Marilinda Garcia is a young Hispanic state representative in New Hampshire who recently announced her candidacy for a competitive congressional seat. Upon which she was subject to a nasty attack by a colleague, dismissing her as a clone of another conservative in the state but in “stilettos,” then comparing her to celebrity Kim Kardashian.
In truth – as John Fund noted earlier this week in “The War on Conservative Minorities” — Garcia, in her fourth term in the statehouse, is considered a rising star in the party; she’s an accomplished harp player who has also earned a master’s from Harvard’s Kennedy School. In an interview with National Review Online’s Kathryn Jean Lopez, she speaks for herself about the attack, women in politics, and the future of America.KATHRYN JEAN LOPEZ:
What did you ever do to Peter Sullivan, who compared you to TMZ favorite Kim Kardashian, among other dismissals? Did you ever expect to be compared to her?
MARILINDA GARCIA: I do not know Sullivan personally, but I hope he finds peace. I think it’s unfortunate that women — whether they are Democrats like Hillary Clinton or conservatives like me – are often being evaluated by a different set of criteria that has nothing to do with our policy positions or how we would govern. This is not an issue I’m preoccupied with. I’m focused on what’s important to New Hampshire families: developing our economy to provide good-paying jobs and repealing Obamacare, which has done more harm to working-class New Hampshire than the president will acknowledge. But if running in this race helps show conservative young women that we do have a prominent place in the party, then that’s a positive.
LOPEZ: Has making national headlines presented some beneficial opportunities?
GARCIA: I am grateful for the opportunity to spread my message of new-generation conservatism — a message of respect that empowers a free people and free enterprise. However, it is a shame that those concepts must be communicated under headlines about a salacious reality-TV personality and personal attacks in the political sphere.
LOPEZ: Do women have it harder — is the criticism harsher or crasser — in politics?
GARCIA: I think we are subject to different frames of reference, criticism, and attacks than men are, especially when it comes to appearance. To me, the most unfortunate by-product of such personal attacks and vitriol is it discourages good people — and women in particular — from getting involved in politics; causes citizens to be disgusted at the political process; and tarnishes the reputations of all elected officials by virtue of association. And it distracts us from the issues that really matter: Do my children have access to a quality education? Can we count on a steady income from a good job? Will I have affordable health insurance or will it be canceled due to the president’s health-care law? These are serious questions that unfortunately do not always receive the attention they deserve.
LOPEZ: What draws you to public service?
GARCIA: My experience in the state House of Representatives taught me that what we do in government matters, and the interaction between federal and state governments is key. I have been able to sponsor legislation relating to regulatory reform in the health-care sector, development of the innovation economy and the high-tech industry, and pricing transparency in health-care services because I work closely with business leaders and citizens with the same goal of developing New Hampshire’s economy for the long term in areas that are important for our state. That opened my eyes that those closest to the citizens and challenges New Hampshire faces know how to best find solutions to those challenges. I want to be a part of solving our common problems, and for me that required getting involved and running in this race to prevent an adversarial federal government from wreaking havoc on our state budget and policies.
LOPEZ: You’re a musician. Does that prepare one for politics in any interesting ways?
GARCIA: Yes, in that communicating a message that resonates with people is the goal of both a campaign and a musical performance. You have to be prepared, yet be adaptable and ready for the unexpected, while being inspired and seemingly effortless. And while most of the work occurs off the stage, you’re judged on what occurs on the stage.