Former news anchor Maria Elvira Salazar, a Republican candidate for Congress in Miami, is calling on her party to make more of an effort to reach out to women.
“We want to have a seat at the table in this national conversation that is going on right now where we are part of that future,” Salazar told Good Morning America. “So that’s why I’m saying to the party, embrace us. We are the untapped constituency.”
In the wake of Donald Trump’s election, there has been an unprecedented surge in the number of women running for elected office — most of them on platforms that aim to directly counteract many of the president’s policies. According to the Center for Women and American Politics at Rutgers University, more than 350 women are running for House seats as Democrats. But 118 women are also running in the House as Republicans — Salazar among them.
Salazar, an Emmy-winning TV journalist who worked in the industry for 35 years at Telemundo and CNN Espanol among others, is seeking to fill the vacated seat of Republican Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the first Latina ever elected to the U.S. Congress. While President Trump, Salazar acknowledges, “has not been soft on Hispanics,” she says she believes firmly in Republican economic policy and that she’s hopeful that Trump would work with her on a deal to provide a path to legal work authorization for undocumented immigrants who have resided in the U.S. for years. Florida’s 27th district identifies as 70-percent Hispanic, Salazar among them.
“We are the home of millions of Cuban political refugees, my parents being [two] of them,” she said. “We belong to a group of people that have suffered a lot and found in the United States of America another home.”
Despite her on-screen popularity and success in the Republican primary, her victory is hardly assured. She faces a tough Democratic opponent in former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna Shalala, who is running for office for the first time at the age of 77. The district voted for Clinton by 20 points during the 2016 election, and the former secretary of state has been personally campaigning on Shalala’s behalf in a bid to flip the seat blue.
Watch video of Salazar on Good Morning America below.
Read the full story at ABC News.