In a state where almost 40 percent of the population is Latino, you'd think an all-white city government would be a thing of the past. But Ana Reyes just made history in Farmers Branch, Texas, where she became the first Latino ever to be elected to a City Council seat, reports Fox News Latino.
The win comes after the district was revised by a federal judge, who ordered the city to change its election system to single-member district balloting that gave a disadvantage to Latino candidates. The newly resulted District 1 helped Reyes, 39, pull in a win with a 2-to-1 lead through the ballot counting, according to The Dallas Morning News. Her opponent was Bill Capener, the co-founder of a group associated with the Tea Party.
The new district was a result of a lawsuit filed against the city's at-large, district-wide election system. Reyes' parents, Mexican immigrants Antonio and Maria Reyes, were among the ten plaintiffs involved in the lawsuit.
“Her election is significant because Farmers Branch has been an epicenter for policies some consider anti-immigrant," Keranews.com said.
In fact, Reyes got involved with local politics in her Texas hometown after an all-white City Council passed a law making it illegal to rent homes to undocumented immigrants in 2006. This created huge tension between Latinos and other residents of the city. The ordinance was later deemed unconstitutional.
Latinos make up nearly 50 percent of the population in Farmers Branch, and 80 percent of District 1.
Maria Reyes was thrilled when she heard of her daughter's win. “We had no representation and now we do.” And Ana Reyes has some big plans for the city, with a focus on an even more diverse staff.
“I will promote inclusiveness by ensuring that new city board appointments are reflective of the city’s demographics," she said, "and I will host bilingual town hall meetings to ensure that every resident of District 1 has an opportunity to participate in discussions on key budget issues, infrastructure needs, and the overall welfare of Farmers Branch citizens.”