With local elections right around the corner, if you’re like most Dallasites, you want the best of the best to represent us and our beloved city. This is no easy task. It takes someone who is not only accomplished and experienced, but also someone who is committed to bettering our community. Someone that embraces our city’s diversity, who can be the voice not just for Latinos, but anyone from all walks of life and backgrounds. According to Monica Alonzo, with her lifelong history in politics, numerous recognitions, and several city and state and office appointments, she intends to continue doing just that.
IDFW: Please tell us a little about your background politics and public service.
Monica Alonzo: I’ve been involved in politics since I was 11 years old. My first out-of-town campaign I did as a volunteer was when I was 15. I did a statewide campaign when I was a little bit over 18. I had the opportunity to not only serve the City of Dallas in the capacity that I have now, but I have been able to serve the neighborhood as a Precinct Chair and other areas as a State Democratic Executive Committee member. There are 31 senates and every senate district has two representatives. I was one of the 23rd senatorial district, which is huge because it is a statewide position. I was also a coordinator for the Clinton campaign back in ‘92 for the ’93 election. I served as one of the volunteers to help with the Hispanic Gala for the ’93 Inauguration in Washington DC. I am a member of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials. Currently I am councilmember for District 6 as well as the Mayor Pro-Tem for the City of Dallas. A Mayor Pro-Tem is basically the vice-president of the president when the president is not in. This is my third term in a fourth term consecutive process. We won in 2011 and in 2013. At that time I was unanimously voted in as the Deputy Mayor Pro Tem for the City of Dallas. In 2015 we ran with 3 opponents and I won with 82% of the vote. Then after we got sworn in, I was nominated and elected by the council unanimously again as the Mayor Pro Tem for the City of Dallas. So, we earned that position.
IDFW: What’s your main goal for the City of Dallas?
MA: That we will ALL be able to not only respect each other, but to also include, inform and invite everyone. To treat everybody the same. My second goal is to ensure that everyone is a part of and feels a sense of ownership with this city. This city hall belongs to you. You are the one that runs this.
IDFW: As a Latina in public office, did you ever have roadblocks?
MA: I am very proud not only to be a mujer, but to be a Latina, a mother, a sister and especially a daughter and to be able to share that with all the mujeres and that it can be done. My mother taught me two things. First, the only way you’re going to know something is if you ask. It doesn’t cost you anything. This is very important if you ever want to get to where you want. Second, she taught me -in Spanish- De todos modos el mundo va a rodar. Y hay que rodar con el. That’s exactly where I’ve been working from to be able to get to where I am. It took me over 22 years to decide to run for a position. For the most part, it was because for a long time, poli- tics was considered a “man’s world”. I proved them wrong in many instances. In order for us to make a difference, it starts at the table. We have to be at the table to be a part of those decisions. We need to make sure we have minorities and Latinas that can speak for our communities. We need them to be representatives for our city, to be in public office positions, and also in management roles. We have the same education and knowledge as everyone else, so why are we not being considered? We need the talent and experience to be a part of the decisions being made.
IDFW: What do you love most about Dallas?
MA: The engagement with the community. Getting the opportunity to meet people who has been here for a very long time. For example, we recently lost a great man, Felix Lozada Sr., whom we named the Gateway after. At his age, he still rode a bike, golfed and danced. He continuously fought for the community. Those are the people that give me that encouragement. I can tell you that has given me more strength to carry on as a representative of this community. I value their experiences and their ways of living and how we can better help them. Also, this is where my daughter was born, all the work I’ve done has been to give her a better life.
IDFW: What would be your advice for someone who wants to serve in public office?
MA: If you want it, go get it.