Alexandra Annello: From organizing a mock election to winning her own
Born and raised in Boston Massachusetts, Alexsandra Annello grew up in an outspoken Italian household with her single mother. Her mother worked hard to support her family and at a young age, Annello was exposed to many social issues her family and community faced. Growing up in public housing, her mother was heavily concerned and aware of the issues and what policies the government were planning on creating. Being very outspoken and politically orientated, Annello’s mother was a huge influence to Annello and made her realize her voice did matter. Now with the political and social flame burning inside a young Annello, she decided it was time to get involved. Excited and ready to conquer the world, Annello organized a mock election for her second grade class to participate in. This was during the first time Clinton was elected as president and Annello was already getting her hands dirty with organizing.
Fast forward many years, Annello got her first internship for a Massachusetts State Rep at the age of 16. This was the first time she was submersed in the process of government and realized this is might be for her. Going into college she decided to pursue a degree in politics in Washington D.C. Before finishing school, she moved back to Boston and started working. Finding jobs in the PR and film production industry, she finally made her way to good ol’ Lone Star State. Working in cities like Austin, Marfa, and eventually El Paso, she worked for many production companies and nonprofits. Even starting some of her own non-profits, her PR and communication skills came to be a great asset for her. Now living in El Paso, Annello decided to attend University of Texas at El Paso and finish her degree. In 2017, Annello ran for City Council District 2 and ended up beating the long time incumbent of that district. District 2 in El Paso has many historic neighborhoods and as a representative, she has been working hard to bring that life back to these neglected areas. Enhancing and combating infill through cultural development has been something Annello is working on. District 2 used to be very lively and vibrant back in the day, but throughout the years the city, developers, and residents have allowed this area to degrade. Annello’s district is centrally located in El Paso and as we approached the modern era, development went outward, leaving central stuck in the past. Annello has been working hard to enhance the El Paso culture and make the city understand her district has potential. Development in her district can be seen as her long term goal as a city representative. In her short time in office, she has also helped create projects and legislation that has already started to make a difference in the community. One of Annello’s recent accomplishments includes voting for the approval of purchasing open space land that lies below the Franklin Mountains. This land was purchased by the city in an effort to preserve one of El Paso’s greatest assets, nature. She pushed really hard to continue ecotourism and in revenues it brings in for the city. She believes in development but not when it becomes problematic. If the development continued near the Franklin Mountains, there could have been many problems that would have fallen on the city, which means the taxpayer. Another project Annello is proud to be working on is a CIT (crisis in training) program for the El Paso Police Department. Fourteen officers will be trained on mental health issues and how to handle situation dealing someone who might be experiencing a mental health condition. El Paso already has a shortage of police officers, so instead of taking these officers off the streets to conduct training, she also has proposed to hire fourteen additions trainings to fill in that missing gap. This will be proposed on the upcoming budget and Annello hopes the city will approve. Being a city council member has inspired her to continue to work hard for her constituents and feels obligated to continue to fight for them. She plans to stay on city council for as long as her constituents allow her. She does not think too much about her future goals, as this is her job now and she has duties to fulfill today as district 2 representative. When she needs advice or support, she turns to her constituents and community groups and hears what they have to say. She believes her constituents are “the boots on the ground” and her best resource to turn too. Being a female in a male dominated industry, she still sees some barriers but is fortunate enough to work for El Paso where many of those typical systematic barriers do not exist. Many more women are being placed in leadership roles in El Paso and she is so happy to see that. Women are usually seen as easy targets, especially in politics, but she has some advice for younger girls. “People will say things to put you down, but the community does not support that. You have to believe in yourself and remember you are your biggest asset and let yourself be heard.”