Yvanna-Cancela Nevada State Senator Yvanna Cancela.
Image via DNC TV

They said it was going to be a different kind of keynote at the Democratic National Convention Tuesday night, and that’s what they delivered.

Instead of one keynote speaker, there were 17 of what DNC organizers called “the next generation of party leaders” from around the country. “This is a different kind of convention, and this is a different kind of keynote,” the speakers said in unison.

The high-energy, 10-minute video mashup featured state representatives, mayors, the Navajo Nation president, members of congress, and Stacey Abrams, who lost her race for governor of George in 2018. She was a top contender as Biden’s running mate.

Also featured were three up-and-coming Latino politicians, who had one main message. “There is one person that is looking out for us — all of us,” they said in unison. “And that is Joe Biden.”

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Victoria Neave, Texas State Representative

Victoria Neave is a Texas State Representative for District 107 in Dallas County, Texas. This champion for women, mothers, and rape victims in the Lone Star State made it clear in her keynote speech that “in Texas, we’re standing up for fierce women like my mom and my tías who raised me to never back down from a tough fight.”

Rep. Victoria Neave (D-TX)
Image via DNC TV

The 39-year-old attorney believes the Biden/Harris ticket will give mothers the attention they need. “So we’re fighting to make sure that mothers have access to health screening for safe pregnancies and childbirth,” she told the DNC audience.

During her term in the Texas House of Representatives, Neave has passed 16 bills into law, including the Lavinia Masters Act to tackle the backlog of thousands of untested rape kits in Texas. “And we’re bringing long-overdue justice to survivors of sexual assault,” she said in her keynote speech.

Neave told The Americano Tuesday night that being one of the keynote speakers was a proud moment for her and her family and all of Texas. “Americans and the world watched history being made tonight. As a Latina and the daughter of immigrants, and as a descendant of generations of tough Texas women, I’m proud to play a part in it.” 

Robert García, Mayor of Long Beach, Calif.

Robert García, 42, who is currently serving as the 28th mayor of Long Beach, took center stage in the virtual montage of keynotes attacking President Trump. “When we are facing the biggest economic and health crisis in generations because our president didn’t and still doesn’t have a plan,” the mayor said.  

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García was born in Lima, Peru. He was 5 years old when his mother, Gaby O’Donnell, came to the U.S. She worked odd jobs to support the family, and she eventually became a health care worker. On July 26, she died from complications of COVID-19, and on Aug. 9, his stepfather, Greg O’Donnell, also died of the virus. 

Through his grief, García has continued to conduct city business and campaign for the Biden/Harris campaign. He told his Twitter followers that his mother is his guide. “My mom always said that we will never be able to give back to this country, what this country has given us.”

García has a special connection to Kamala Harris, the Democratic nominee for vice president. On Twitter, he said that Sen. Harris had been there for him during important parts of his life as a gay man. “In 2004, as a closeted gay man, I saw Kamala Harris marry gay couples on TV. In 2014 as our city’s first gay mayor, I was sworn into office by Kamala Harris. In 2019 I traveled the country to campaign on her behalf. Today I get to watch her accept our nomination for VP.”

Yvanna Cancela, Nevada State Senator

The Democrats also look to Nevada State Sen. Yvanna Cancela as another powerful young voice for the party. The Cuban American became the first Latina in the Nevada State Senate in 2017. 

“Donald Trump just doesn’t understand. We can’t fix our economy until we get a hold of the virus,” Cancela said in her keynote. The 33-year-old understands the impact of COVID-19 on families. She has been an advocate for unions, workers, and immigrants. She was the former director of the Culinary Workers Union in Nevada, and is now the executive director of the Immigrant Workers Citizen Project.

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Cancela made it clear in her keynote that affordable medication for those in need is a priority. “In Nevada, we’re making drug prices more transparent. So people with chronic illnesses won’t go broke while drug companies get rich.” 

The state senator told The Americano that she was honored to represent Nevada as part of the keynote. “This is such an important election, and as Democrats come together across America to nominate Joe Biden, I’m proud to have had a role in it.”

Cancela added that Latino voters may be the deciding factor on whether Joe Biden becomes the next president of the United States. “Latinos have the power to decide this election and fundamentally change the direction of our country,” she told The Americano. “Registering to vote, volunteering, talking to friends and neighbors, those are the things we can do to make sure we put an end to Trump’s destruction of our communities.”