Dear Friends and Family,

I wish for you—a long and happy life, free from violence and oppression, full of love, community, and opportunity. A place of peace, where no one who works hard is left behind, where small towns still offer good jobs, great schools, and bright futures.

For those of us who call the small farming and ranching communities of the Yakima Valley home, the notion is a familiar one. Hard work is in our blood—along with a deep and abiding respect for anyone who comes home bone-weary after a long day, with the good dirt of the earth beneath their fingernails or the sweat of their labor on their brow, yet still somehow manages to find the energy to care for their parents, or spend time with their children, or lend a helping hand to a neighbor in need.

I am a proud daughter of Jesus Robles, a hard-working immigrant who came to Estados Unidos (USA) to make a better life for himself and his family. We were 12 in our family and dad taught us how to survive by teaching us to respect, love each other and our neighbor, pray and work hard for everything you want in this life. One thing he imbedded in me and my siblings, by example was that we are here on this earth to serve not to be served. Community service isn’t something we do; it’s our way of life. My husband Dan and I have a similar upbringing and we have lived and worked in Sunnyside for more than forty years. Our four amazing children and two grandchildren (so far!) were raised in the beautiful Yakima Valley, the 15th District, a place we ALL call HOME.

Growing up in the 15th district, a place full of agricultural employment opportunities was always about work for our family and everyone else we knew. I remember waking up as the sun was just coming up, to join my brothers and sisters with our parents and the rest of the family out in the fields, before and after school. Our parents, family, teachers—the whole community—instilled in all of us at an early age the importance of an honest day’s labor and of working as a team to accomplish a goal. I’m proud of all the things we’ve been able to accomplish through the years by working together with respect, dignity and inclusion.

Our district has changed dramatically over the decades, however our leadership has not. Representative democracy isn’t supposed to work that way. Political power is supposed to be temporary. When elected officials can stay in office for 15, 20, 25 years—democracy ceases to function. These days we seem more polarized than ever and everywhere we look our democracy isn’t working very well. That’s the bad news. Here’s the good news: WE CAN FIX IT! Democracy only works if we work for it and participate by using the power that all American citizens have to VOTE!

If you are perfectly content with the way things are? By all means, vote for the status quo.

But if you think we can do a little better, if you believe we are perfectly capable of writing the next chapter of our own history, if you believe we’d all be better off building more bridges that unite us and fewer walls that separate us, then go out and make it happen by completing your VOTING BALLOT AND MAILING IT IN!

Please understand that when you VOTE you are using the power you have to make a difference. All our children can have a quality education and the ability to reach for the stars. We can attain our dreams of owning our own successful business. We can have access to quality health resources that are affordable and don’t put us in debt for life. We can have good jobs and good wages at the same time. We can have equal pay for equal work. We can have safer, cleaner communities without infringing on individual liberties. We will find a way to solve complex problems like immigration reform. We can accomplish anything we can imagine, by working together.

We can do it because we always have. America began as a beautiful dream, that became a reality. It was brought into existence by ordinary people who took the extraordinary step of assuming responsibility for their own self-government, and who had the audacity to believe they could form a more perfect union simply by acknowledging that all were created equal.

In a few weeks, you’ll have the opportunity to change the future of the 15th District a place we all call home. It is time to change it up and bring new, diverse and holistic leadership to Olympia. We can make it happen by joining forces and encouraging each other to do the right thing and VOTE for the Common Good of the Whole Community!

I respectfully ask for your VOTE for BENGIE AGUILAR for WASHINGTON STATE SENATE-15TH LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT.

Letter written by Bengie Aguilar,

candidate for Washington State Senate,

15th Legislative District

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