Staying True To Yourself As A Politician

“When I was approached in 2012 to run in the elections, my first reaction was “You’re crazy. Screw off. Are you nuts? Do you know who I am? Do you know my background?” I had a high school education, a whole bunch of things. I was extremely insecure, regardless of all the stuff I had done throughout my life and community and professionally and everything. And I mean, I always undervalued the things that I did because I always really enjoyed and appreciated the things that I did. So I didn’t think I could do that job. I also had a very specific image of who a politician was or what a politician was. Seeing somebody in a suit and a tie all day long, well, that’s who they were. They were lawyers, they were business people, they were executives or whatever, accountants. There was a very specific look, there was a very specific language, there was a very specific culture around politics that I did not identify with at all and did not see myself in.

And when I got into it, it changed me a little bit for the first couple of months because I thought I had to become that image or that thing. And then I realized later, no, I’m elected, people elected me, they elected the kid with all that baggage, all that history that they knew, and that’s who they wanted to run things and that’s who they wanted to be involved.

Then I got settled into being more myself, the suit and tie came off from time to time, and it was that. So we forget that we are members of our community sometimes, first and foremost, we live in those communities that we represent, and we have to remain true to those communities and true to ourselves and true to where we come from because that’s what we’re representing.”