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Virginia AFSCME Member in Spotlight for State of the Union

Photos by Amanda Maglione
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Virginia AFSCME Member in Spotlight for State of the Union
Elizabeth Guzman

Virginia delegate and AFSCME member Elizabeth Guzman will be in the spotlight tonight after the State of the Union address, as she delivers the Democratic Party’s Spanish-language response to the president’s speech.

Guzman, one of the first two Latinas to be elected to the Virginia House of Delegates, is a public service worker and member of AFSCME Virginia Local 3001. She works for the City of Alexandria as division chief in the Department of Community and Human Services, helping people with mental illnesses, intellectual disabilities and substance use disorder.

As a member of the Virginia House of Delegates, Guzman represents the state’s 31st legislative district, which covers portions of Prince William County and Fauquier County in Northern Virginia. She was elected last November, when Democratic voters in Virginia sent a strong message of repudiation to the Trump administration.

When House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi called Guzman to ask her if she would deliver the party’s Spanish-language response to the State of the Union address, the Virginia delegate and AFSCME member was thrilled.

As she thought about what to say, her mind was drawn to “all hard-working Virginians that sometimes feel that they don’t belong to this country,” she told The Washington Post. “Many times the president makes statements making us think that the American profile is for somebody who looks like him, and anybody else is beneath him. He belittles minorities any time he has the opportunity. And it’s sad because this was a nation of immigrants … and I think this is what made this nation the greatest in the world.”

At a time when immigrants and public service workers are under attack, Guzman’s will be an opportunity to make her voice heard loud and clear. Her remarks, which have already been recorded, will be broadcast with English subtitles.

“It’s a little fire, a little spice in it,” she also told the Post. “I’m usually a little feisty when I speak, but this one when I watched it, I was like, ‘Oh, my gosh!’ I was into it!”