Ruth Torres recently ran as a write-in, candidate for US Congress, District 5. Torres proudly ran on an independent platform, not belonging to any political party.
Born in Chicago, her family moved to Miami, Florida when she was a young teenager. Torres has lived in Dallas for 12 years. Growing up, Torres witnessed violence inside and outside the home. She moved from different foster homes and shelters during her childhood, which resulted in her feeling like she was living for survival. Yet she never gave up. She cites her mother’s strength and faith as well as the NBC television series The A-Team as a major influence on her adolescence. Her upbringing taught her that she could beat the odds and helped her become the resilient and determined person she is today. She learned not to be conditioned by her surroundings but to keep walking in faith.
Torres’ exposure to politics was through her experiences with education. Dropping out of high school in tenth grade, she earned her GED and received her bachelor’s degree in Dallas, attending Mountain View College and Dallas Baptist University. Her early days in Dallas were filled with work, school, and being a single mother. She moved back to Miami after receiving her degree and began working with kids in that community, teaching them they too can beat the odds and move forward in life. She moved back to Dallas in 2014, and after being a whistleblower of government corruption, she became interested in running for office. She decided she wanted to be part of the solution to bring equity and justice, not enabling or allowing the problem by being silent.
When asked why Torres decided to run for Congress specifically, she told me it was the result of the January 6th attack on the capital. She was, and remains, overwhelmed by the actions taken that day and the ways politicians participated in the events of that day and have since spread misinformation on the results of the 2020 Presidential Election. Torres decided she wanted to take action and give voters an ethical and balanced option that is focused on serving people, not party or profit. Torres fully believes that committing to a political office is a commitment to God and country, no matter what party you belong to. It is committing to the people you represent, and Torres understands the importance of this commitment.
In our interview, Torres highlighted the many barriers that come with being an independent candidate and a woman of color. Torres states Democrats and Republicans pay a fee and do not have to collect signatures for a spot on the ballot. To be on the ballot, Ruth had to collect 500 eligible signatures from her community. However, she had to wait until the Democratic and Republican primaries ended. These signatures had to be collected in person, which required Torres to go door to door. Although vaccinated, Ruth caught COVID during this process, an unexpected setback. She fortunately recovered and was able to collect the signatures needed. Access to campaign resources like donation systems and media coverage are not as accessible for independent candidates. These are just some of the ways independent candidates face barriers; overcoming these barriers shows the passion and determination Torres feels for her community.
Torres believes ethics in government and transparency in how taxpayer money is spent is important. Torres is vested in updated congressional district, specifically giving rural regions of the state greater representation. Additionally, Torres believes government subsidy programs such as the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) should focus on small farms, small businesses, and blue-collar workers. Finally, Torres sees a lack of balanced, responsible policies that promote gun safety, address food deserts, lack of access to internet and the cost of medical care and closing of hospitals in rural communities as major issues.
Torres’ campaign was one driven by her faith, hard work, determination, and grassroots efforts to lead change outside of the typical two-party system. While difficult, Torres believes her community, state, and country are worth fighting for. Ruth hopes to encourage voters to consider independent candidates and the development of systems to support them as well as women of color in government for those with a passion for aiding one’s community. Torres vows to continue to advocate and fight for justice and equity in whatever way possible.