South Texas Senate candidates thrilled with women’s political rise

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, Texas (ValleyCentral) — The race for the Texas Senate District 27 Democratic nomination represents an absolute shattering of the glass ceiling as two women will battle for the position in a runoff.

Morgan LaMantia and Sara Stapleton-Barrera received the most votes in the March 1 Texas primary election, however, neither received more than 50%, forcing the race to a runoff. Both are trying to become the Democratic candidate for Texas Senate District 27.

This position has been held by Eddie Lucio Jr. since 1991, but Lucio announced that he would not run for re-election, prompting several candidates to campaign for the position.

Stapleton already ran for that seat in 2020 and forced Lucio to a runoff in the Democratic primary. She fell short of Lucio by seven percent of the total vote.

LaMantia and Stapelton are thrilled to have made it this far into the campaign. Additionally, both candidates are thrilled that a woman has a great chance to represent South Texas.

“I think it’s time, but it will also be a great role model for the women of District 27 to see that if they have dreams they can go and make them happen,” LaMantia said.

Stapleton added that she was approached by several women after her last campaign who told her she had inspired them to run for office as well.

“The most empowering thing about the race in 2020 afterwards was that so many young women came up to me and said I was an underdog and because they got closer like me they decided to run for mayor, city council and other positions,” Stapleton said.

LaMantia applauded women like Ann Richards, former governor of Texas, and Blanca Vela, former mayor of Brownsville, for paving the way for female politicians to win elections in state and local races.

Stapleton added that the rise of women in politics has been a gradual move as each new generation begins to treat women more equally to men than the previous one.

“It wasn’t a sudden thing where we were all equal. It was a piece-by-piece fight that got all the women chiseling this thing,” Stapleton said. “In the generations before us it was harder for women to speak out and there was more pressure to conform, but we’ve gone way beyond that and that’s a beautiful thing”

LaMantia said women have to work twice as hard to achieve their goals so they can earn the same respect as their male counterparts.

“It’s like in every other industry, women have to work twice as hard to earn the same confidence and respect that men automatically give themselves,” LaMantia said. “When we work harder and prove ourselves, we will demand that respect in the future.”

Even though both candidates are running as Democrats, the same party as Eddie Lucio Jr., they both plan to introduce changes to District 27 and don’t see themselves as traditional politicians.

“[Lucio] established a very strong foundation, but I am myself and there are changes that need to happen,” LaMantia said. “We need to change our medical field, our education funding, we need to change how others view our southern border.”

“[Lucio’s] the means were outdated, biased, and did not serve the people of South Texas. He was helping himself. I plan to be the opposite of [Lucio] and not making a lot of money for myself from this position and being there for people.

As for advice for women interested in seeking political office, Stapleton recommends that they “be bold” even when told they don’t belong. LaMantia, meanwhile, recommends that women find what they’re passionate about and stick to their platform.

The second round of elections will take place on Tuesday 24 May. Whoever wins this election will face Republican candidate Adam Hinojosa.

Learn more about Stapleton’s platform here. Learn more about the LaMantia platform here.

ValleyCentral will spotlight two Republican female candidates heading into the second round of Texas’ 28th congressional district in a future story on the same topic.

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