EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — If the future is female, then one state representative from El Paso is ahead of the game.
Claudia Ordaz Perez is bringing girl power to the Texas Capitol with the only all-female staff in the state legislature.
“My office is an all-female office, and I truly believe we just get so much done,” she told KTSM 9 News. “Our hearts are in the right place, and we’re hard workers. It’s an exciting time.”
Ordaz Perez and her staff are part of a coterie of Latina lawmakers at the state and national levels that include Congresswomen Veronica Escobar and Alexandria Ocasio Cortez and fellow Texas State Rep. Dr. Mary E. Gonzalez.
“When you think of politicians, you don’t typically think of someone who’s like myself or AOC,” she said. “If we can inspire any young woman, young lady, young student to maybe aspire to run for public service, that’s something worth living for.”
Ordaz Perez’s office in Austin fosters female empowerment with books by the likes of Michelle Obama and pictures of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, otherwise known as “the notorious RBG.”
“I’m hopeful, and you’re seeing the demographics change in our state — you’re seeing a record number of women running for office,” she says.
Despite the changing of the times, lawmakers — Latina, Black and Muslim lawmakers in particular — are subject to online and in-person harassment.
Escobar, for example, has faced sexist and racist criticism and yet she and other female lawmakers are opting to share their vulnerabilities. On Monday night, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) revealed while speaking on Instagram Live about the Capitol riots that she is “a survivor of sexual assault.”
“I’m so proud of AOC to share those types of intimate details. She didn’t have to do that,” says Ordaz Perez.
Despite the challenges, Ordaz Perez is embracing whatever comes next.
“I’m really excited about the future,” she said. “I truly believe it’s female.”