Monique Alcala: Breaking barriers to build bridges
Monique Alcala is currently serving as the Executive Director of the Texas Democratic Party after over a decade of advocacy, political, and government experience. Alcala is the first woman of color to lead the organization. She was born and raised in central Texas, spending her time between Austin and Buda.
Alcala recounts how her community and her father informed the trajectory of her career. When she was young, her father would take her with him to the polls, making voting a regular thing for someone to do. However, she recalls that in Texas, people would talk about how their vote didn’t matter. For her community, that meant Latinos felt that their voices were not heard. For her father - who is Mexican American - it was a demonstration that despite the challenges that surrounded them, they would do their part to make things better.
As a young person in her early 20s, Alcala grew frustrated with the status of things around her - how challenging it was for people, especially women and people of color to get ahead. People were struggling to make ends meet and didn’t have equal access to opportunities. There was little diversity in government - the people making the laws did not look like the people in her community. In 2010, she moved to Virginia. It was there she she introduced to campaign work she then took a position on a campaign in a rural congressional district where she was the only woman and the only person of color on the team. This experience ignited her to stay in politics, bringing her to today, 13 years later, where she is serving as the Executive Director of the Texas Democratic Party.
Alcala has focused on building coalitions in diverse communities. Throughout her career, Alcala has faced barriers as a woman in politics and has directed these barriers into a drive to advocate for other women in politics throughout the industry. Alcala remarks that all women in politics know what it’s like to be treated differently because you are a woman. However, Alcala also believes this has created a culture where women in the industry look out for each other. She notes that this is incredibly important because politics is an industry that has been slow to change for women, where she sees many of the same challenges and structural barriers from the beginning of her career still occurring today.
Alcala reflected back to her father, one of her inspirations for getting involved in politics. He would always write her notes about finding her purpose, and strongly supported her work in campaigns. When he passed away three weeks before Election Day in 2022, she knew how proud he would have been of the work she had been a part of across the country - winning congressional seats and flipping legislative chambers. One of her father’s dreams was for Texas to turn blue, and she wanted this dream to become a reality, for her father and so many other Texans.
Alcala is enthusiastic about contributing to the work the Texas Democratic Party is already doing. She hopes to create more access points for people to get involved with the Party. She envisions this as creating varying opportunities to fit everyone who wants to get involved, recruiting people to positions of leadership, and scaling up the work throughout Texas.
Monique Alcala envisions a better future for Texas, inspired by her love for her community and her rich experience to her work as the Executive Director of the Texas Democratic Party. As the first woman of color to lead the organization, she hopes to champion opportunities for other women in Texas politics, ensuring other women will be inspired and have opportunities to lead.