Marie Lopez Rogers has come a long way since childhood, often spent in the cotton fields of scorching Arizona.
The Mexican-American mayor of her Arizona’s Avondale has been recently named the new president of the National League of Cities (NLC), Fox News Latino reports. In a written statement, Lopez Rogers expressed her excitement after the organization’s annual gathering in Boston determined her the winner after a vote.
The NLC is an advocacy organization aimed at helping city leaders build better communities and serves as a resource for more than 19,000 cities, villages and towns is represents. Lopez Rogers served on the organization’s Board of Directors from 2001-2003 and as the NLC’s Second Vice President in 2010.
"I am deeply honored to be chosen to help lead NLC for the coming year," Lopez Rogers said in her written statement. "There has never been a more important time for our nation's cities and towns. Our communities are constantly evolving and we as leaders must be increasingly more innovative, flexible and resourceful." You can read Lopez Roger’s touching acceptance speech here.
Lopez Rogers spent most of her childhood in labor camps alongside her Mexican parents, who picked cotton as migrant farm workers. She later became a social worker.
Last year, Lopez Rogers met President Barack Obama an invitation-only Cinco de Mayo ceremony at the White House. It was there that she shared her life story with Obama.
When I had a chance to talk to him, I told him about my story," Lopez Rogers told reporters last year, "and I told him that's the American dream and how lucky I am and how my parents instilled that [American Dream] in us."
Obama never forgot her story. During a National Council of La Raza conference, Obama recounted Lopez Roger’s story.
“It was in those cotton fields that Marie's father would tell her, 'If you don't want to be working in this heat, you better stay in school.' So that's what Marie did," the president said of Lopez Rogers.
The prez went on to say that because of “the tireless, back-breaking work” of Lopez Rogers’ parents, and their willingness to struggle and sacrifice so that one day their children wouldn't have to, the new NLC president became the first in her family to go to college.
“And, interestingly, she now works at the very site where she used to pick cotton, except now City Hall sits there and Marie is the town's mayor,” Obama added.