April 3, 2018
By Pavitra Abraham
The National Democratic Training Committee will host live trainings this year in all 50 states to ensure the tools and resources for success are in the hands of Democrats across the country.
To do this, we’ve brought together expert trainers with a wealth of campaign knowledge to facilitate our trainings across the country. Through this blog series, we will highlight our fabulous trainers and shed some light on how they became a part of our team!
Today we’d like to introduce you to Aura Vasquez.
Aura on Aura
How did you get into politics?
I first got into politics because of my parents – they really showed me the way. I remember them taking me to community events and town hall meetings while I was growing up.
What is your current full-time position?
I’m a political and environmental consultant. I love that I get to work with people and with our everyday actions, change people’s lives.
What are you most proud of?
Getting Los Angeles to divest from coal.
I planned and carried out the successful Beyond Coal Campaign activities to stop L.A’s reliance on coal-generated electricity by 2025. Bringing together a coalition of community members, elected officials, and other stakeholders to advocate for more local jobs in the renewable energy industry, and an equitable distribution of clean energy, incentives, and other resources in communities most affected by pollution.
My campaign made Los Angeles the largest city in the country to go coal-free.
These efforts were equivalent to taking six million cars out of Los Angeles busy freeways.
I’m also very proud to work on the single-use plastic bag ban.
The 2014 state law bans retailers from handing out single-use plastic bags at the checkout. There are millions of bags in our streets and oceans. I was instrumental in bringing the Latino voice to the conversation, after several prior attempts to ban plastic in California.
Aura’s Tips For Candidates
What is one piece of advice you would give to someone thinking about running for office for the first time?
I always tell people to treat their political campaign seriously as soon as they think they are going to run. It doesn’t matter if you are running 10 years from now. Campaigning starts when you decide you will run for office.
As a candidate, it’s imperative that your community sees you as credible and viable! So think about :
- How you present on social media.
- What you want people to take away from conversations with you.
- How you want to be thought of.
- What issues matter most to you.
How do you practice self-care and why is it important for anyone involved in politics??
I practice meditation, yoga, and I dance in the shower.
Self-care is crucial for anyone working or volunteering in the political realm. We live in a very fast paced and demanding space. You can feel like you are constantly projecting externally and “giving” to others. This can be incredibly draining and leave you feeling burned out.
Politics requires a lot of passion and burn-out is a candidate’s biggest enemy for that reason. The campaign trail is long and hard, you must cultivate space to care for yourself if you are going to make it in the long-run.
Aura Vasquez on Training
What is your favorite part about training with NDTC?
I love that I get to train everyday people on how to run for office and make a difference. I love that I get to learn from everyone in the room as well. Through the “Crafting Your Message” training I often do, I have the opportunity to work with people on telling the story of who they are and why they’re running.
This is the core of their candidacy and is an incredibly rewarding part of this work. Helping people breakthrough any preconceived notions of running for office and develop their authentic story is something I am so excited to be a part of.
What’s one state you’d love to train in and why?
Florida & NY. With a high concentration of Latinos, planting seeds in these states will uplift the Latino vote.
- Coffee or tea? Tea all day
- Favorite TV show that’s currently on? The Good Wife
- Twitter or Instagram? Twitter for business. Insta for fun!
- What are you currently reading? The Green Giants
- If you weren’t working in politics, what would you be doing? Traveling blogger
- Biggest pet peeve? Slow people
Learn from Aura at a Live Training Near You
Come join Aura Vasquez and some of our other amazing trainers at one of our upcoming trainings.