While diversity is starting to truly be embraced by people throughout various parts of the country, many states are still a few steps behind. But Texas may be coming around after nominating an openly gay and Latina individual for governor: Former Dallas Sheriff Lupe Valdez, according to NBC News.
The decision was made official after Valdez ran against Houston businessman Andrew White.
“Tonight is a victory for all of us who are fighting for a stronger and fairer Texas,” Valdez, a Democrat, said in a released statement.
White is a moderate Democrat who is against abortion. Despite his loss, he continues to voice his support for Valdez, starting with a Tweet:
Congratulations to @LupeValdez for winning the Democratic nomination for Governor of Texas. She has my endorsement and my support.
Let’s #DoRightTX and win in November!
— Andrew White (@randrewwhite) May 23, 2018
According to NBC News, Valdez has “a history of breaking barriers.” Not only is she the youngest daughter of migrant farmworkers, but she became the only Latina sheriff in the U.S. in 2005 and is now “one of the country’s few openly LGBTQ public officials.”
Though Valdez’s family does have fear that her campaign for public office would evoke homophobic backlash, Valdez is not deterred. About 14% of Americans have changed jobs to shorten the commute, but some job searchers face more serious obstacles than rush hour traffic. In Texas, it is still legal to discriminate against job applicants based on their sexual orientation and gender identity. Valdez says she’s ‘hopeful,’ even though some voters may see an issue with her sexuality.
“For some folks it’ll still be a moral issue,” Valdez told NBC News in a recent interview. “But for the majority of the generation now, I’m very hopeful. I think the majority of them are going to say, ‘What difference does it make? Tell us about your qualities.’”
On the other hand, Valdez also feels as though her credentials and life experiences may make her more relatable and reliable for Texas voters.
“I’m an Army veteran, I was a federal agent, law enforcement, I’m Hispanic, I’m LGBT,” Valdez said. “I know there’s a lot of people in Texas that will identify with one, two or several of those issues.”