Can a Latina Get What Beto O’Rourke Couldn’t?

Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez
Photo Credit Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

Her name is Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez and her goal is to achieve what Beto O’Rourke couldn’t in 2018: the position of Senator for Texas.

Under the slogan “Building a Texas for all of us,” this young Irish Mexican American wants to “create a government that truly represents us and solves our state and nation’s biggest problems.”

Her mother is the oldest of nine kids from a farm-working family in Southern Mexico, and her father is an entrepreneur from Ohio, and according to her campaign website, “They raised me to be a proud Irish Mexican American and I grew up being a part of two very different worlds. That experience taught me that at the end of the day, even if we look different, speak different languages, or come from different communities, we all want the same things for our families to be safe, healthy, and treated with respect.”

A graduate of UT Austin, Tzintzún became involved in activism in projects to protect workers’ rights such as the Workers Defense Project, but it was not until after the 2016 election that she decided to turn her efforts to mobilizing Latinos to register and vote.

Under the name Jolt, the 38-year-old organized campaigns to protect immigrant families and to “fix things that are unfair.”

Four years later, and in view of the political scenario that has been built under the Trump Administration, Tzintzún –along with a handful of other Democrats including two more Latinos– wants to achieve what Beto O’Rourke could not achieve in 2018: the seat of Republican Senator Ted Cruz.

Although the race won’t be easy with opponents like veteran M.J. Hegar, according to NBC News, it may be activism and social work that will make the difference for Tzintzún.

“It’s no secret that no Democrat wins unless they drive up voter turnout among young and Latino voters,” she told NBC. “I also have a real deep commitment to investing in communities of color and voters that are often an afterthought and should be front and center to a strategy to win in Texas.”

In fact, it was precisely her work to mobilize Latinos through the Jolt organization that has given her hope to do what few have even tried: take over the bulk of the Latino community in Texas, which represents 38.2 percent of the state’s population.

While it was Tzintzún herself who wrote O’Rourke’s plan to get the Latino vote in the general election O’Rourke’s campaign made some changes but eventually won the support of most young Latinos her strategy will have to deal with a deeply conservative population.

“Along the way, politicians will try to convince us that we don’t have the power to change things. They’ll tell us that our vision is too bold, that our plan is too ambitious,” says the candidate in her campaign. “But we won’t back down. We’ll remind them that in Texas, we dream big because we are big.”