Ortega is an economist, professor, powerlifter and hopes to soon add California lieutenant governor to the list. A firm believer in the power of the individual and the value of education, Ortega wishes to take her role as advocate for students to the state capitol. Salvatore Maxwell reports.
We are at Ortega’s office in the economics department where her busy schedule teaching and running a campaign keeps her moving from one place to the next.
During her time as economics department chair at San Jose State, Ortega has seen firsthand the difficulties students face paying for school and working with limited resources.
“I don’t underestimate what the trustees know but sometimes they need to hear a story about what has happened to the students and where they’re being hurt the most on this.” 0:43
She plans to spend a big part of her time voicing student’s concerns if she is elected lieutenant governor.
“That means going to the campuses. Going up and down California and both listening and talking to constituents to tell them what’s going on in Sacramento and to take their concerns back to Sacramento.” 0:17
Ortega recognizes that it will not be possible to achieve her goals at the state legislature level without compromise.
“I had training on that since I was a child.” 1:22
Mediating the arguments between her republican mother and her democratic father taught Ortega the art of compromise.
“They fought a lot and I was the peacemaker. I was the one that found the common ground.” 1:29
Her parent’s arguments allowed Ortega to understand two different political views but it was neither her mom nor dad that influenced her decision to register as a republican.
“What made me think about a particular party was Milton Friedman.” 2:45
Ortega was in college when she first heard the Nobel prize-winning economist’s ideas about the free market.
“I said I agree with this. I agree with the rational thinking, with the logic that he’s presenting and then I looked for the party that supported that agreement and that would have been the republican party.”
Ortega has never let anything stop her from pursuing something she wanted. She admits feeling defeated at times when things like sexism threatened to put her behind but she did not let it stop her.
“I pulled myself up by my bootstraps.” 13:34
The run for lieutenant governor is just another challenge Ortega is ready to take.