CLEVELAND, Ohio — Jasmin Santana didn’t apprehend she had been adopted to Cleveland Burghal Board until the morning afterwards Election Day.
The chase was potentially too abutting to call, and so Santana went to bed.
“When I heard the news… it candidly was still biconcave in. I couldn’t accept that all my adamantine assignment had paid off,” Santana said in an interview.
In acquisition bounden Area 14 Councilman Brian Cummins, Santana, who accommodated a community-outreach position with the non-profit Hispanic Alliance in August, came out victorious in a able-bodied attack that typifies the added pugilistic aspects of Cleveland’s politics. Santana’s attack was accurate by a bounded Democratic area club baton who’d almost absent to Cummins eight years before, authoritative her antagonism array of a proxy animosity match.
Santana, 38, now is assertive to become Cleveland’s aboriginal Latina councilwoman, apery the burghal area with the accomplished absorption of Latino voters. Cleveland.com sat bottomward with her to ask her about her priorities and the access she will booty aback she takes appointment in the new year.
Here are some of the questions we asked, and her answers. They accept been edited for accuracy and brevity:
You were a first-time candidate. What did you apprentice from the campaign, and why do you anticipate it got so nasty?
I anticipate there was a lot of history from aback in the days, from the bodies who ran before. What I abstruse is that backroom can be appealing dirty. However, I additionally abstruse that you accept to break focused. You can’t augment into aggregate that bodies are throwing at you, or what the media says. You accept to bethink why you ran and what you’re doing.
For me, it was consistently about active for the people, and for my ancestors that lives in the ward. That’s what gave me backbone and kept me affective forward.
How are you advancing to booty office?
Right now, what we’re accomplishing is basic a board of accepted association in the ward, bodies who appetite to be complex on a college level. I’m calling nonprofits and businesses, extensive out to them to apprentice about how they serve our community. I’m additionally speaking to Burghal Board bodies to see if they can advice coach me.
You are Cleveland’s aboriginal Latina Burghal Board member. What is the acceptation of that in your mind?
It agency alarming adolescent women, basically assuming them no bulk what — I apperceive that Latinos accept a lot of struggles, including the accent barrier, the apprenticeship arrangement and added amusing determinants that they face. But I was able to go through that and still affected those challenges.
This agency a lot to our community, to accompany those issues to the tables of Burghal Hall. With the Puerto Rico hurricane, a lot of Puerto Ricans are brief actuality to Area 14. So I’m activity to be that articulation and fill the gaps of the needs of those who are affective here, as able-bodied as those who already are here.
Ward 14 has one of the everyman voter-turnout ante in the state. What do you plan to do to advance borough accord amid the association of your ward, decidedly the Hispanic association for whom the accent or cultural barrier ability be an issue?
I will acquaint you that in Puerto Rico, backroom is huge. They abutting the businesses and schools so you can go out to vote. They accept huge rallies. That’s not the way campaigns are done up here. We absolutely did a rally, and the adjacency was not accessible because it was so loud.
But I anticipate by me assuming them how important it is to accept a Latino articulation in Burghal Hall, aloof to accomplish abiding they accept if you aren’t at the table, you’re not eating.
How do you anticipate alive with your approaching Burghal Board colleagues, including Board President Kevin Kelley?
The acceptable affair is I appear in with beginning eyes and no baggage, no bad history or annihilation like that. I’m advancing in aloof like aback you alpha a new job. You charge to get to apperceive your colleagues, apprentice what their passions are and get to apperceive them. Once I do that, bottomward the band I can get a bigger faculty of who I’m activity to be alive with.
How do you appearance your role as a board affiliate aback it comes to because whether to abutment or argue proposals from the mayor’s office?
First of all, it has to be article that’s activity to account the association of Area 14. It’s not activity to be a one-person accommodation — I’m activity to accept an advising accumulation to advice us adjudge what’s best.
Now I will acquaint you, if it’s not article that’s activity to account our association and it’s activity to accumulate us in this alone atmosphere, I accept to allege up for our residents. Because that’s why I absitively to run. We’re stuck. We’re not affective forward. And we can’t abide the aforementioned way that we’ve been.
Surrounding neighborhoods accept apparent a cogent bulk of development, but Area 14 has lagged behind. Where do you see the greatest areas of potential?
So, as you know, the communities about us are actuality developed. Ohio City, Tremont, they’ve got their coffee shops, they accept their restaurants, their businesses, their parks. I appetite to accomplish abiding that additionally Area 14 gets developed in that way. We appetite coffee shops, we appetite restaurants.
La Villa Hispana [a long-discussed “Hispanic Town” cultural development] and El Mercado [a planned Hispanic-owned business incubator] are activity to be huge, and some below bake-apple that I absolutely appetite to assignment to accomplish happen. Because we’ve been talking about them for so abounding years.
I appetite to accomplish abiding to acknowledgment calls and accomplish abiding that alleys are actuality bankrupt up, potholes are actuality abounding and these alone homes are actuality helped.
Any added goals?
I appetite to accomplish abiding to body community, and accumulate association engaged. I appetite to accomplish abiding we accept a park. I apperceive there is a blooming amplitude articular about West 73rd and Dennison. I appetite to accomplish abiding that that comes into comedy and becomes a reality.
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