I ran (and won). Are you next?

By Sean Hassan, Elected Trustee, Austin Community College Board

Given the diversity of our state, it’s a shame that there aren’t more Texans of color who are representing us in elected office.

Our leaders — at city council, in our state capitol and in Washington, D.C. — should fully reflect the people they represent and understand the issues that are important to all Texans. That’s why I’m inviting any Texan of color who wants to run for office to apply for the Texas Future Leadership Program (TX-FLiP), organized by Battleground Texas.

I’ve participated in the program. And last year I was elected to the Austin Community College Board of Trustees, the first Muslim elected official in Austin.

The Texas Future Leadership Program is a candidate training program for Texans of color to learn the skills and knowledge needed to run for office or work on a progressive campaign.

Click here to learn more and apply to the program.

I want to tell you a little bit about me, and why I ran for office.

My mom moved to the U.S. 3 years before she had me. She spent the first 15 years of her life here in the U.S. running a laundromat — mopping the floors, scrubbing clothes, and wiping down the machines. Despite my mom working very long days, nearly 365 days a year, our income was always unpredictable. As a result, Robitussin and Orajel substituted for doctor’s visits and dental checkups, lunch was paid for by the federal free lunch program, and shopping for the new school year always entailed standing in the layaway line at K-Mart.

That was until my mom had the chance to attend a county-funded job training program to become a vocational nurse. Attending school while working full-time and raising two children wasn’t easy for my mom — I saw the challenges she experienced. But when she completed her program and began working as a nurse, our lives were transformed. It was the first time that we had a living wage coming into our home.

These life experiences instilled in me a deep commitment to progressive policies designed to improve the lives of everyday Texans and families and motivated me to run for public office.

Are you or someone you know a Texan of color interested in running for office or working on a progressive campaign? Click here to get started: