Candidate Spotlight: Aura Vasquez | National Democratic Training Committee

I am Aura Vasquez, a candidate for Los Angeles City Council. I am an Afro-Latina immigrant from Colombia who has fought for environmental and social justice and lifted the voices of those who have gone unheard. In my city, I’ve led campaigns to ban single-use plastic bags and secure a commitment by the City of Los Angeles to go coal-free by 2025 with the Sierra Club’s ‘Beyond Coal’ Campaign. Now, I am running for City Council to represent the community I love.

For more than a decade, I have worked to better my community and demand benefits for my neighbors. I advocated for clean air, more jobs, better education, and justice for immigrants. Through my work and activism, I believe our city has too many problems that go unsolved. After many conversations with friends and community members about frustrations with City Hall, I thought I should stop complaining, step up, and take the lead. If I don’t run, who will speak up on solutions for our current homelessness crisis, the lack of affordable housing, and protect our environment? I am tired of seeing the injustices our communities experience continue. As an Afro-Latina, I see that there are no Afro-Latinxs leading Los Angeles or California. It is time to build a movement that includes everyday people! That’s why I am a candidate for Los Angeles City Council District 10. 

I was nervous about my decision to run for office because there was much I needed to learn about running a campaign and being a strong candidate. I used the NDTC modules to help me develop an initial plan for my campaign. I completed the exercises like the story of self, communications, and fundraising to help me prepare for what was to come. Particularly, I spent time drafting my personal story and digging deeper into my life experiences. This process helped me better understand the values I share with the people in the district I want to serve. 

Being a candidate is challenging and exhausting, but I find inspiration in the conversations I have with many of my neighbors when I share my vision for Los Angeles. We don’t always agree, but with every interaction, we begin to discover how we can come together and solve the problems that affect us every day. Door knocking, hosting meet and greets, and connecting with residents are my favorite activities of my campaign.

Running for office has been a dream. While challenging, it is a great learning experience. What people do not often tell you is the types of sacrifices you have to make as a candidate. I work full-time, and I juggle personal commitments with the time I need to be a viable candidate. I am on the phone daily with potential donors, partners, or my campaign team handling logistics that make our movement possible. Every free minute is dedicated to pushing my campaign forward. From going door knocking to posting on social media, my life is consumed by being a candidate. I have to remind myself that I am doing everything in my power to be successful, but I often feel my efforts are never enough. The support on the campaign trail from loved ones is vital. My dad was ecstatic to hear about my candidacy and reminds me to keep going when the campaign is tough and I am exhausted. These small gestures are everything when you decide to run.

I am running for office because I want to make a difference locally and globally. I am thriving because of the help I receive from loved ones and supporters. I refer back to the NDTC training and use the online tools often. They have helped prepare me to start my campaign the right way and provided me with access to a community of candidates and organizers that are invested in my success. 

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Lily Doctoroff

Lily was raised in Medfield, Massachusetts, a small town outside of Boston. She currently lives in Chicago while she attends college at the University of Chicago studying Political Science and Religious Studies with a concentration in American Politics. She is a member of the Communications team at NDTC.