She Runs Illinois 2020! — Barbara Hernandez, candidate for IL House of Representatives, District 83
She Votes Illinois is pleased to feature Barbara Hernandez, incumbent, running for IL House of Representatives, District 83. Follow our series, She Runs Illinois 2020!, leading up to election day as we showcase and uplift the voices of Illinois women running for public office in the upcoming election.
Tell us about yourself
Barbara Hernandez was born and raised in Aurora, Illinois. She graduated from East Aurora High school in 2010, Waubonsee Community College in 2012 and from Aurora University in 2014. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and a minor in Spanish and currently working on her Masters in Public Administration at Aurora University. Barbara is the first in her family to attend college. Barbara started her passion for politics when she realized that her parents were undocumented and there were many others that had the same immigration status that prevented them from going to college, travel back to their home country, and live without the fear of being deported. That is when Barbara got involved in many community organizations hoping one day to be included in the decisions that impact families and make a positive change.
Tell us about the women in your life
The women in my life are courageous, warriors, and passionate. Personally, my mom has had to go through a lot as she was undocumented for 21 years and she was not able to see her family who live in Mexico for that long. I cannot imagine the sacrifice she knew she was making back in 1992 to leave everything and everyone behind knowing she would not be able to see them many years later. Politically, there were several women in my life that gave me valuable advice and guided me through the process, one of them is now Director of Veterans Affairs Linda Chapa LaVia. I was able to meet her when I was 15 and unaware of what I wanted to pursue and she guided me through a different experience of what I thought politicians were.
What led you into politics? Why are you running for THIS office?
As I stated in the last question my family’s immigration status was a big part of my decision to run for office. I want to make a positive change in my community by being the voice of those who believe that elected officials do not listen to them. As a daughter of a first-generation and low-income family, I lived through many struggles and I now treasure those obstacles and want to make them better for families.
What policies will you push for to ensure that people with lengthy recoveries or chronic health issues from COVID19 can access the healthcare they need?
I will continue to fight for an increase in healthcare services and to assure they are accessible to everyone no matter age, gender, race, and prior health issues. Last year, I was able to support several bills that would protect and increase women's health resources and decrease the amount people pay for insulin.
Recognizing that systemic racism is built into policies and laws, what changes to policies and laws are you prioritizing for change/implementation in order to address systemic racism and why?
I want to continue to support legislation that specifically is combating systemic racism and are asking for more diversity in state agencies, contracts, and recruitment. Black and Latino men and women should be able to have a place at the table where decisions are being made.
What are the most overlooked issues from a policy perspective impacting women in your district?
There are several issues that are overlooked and not even acknowledged at times by women in my district. Access to feminine hygiene is an issue that impacts several women but are embarrassed to talk about. Women’s health is another issue along with equal rights in the workplace.
What do you wish you had known before you decided to run for office?
If I can be honest I wish I had known more about budgets, raising money, and other items that could run for office. I am familiar now with a few things, but it would have made things a bit easier if I had known that prior.
I hope that after this questionnaire people can get an idea of where I came from and why I want to continue to represent the community that saw me grow up. I want to continue fighting for them on issues that matter most to them such as health, education, safety, and property taxes.
If you would like to learn more about Barbara Hernandez and her platform or volunteer for her campaign, please check out her website at friendsofbarbarahernandez.com. Don’t forget to follow her on Facebook @Barbara4StateRep. Reach out today and help make a difference in the upcoming 2020 election.
(The information contained in this post is provided only as general information and does not imply an endorsement by She Votes Illinois.)