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MEET VICTORIA

I was born and grew up right here in Arlington, the heart of Virginia's 8th Congressional District, and as the daughter of immigrants, my family’s story is one of both struggle and opportunity.

My mom grew up in Ecuador and my dad was born to Punjabi Sikh refugees in Thailand. They both came to America in hopes of a better life — but every day was a struggle, a fight.

The Spanish word “luchar” describes what it was like for me to watch my parents make it in America. Because child care cost too much, my mom would bring me to the salon where she worked as a manicurist. And as I watched her work for a $2 tip, I talked with the customers — doctors and lawyers who showed me there was a bigger world than the one I was living in, as well as the path from where I was to there: education.

 

I hit the books. My parents enrolled me in St. Agnes Catholic School in Arlington, VA and then Georgetown Visitation in Washington, DC, made possible by the generosity of a financial sponsor. I went on to earn a full scholarship to Stanford University through a combination of Pell Grants and Stanford funding. The scholarship enabled me to attend college — paying for my education would have been impossible without it.

 

Throughout my summers, I gained invaluable experience working in the office of Senator Dianne Feinstein. She inspired me to stand out and to speak up on important issues, like the lack of representation of women in Congress. “2 percent was fine for the fat content in milk. It was not good enough for the Senate,” she said, iconically. Today, women make up 27% of Congress and the Senate.

After graduating college with a bachelor’s degree in international relations and a master’s degree in Latin American studies, I joined the tech workforce. I believed that technology would play a large role in our government institutions and I wanted to learn about the industry. I was making enough money that I didn’t need to worry about paying the rent or buying groceries. That’s when it hit me: I had achieved the American Dream. But this dream had the same distorted, warped quality my asleep dreams had. Something here was not right.

Because, really, if I was born in Arlington now, under the same circumstances that I was born into in the 1990s, my story would no longer be possible. Now, homeownership is out of reach, we do not have a living wage in VA, and healthcare costs can consume up to 60% of a household’s income. 

In light of these challenges, I felt moved to act. I volunteered with Communities in Schools to help with family and education services during school re-opening, was recruited to become an Arlington Democrats Precinct Captain, volunteered with the Virginia Turnout Project, and served as the Arlington Democrats Outreach Vice Chair, where I managed 11 caucuses to engage underrepresented communities. Additionally, I am currently a County Board-appointed member of the Economic Development Commission. These experiences deepened my call to help make changes that our community so badly needs. I am ready to do more. 
 
That’s why I’ve made the decision to run for Congress — to serve the community that raised me, to expand access and opportunity for the store owner, the refugee, our elders who are struggling, the high school student trying to afford college, and all the families throughout VA-08.

MEET ISABEL, VICTORIA'S MOM

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