Ericka Ledferd: "Sometimes you need to be in the trenches to inspire other people"
Ericka Ledferd is running for County Commissioner in Rockwall County, one of the smallest and wealthiest counties in Texas, 30 miles Northeast of Dallas. Though she is embarking on her first campaign for public office, she is no newcomer to the political sphere. Ledferd has volunteered on a variety of political campaigns including one for State Rep. Victoria Neave and Kendall Scudder for Texas Senate. Ledferd was motivated to file for a place on the ballot last November when she realized that she was capable of more. She said, “sometimes you need to be in the trenches to inspire other people”. She knew she could no longer help others with their political aspirations if she didn’t put faith in herself as a candidate.
Ledferd began her interest in politics at the age of seven during the South American “Falklands War”, a ten-week war in 1982 between Argentina and the United Kingdom over South Atlantic territory. Her father was following the political conflict, leading up to the war, and sharing updates with a young Ledferd about South American politics. She describes her father as “the first feminist I ever knew”. He taught Ledferd about imperialism, “big government”, and Peruvian policy as a young child. By the age of 17, she immigrated to the United States. Ledferd prides herself as an immigrant in a campaign for a seat that has never seen an immigrant before. If elected, she would be the first immigrant Latina to fill a Rockwall County Commissioner seat (all four seats are currently filled by men). As a County Commissioner, Ledferd would assist in the preparation of the county’s budget in addition to overseeing day-to-day operations of the government including infrastructure and judicial appointments. She’s an advocate for issues outside of the direct responsibilities of the county commissioner’s role such as government transparency and infrastructural growth. For example, Ledferd wants to change the Commissioners Court meeting time from 9 A.M. to a time later in the evening, when the commuting population of Rockwall County can have better access to the open meetings. So far during her campaign, Ledferd has utilized the network she has crafted through her presence in a variety of programs across the DFW. She quoted the SMU TRIO Program, a college access program that helps students find their best fit for college and be successful, IGNITE National, an organization dedicated to teaching young women to be civically engaged, and the Dallas Democratic Party as outstanding organizations that have helped her connect with other politically engaged citizens in the area. Additionally, she believes that the invaluable knowledge she gained during her time in undergrad studying Political Science at Texas A&M University - Commerce built on her foundational understanding of American politics and campaigns. Finally, when asked about the systemic barriers preventing women from entering politics in Rockwall, Ledferd noted that these barriers are “on a national level” with issues ranging from equal pay to child care. She explains her own personal experience, sharing that she was unable to run for office sooner because she could not dedicate enough time to her job, raising her children, and running a political campaign. She went on to say that if child care options had been available to her, she would have had a greater opportunity to be involved sooner as a candidate. Ledferd pointed out that “we, as a country, don’t look at [women’s issues] seriously” and continued, saying that “society has not given females the liberty it has given males.” She said a solution to resolving the barriers preventing women from entering the political realm would for citizens to embrace the entire spectrum of those leading our society.