Daughter of noted Filipino-American political family in Maryland looks to carry on the torch
Kris Valderrama currently works at the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), AFL-CIO, in their Public Affairs Department. She is also Anchor & Reporter of Valderrama’s America, a multicultural television newsmagazine, which covers local, regional community & political issues on Comcast’s channel 80 in MD and channel 77 in D.C. The eldest daughter of former Maryland State Delegate David M. Valderrama and Nelia Valderrama, she is married to Abraham Lobo of Seattle, Washington, and is the mother of two daughters, Jordan (age 4), and Evan (age 2).
1) Your campaign has placed a special focus on families with children, and you’ve said that your “platform is motherhood”. Can you say more about this platform and how being a parent has been significant to your candidacy?
KV: I believe that there’s nothing stronger than a parent’s driving force for public safety, excellence in education and economic development. As a mother of two young daughters, I feel a greater need to be that much more involved in what goes on, not only around our community but throughout the county and state, when it comes to our future — our children. I grew up in the district I’m running in and I know where we’ve been. We’re headed in the right direction but there’s still a lot that needs to be done, and I want to be a part of that to ensure that the 26th district is a great one for my children.
2) At the same time, you’ve also focused on specific economic developments in your county. How does your focus on children affect the economic developments that interest you?
KV: Here’s a simple formula: good education = better public safety = positive economic development.
3) Your father has also served as a Maryland Delegate. What’s it like for you coming from a political family? Do you think it makes for more pressure in your career, or, on the flipside, greater motivation or interest?
KV: Both! If given the opportunity to serve as a legislator, I pledge to serve the constituents to the best of my ability in Annapolis — to be THEIR voice. Having a father who did just that — and extremely well I might add — does cause some pressure because people will have high expectations. I am definitely up to the challenge and am determined to succeed!
4) Filipino Americans are the second largest ethnic subgroup among Asian Americans, according to the Census. And yet today, although many Filipino Americans are prominent leaders in partisan and non-partisan political circles, there are still, proportionally speaking, few who seem to go out for elected office. Do you have any advice or observations to share with other Filipino Americans who might want to enhance their involvement in politics?
KV: GET INVOLVED!! As I’ve said before, many people, especially APIAs, are often reluctant to run for office because they’re afraid of losing. But what they don’t realize is that it’s not only about winning but about taking a risk — worthwhile — that is greater than ourselves.
5) A regrettably large and probably increasing number of our citizens — even those who turn out for a Presidential election — are usually “No-Shows” for midterm and off-year special elections. Perhaps there is a perception that these are “small potatoes” races whose results don’t really have significant consequences. What do you have to say to people who take a position like this?
KV: Sadly enough, most of these people are the same ones who always have something negative to say about the current officials and/or the way things are being handled. EVERY election is an important one and everyone should realize her or his civic responsibility — every vote DOES count!
6) You have some background as a labor activist. But many people these days, of all parties, feel that the political influence of Labor — in terms of both organized lobbying and having working folks’ interests on political agendas — is seriously weakened, if not a thing of the past. Are there labor issues that you feel are important in this midterm election? If so, what are they?
KV: I definitely do NOT feel that it’s a thing of the past. Key issues include: a LIVABLE wage, universal health care.
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