Vanessa Diosdado: On a mission to diversify voters
Vanessa Diosdado is the youngest candidate and only Hispanic woman running to represent Sulphur Springs City Council. At twenty years old, Vanessa is a part of Generation Z—the up-and-coming generation of folks born after 2000. With her campaign for office, Vanessa hopes to represent the voices of young folks, women, and the Hispanic community. When there is a lack of representation in public office, Vanessa believes this leads to a lack of diversity in voters. In essence, Vanessa is on a mission to diversify the voting community.
Vanessa was born and raised in Sulphur Springs, Texas—a conservative, small town in East Texas. She looked up to her grandmother, one of her first role models. Vanessa’s grandmother immigrated to the United States from Mexico. Vanessa said her grandmother took may risks to give her family more opportunity in this country. Her grandma always tells Vanessa that anything is possible—but it wasn’t the typical cliché advice people give. Vanessa knowns her grandmother truly believes that Vanessa can accomplish anything she sets her mind to.
Vanessa was raised in a traditional, religious, and conservative Hispanic household. However, Vanessa’s family never limited her differing ideology. In fact, as Vanessa grew up, her family began to open their minds to new concepts and ideas outside of their traditional perspective. Over time, Vanessa realized that she actually aligned more with Democratic values and began to seek opportunities within this sphere.
Vanessa had just turned sixteen following the 2016 election. She had worked as an election clerk where she sat alongside Democrats and Republicans alike. Vanessa recounts this experience as her first time being exposed to politics. It was also the first time that Vanessa realized that there was a lack of representation in candidates and voters alike. Vanessa recognized that there was a critical need for more diverse candidates in an effort to diversify the types of voters. Whether there is no one who looks or thinks like you, you may feel dissuaded from voting. This pushed Vanessa to consider running for office.
As a young, Hispanic woman, Vanessa wants to represent the interests of these communities in elected office. Vanessa is currently running for Sulphur Springs City Council. According to Vanessa, there is no woman or person under 30 serving on the city council. Her ultimate priority with her platform is the creation of a more meaningful city budget. She believes that there is a need for shifts in the budget to different programming that will expand the city’s impact. For example, Vanessa advocates for a shift in budgeting for the police department. She believes a redistribution of resources can be made to non-policing measures that can aid in enforcement.
Though her campaign marks a success for the next generation, it is not unusual for her to face attacks and criticism. Vanessa graduated from high school in the same city where she is now running for office. Her former classmates have raised an online attack against Vanessa for no reason other than her left-leaning ideology. But Vanessa has difficulty understanding the criticism given city council is a nonpartisan role. She feels picked on because other do not want her to succeed. Luckily, Vanessa looks past these remarks and continues in strength with her race.
Vanessa’s greatest accomplishment thus far has been her campaign for office. She wants to show other brown girls that they are capable of anything. Vanessa remembers being the first Hispanic homecoming queen at her high school. She knows it is difficult to be the first of any identity to fill a space but wants to take that weight off of the next generation’s shoulders. Even though she is proud of her campaign, Vanessa realizes that it does not come without difficulty.
Running for office can be chaotic. Right now, Vanessa is a full-time student (graduating early, YAY!) at Texas A&M Commerce. She is also a mother to a one-year old daughter. When balancing schoolwork, her campaign life, and postpartum, Vanessa can feel overwhelmed at times. However, she keeps herself motivated by saying “if I won’t go through it, who will?” Vanessa notes that a lot of folks are counting on her to keep going.
Vanessa looks to her family for support and guidance. She leans on them for love and advice, especially when the campaign trail is tough. She also enjoys supporting different businesses and movements on social media. As a Gen Z influencer, Vanessa really enjoys uplifting others to her online audience on Instagram and Tik Tok.
To learn more about Vanessa’s campaign, please visit www.facebook.com/diosdadoforcitycouncil/.