raised my voice, would I, would he be emotional? Would he be categorized as being challenging and difficult in the conversation? (No) He would be assertive and aggressive in pushing his point across”, said Bridgeport City Council President Aidee Nieves at a recent Zoom conversation hosted by Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz.

Nieves along with several elected Latina city councilwomen, representatives, and alderwomen shared their experiences and advice about working in politics. 

In addition to the gender stereotype that women are “too emotional” to lead, many of the guests shared similar obstacles in running for office like lack of funding, organizing, and difficulty networking.

“You have to be tough in order to be in politics because you will always have someone trying to put you down; trying to always come up with an excuse for you not to run. It is very difficult to be in a room with a group of men,” said Maly Rosado, president of the Hartford City Council.

Rosado is one of the many Latinas in public service that the Lieutenant Governor has been honoring in social media during Hispanic Heritage Month.

Alma Nartatez, president pro tempore of the New London City Council, says that it’s difficult to get Latinas to run for office because of the time commitment. “I think that’s a huge deterrent for a lot of people; especially for Latina women who have families or might be taking care of an elderly person at home,” said Nartatez.

“A lot of people feel like they are disenfranchised,” she told the Connecticut Examiner. “They don’t feel that they are being represented.” 

“Having a Latina elected official…somebody who understands the culture, speaks the language, has personal experience … I believe it resonates,” said Nartatez.

A record 32 million Hispanics – Latinos are projected to be eligible to vote n the 2020 elections, the largest, nonwhite racial or ethnic electorate.

In Connecticut, 12.3% of the eligible voter population is Latino (322,000 out of a total 2,614,000), according to the Pew Research Center.