The statistics aren’t good. According to recent estimates, women make up just under 20 percent of Congress and less than 25 percent of all state legislatures. Only six of our nation’s governors are women. But we are 51 percent of the population. And the research shows that when women participate in government, we make it run better, more collaboratively. Historically, women have needed to be convinced to enter politics. But within weeks of the 2016 presidential election, thousands of women announced they plan to run. And we want them to win. So we’re giving them a weekly example of a woman who has run and won. The point: You can, too.

Blanca Rubio had to go the distance to get where she is now—all the way from Juarez, Mexico. Rubio first ran for office in 1997, elected to the Valley Country Water District and a member for two full terms. Since then, she’s been a classroom teacher, school board president, and a passionate advocate for ESL students. In 2016, she was elected to the California State Assembly, representing the 48th district. According to the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, she is the first immigrant to represent the heavily Latino area in recent memory.

I was born in Mexico; my family came up to the United States when I was eight. We’d been here once before, earlier than that; we’d come to Texas and we were deported. That first time, we’d moved because my dad was in construction. He was a bracero at the time; he was building a bridge in Port Arthur, Texas. We didn’t speak the language at all. When we were in school, they didn’t know what to do with us. I remember we were the only non-white kids in the area. All the teachers just put us in the corner to color, but young minds learn quickly. I was picking up English, but not at a very high level. When I would try to participate in the class, the teacher would just move me back to the corner. I guess she decided I couldn’t keep up or she wanted to keep me occupied. During that time, my dad was working, and he didn’t have the proper documentation to work. He was caught, and we were deported. I was probably around six or seven. I had no idea what was going on. I just remember my dad saying, “Let’s pack up our things. We’re leaving.” We moved back around two years later.