Rep. Ricky Hurtado, newly-elected NC House member and changemaker

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In 2020, running for office in North Carolina’s House District 63 as a Democrat was not easy. A solidly Republican district in eastern Alamance County, he was running against a Republican incumbent. Hurtado nonetheless won his race with 50.6% of the vote, becoming the first Latino to be elected to the North Carolina General Assembly as a Democrat, in a year when Democrats saw fewer legislative victories than many had predicted.

Endorsements from former President Obama and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) are uncommon in state races, but Hurtado is an uncommon elected official. Raised in rural North Carolina by El Salvadorian immigrant parents, he attended UNC-Chapel Hill and Princeton University. Soon thereafter, he became an instructor at UNC-Chapel Hill and director of a first-generation college students and immigrant families educational opportunities program.

In Hearsay Culture fashion, we dug deep into the hard unexplored realities that make up our lives in 2021, translating them for a wide audience. Hurtado, as an intelligent and rising expert in state policymaking and representation, was a perfect guest for this task. For this interview, we focused on Hurtado’s experience growing up in rural North Carolina, Alamance County’s unsettling amount of racist acts and conflicts, the challenges of being in the political minority in the NC House, as well as the first elected Latino NC House Democrat, why inequality is his focus, and his take on the identifier “Latino.”

We hope that you enjoy the interview and consider making a donation to our Indiegogo campaign! [Disclosure: The host, Dave Levine, made a personal low double-digit donation to Hurtado’s 2020 effort].

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