When Lucy Flores was 13 years old and sitting in a detention cell at juvenile hall, she never thought that one day she would be the Nevada’s first Latina state assemblywoman. She’d been running with gangs, breaking curfew and running away from home. But the mentorship of some tough-minded adults got her focused on bigger things.
Now 31, Flores represents Assembly District 28 in the northeast part of the Valley. She emerged from the challenges of her youth to graduate from USC and went on to earn a law degree last year from UNLV. When she works with kids today, encouraging them never to give up, she speaks with the authority of a person who has lived what she’s talking about.
Flores—who recently started Latino Strategies, a media and marketing firm—enters this year’s Legislature ready to face some of the toughest questions in the history of the state. With a budget hole estimated at $3 billion, the state has to find a way to reduce costs while maintaining crucial services. She knows that the decisions made in Carson City this year will impact today’s troubled 13-year-old kids trying to put their lives back together.
As the challenges in Carson City unfold, Flores has made it a priority to keep in close touch with her constituents back home.
“I strive to talk to regular folks every single day—don’t treat me differently,” Flores says. “I feel like that’s part of the reason why politics and elected officials tend to get disconnected from their community—people tend to treat us differently. The day after I was elected, people were calling me ‘Assemblywoman.’ No! Just call me Lucy.”