A Boricua living in Florida is glad to be part of the electoral process this year, amid the issues brought upon by the pandemic.
This is the fourth episode of our “Calladitas No More” video series where we talk to young Latina voters about what motivates them to vote in the upcoming US election.
Amanda Ortega remembers well the first feelings politics stirred up in her. She was 16, and her parents constantly watched the news, and debates between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, during the presidential campaign for that year’s election.
“Even though I wasn’t able to vote, having Trump as a person running for president got me interested and actually made me want to watch the debates,” Ortega remembered. “Definitely, 2016 was a huge moment for politics in my eyes. I would just be shocked by the things I heard.”
Ortega, who lives in Kissimmee, Florida with her family, voted for the first time this year. She said she found the voting by mail process to be “very easy,” and is glad to be able to participate in the election, especially during the coronavirus pandemic.
Because of the pandemic, Ortega and her siblings decided to not attend college this semester. She has a 22-year-old brother, Alejandro, and an 18-year-old sister, Isabel. In January, the young Puerto Rican plans to resume her liberal arts studies at Valencia College in Orlando. In the meantime, she spends her time dedicated to composing music and cooking, which she loves.
Born in Florida to Puerto Rican parents, Ortega said she has witnessed her parents struggle—living far from the rest of the family, raising three kids, and holding two or three jobs at the same time.
She is convinced her vote will have an impact on the lives of many, including her loved ones in Puerto Rico. Her maternal grandparents live on the island.
“I love my grandparents—they are the ones I care about the most in Puerto Rico,” Ortega said. “They are my close relatives who live there. I really hope [the US government] takes care of Puerto Rico, because at the end of the day they treat Puerto Rico like it’s just land, and they don’t care about the people in it.”
She thinks Joe Biden is an honest candidate because of his work as vice president during the Obama era. Ortega relates to the Democratic candidate’s proposals, such as increasing the minimum wage and decriminalizing cannabis. She is also convinced that the important thing is for Trump not to remain as president.
“The whole point of voting for Biden is he is not Donald Trump,” Ortega said. “Trump is the devil—the worst thing in the world. Joe Biden gives hope to people.”