5 Latinas Behind the 2016 Presidential Candidates

5 Latinas Behind the 2016 Presidential Candidates

It’s official: The 2016 presidential race is in full swing, and while there may not be a Latina running for Commander-in-Chief, that doesn’t mean that we’re not playing a major role in the carrera.

MORE: 5 Ways Latinos are Disenfranchised Politically

Mujeres Latinas can be found on both Republican and Democratic parties with influential director positions ranging from operations and policy to public engagement and coalitions.

Latina got to speak with some of these politcos to learn more about their work, get their thoughts on the underrepresentation of women of color in politics and take their tips for other muchachas with governmental dreams.

(Disclaimer: While we know that there are Latinas on the trails of GOP contenders Rick Santorum, Carly Fiorina and Jeb Bush, each campaign declined to speak with us. Santorum’s team did not respond to our requests, Fiorina’s press secretary said they don’t "do staff profiles" and "aren't going to give the ethnicity of staff" and Bush’s spokesperson said the "focus should be on the candidate." As such, only Latinas on Democratic campaigns are featured below).

Amanda Renteria, National Political Director, Hillary Clinton

What does the job of a National Political Director entail?

The simple way of putting it is that I’m building the biggest tent any campaign has built. My role isn’t just for Latinos. I make sure that all of our voices are at the table.

You're Hillary Clinton's first Latina national political director and you were also the first Latina Senate chief of staff. What do these things mean to you?

In a lot of ways both "firsts" feel the same. I have a profound sense of responsibility to do well. For me, it’s not about being the first; it’s about making sure I’m not the last. There were Latinas who opened the door for me, and I need to keep it open for others.

Why is it important to have a Latina in this position?

It's our future. Republicans and Democrats know that the Latino community is large and that it's growing. In order to have a country that empowers all of our families, all of our families need to be at the table when talking about the future. What happens to the Latino community will affect the entire country.

What’s your advice to Latinas hoping to make it in politics?

Never forget who you are. When you’re entering an industry where there are not a lot of people you like, there’s a desire and a pressure to conform. We are told we have to change who we are to be successful, and while there may be some truth to that, if in the long run you lose who you are, then you can’t pave the way for others like you. 

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