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Creating a legacy one ballot at a time

Texas lawyer and president of the National Women’s Political Caucus, Lulu Flores, devotes her life to helping more women achieve their dreams of getting elected to public office.

LatinaLista — When Democratic hopeful Senator Hillary Clinton withdrew her nomination from the 2008 race for the U.S. presidency, there was probably no one more disappointed than Maria Luisa “Lulu” Flores.

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Flores, a 52-year-old lawyer with an Austin, Texas firm that represents clients who suffer from cancer caused by asbestos exposure, spends her spare time as president of the National Women’s Political Caucus (NWPC).

 

Lulu Flores, president of the National Women’s Political Caucus

Since the mission of the NWPC is to “recruit, train, elect or appoint pro-choice progressive women to office,” Flores represented the NWPC on the Clinton campaign and worked in three states on the Senator’s behalf.

“The National Women’s Political Caucus was founded on the premise that ALL women should be represented and should be participants and leaders in the political arena,” Flores said.

In fact, equality for females has always been something that Flores has striven for since she was a child growing up along the U.S.-Mexico border in Laredo, Texas.

A self-confessed tomboy, Flores, the youngest of nine children, played and competed with the neighborhood boys. In her senior year of high school, she lobbied for a girls’ basketball team and not only won her case but became the team’s co-captain.

“I instinctively knew that girls and women should have equal rights to do what they wanted to do and become what they wanted to be,” Flores said. This is what I do today — fighting for gender equality in society and in politics.”

Flores had two very strong examples at home to model her convictions — her parents. Flores’ father was a lawyer, an elected official in Laredo and one of the founders of the first chapter of the League of United Latin American Citizens. Her mother was a teacher and a shop manager. Together, they taught their daughter the importance of community involvement and civic participation.

Because of them, it wasn’t a big surprise when she decided to extend her college education and pursue a law degree. While most girls her age were getting married and starting families, Flores forged ahead with her plans and passed the Bar Exam.

“Fortunately, I didn’t suffer from any cultural expectations,” Flores confessed. “In fact, my grandmother was very proud of me for pursuing my college career and even asked me to mentor one of my cousins who was more interested in her boyfriend than going to college.”

These days, Flores works at interesting women, and especially Latinas, to run for political office. Convinced that all women can be great leaders, Flores would like to see more Latinas fill top leadership positions in light of U.S. Census projections that have Latinos comprising 30 percent of the national population by 2050.

Though the goal of the NWPC is to achieve gender equity in the political arena, Flores has made it her personal mission to help women get elected to office.

“The NWPC’s mantra is 50-50 by 2020,” Flores explained. “It means having 50 percent of elective offices at all levels be held by women because women make up over 52 percent of the population in the United States.”

Flores routinely practices what she preaches by supporting female candidates running for office by raising money for the organization’s Political Action Committee, and on a personal level, by hosting fundraisers at her home.

It’s a passion that she happily shares with her husband fellow lawyer Scott Hendler, who realizes that a political future isn’t entirely out of the question for his wife.

“My dreams are to make a difference and have impact, and to improve the human condition, especially for women,” Flores said. “On a personal level, I still may run for political office someday in order to influence the future as a policy maker. My legacy is (still) being written — it’s a work in progress.”

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