Former Latina Journalist, Joy Diaz, Wants To Be Governor of Texas

Joy Diaz BELatina Latinx
Photo courtesy of NBC Latino.

“While my job as a reporter has been fulfilling, I have started viewing my life through the lens of mission. When our newsroom started covering the issues of race and inequality, I recognized I could no longer be unbiased in this historic moment. Change must come from the community — not the media. I want to be part of the change.”

So explained expert journalist Joy Diaz to her colleagues at the Texas Standard her decision to run for the governor of Texas.

With no party or political machine endorsement, Diaz — a Latina mother, former public radio journalist, and former public school teacher — has announced through online videos that she is running for Texas governor in the 2022 midterm elections.

Born in Mexico to a Nuyorican father and Mexican mother, Diaz grew up surrounded by the example of service to others, as her father was a missionary and she was raised as a Christian at home. According to NBC Latino, her parents helped children living in Mexico City’s garbage dumps.

For the past 16 years, and after working for years as an educator, Joy Diaz has worked as a journalist at KUT and the Texas Standard public affairs program. Diaz left her job in early November and said in her campaign video that she was inspired to run after she and her elementary school-aged son contracted COVID-19 earlier this year, an experience that she said ignited her passion for public service.

“I recently left journalism to fulfill a mission — an unshakeable dream, a fire in my soul — to serve you as the next governor of the great state of Texas,” Diaz, 45, said in a video posted online ahead of her campaign launch at Scholz Garten in downtown Austin.

Joy Diaz will run as a Democrat, facing former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, who launched his campaign for governor in November.

Diaz presented her gubernatorial plan, mentioning education, the border, and her stance on abortion, saying she supports women’s right to abortion. 

She lost twins after she had to undergo a medically-induced abortion. She at first resisted having the procedure, she said, and nearly bled to death. “I was not making the right choice. I was not preserving my life.” After she lost consciousness, she said the decision fell to her doctor and her husband.

However, taking on incumbent Greg Abbott and long-time political candidates will be no easy matter. 

Likewise, running for statewide office in vast Texas, which has several major media markets, will be a fight against the tide. 

But for Joy Diaz, the mission is clear:

“Our current leadership has forgotten that their mission is to serve us,” Diaz said in the video. “Conventional wisdom may say that it is unlikely for an average person — even a qualified one, even one with expertise, even one with a huge heart — to become the next governor of this great state. But Texans don’t solely rely on conventional wisdom. We believe in miracles.”