Marilinda Could Teach the Grand Old Party a Thing or Two

Originally published by Politic365 here. Politic365’s Justin Vélez-Hagan talks with New Hampshire State Representative Marilinda Garcia.  The GOP rising star argues age isn’t a barrier to political participation and gives pointers on what […]

Originally published by Politic365 here.

Politic365’s Justin Vélez-Hagan talks with New Hampshire State Representative Marilinda Garcia.  The GOP rising star argues age isn’t a barrier to political participation and gives pointers on what the GOP could be doing to attract Latino voters. 

She’s a third term state legislator, the majority whip of one committee, the chair of another.  She serves on the Economic Development Task Force for the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators (NHCSL), has a Master’s from Harvard, has traveled and played with a world-famous orchestra, served as a Court Appointed Special Advocate for Children, and has also served as an adjunct professor at a local college.

Oh, by the way, she’s only 29 years old.

How did she get so involved at such a young age?  After graduating from college she began working on campaigns when someone approached her about running for the State Representative position she was promoting.  While most of her colleagues were looking for entry-level positions in a tight labor market, Garcia decided that her community needed her more.

They agreed and elected her as one of the youngest Latino representatives in the country.

“At one point I was the youngest woman in the legislature…by more than 20 years,” Garcia quipped while explaining the difficulties of being such a young legislator.

Since then, she has sponsored legislation, been elected to important committees, and is popular enough to get re-elected … twice.  She is now running for her fourth term in office.

Asked about the GOP, its messaging to Latinos, and whether they should cater a message specifically to this demographic, she had a few pieces of advice.

“It is important to learn how to reach out to certain people.  I think it is important to craft and target a particular message just to reach Latinos, but at the end of the day our strength is that we’re here to help Americans as individuals.”

Garcia further explained the pitfalls of promising too much, even if that’s what it takes to defeat your political opponent.

“As people from different cultural backgrounds, you always have to be aware and always have to listen.  But I think it can be quite disingenuous, especially when there aren’t the resources to make promises about certain things to certain ethnic groups.  I think we have a bigger issue . . . if we can’t get ourselves together economically then we’re not going to be able to keep any promises at all.   I think that’s the honest approach.  I haven’t seen too much of the GOP doing that.”

You listening Grand Old Party?  Well, if not, you’re going to soon.  You haven’t seen the last of state representative Garcia.

Listen to the full interview exclusively at Politic365 here.

JUSTIN VELEZ-HAGAN is a Senior Contributing Writer and Commentator for Politic365.com.  He is also the National Executive Director of The National Puerto Rican Chamber of Commerce and an international developer of senior living facilities.  He can be reached at Justin@Politic365.com.