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Young Mother and Community Leader Runs to Lift Community Voices

Jewel+Hurtado+with+her+son+and+community+members.
Jewel Hurtado with her son and community members.

Jewel Hurtado with her son and community members.

Photo by: Photo courtesy of Jewel Hurtado's press team

Photo by: Photo courtesy of Jewel Hurtado's press team

Jewel Hurtado with her son and community members.

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The time was 9:06 a.m. on a Tuesday.

Jewel Hurtado answers the phone, the chatter of her younger brother and her infant son in the background.

Hurtado, 20 is a busy woman, she balances her academic career at Fresno City College, a political campaign, and motherhood, all in the span of a day.

It would seem like a busy day to most, but to Hurtado, this is taking it easy.

Jewel Hurtado is running for a seat on Kingsburg’s District One City Council to promote a more unified Kingsburg community, not only for the people of Kingsburg, but for her son.

“When I first started this, I was still pregnant with my son,” Hurtado said. “Once the campaign officially started, my son was 4 months old. Now he is 7 months,”

Hurtado says that learning to be a mom and a leader at the same time has been very important to her in her campaign, “The roles seem to go hand in hand to me.”

As she proceeds with her race for the district seat, Hurtado has gained support from other mothers in and outside of her community.

“It’s been an awesome experience,” Hurtado says, “to see other young mothers and people of this community come together like this,”

Her priority is to create safer streets through communication throughout the Kingsburg community.

“We want to create clean and safe spaces for the people and children to grow,” Hurtado said. “We’re not just here for the election. We’re also here to promote a sense of community.”

The three ideals that Hurtado’s campaign focuses on are: community, voices and values.

“To me, it’s important to get as many people’s voices heard, whether you’re a grandparent or child,” she said.

Hurtado is 20 years old and has garnered much support from a younger voter populace.

“Over 50 percent of the community in Kingsburg is younger and Latino,” she said. “I believe I’ve gotten so much of the community’s support because I am a part of both of those demographics.”

However, Hurtado and her campaign have hit some hurdles along the way when it comes to communication with the Kingsburg community.

“Some people of this community tell us that they don’t always see their neighbors as friendly. I hope with the message promoted in this campaign, we can change that view.”

To help spread these messages of community, the Central Labor Council and National Women’s Political Caucus of Fresno have also pledged their support for Hurtado’s campaign.

Alex Ramos-O’Casey, mentor, consultant and close friend to Hurtado, said that the campaign showed her that, “anyone with enough determination can run.”

Ramos-O’Casey says the register forced Hurtado to be labeled as “mother” for job description, instead of “community organizer.”

Ramos-O’Casey also said that Hurtado’s grandparents worked alongside American labor and civil rights activists Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta.

As supporters of Hurtado say, this family connection is shown throughout Hurtado’s campaign and the way Hurtado values the people of her community.

“The same streets I learned to ride my bike on. I don’t just want to win an election,” Hurtado said of her neighborhood. “I want to help bring Kingsburg into the thriving community I know it can be.”

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About the Writer
Gage Carmichael, Reporter

May third 1996 Fresno California: the day life began, at least for Gage Carmichael. He had a humble upbringing growing up in a single household with only his father. No matter what struggles went on his father’s life, Gage had no clue.

Gage had a childhood filled with Star Wars and music, and to him that was all he really needed. Fast forward a few years, he is now 22-years-old and enrolled at Fresno City College.

As a first generation college student, school was not easily digested. He went from Reedley to Clovis Community and now to here trying to figure his future out. He started off as an engineering major being well aware of his dislike for numbers. His courses were filled up by the humanities which should have been his first clue, but Gage was insistent he could go through with engineering.

It was not until his first communications class that he realized his passion and full potential. He felt communications made sense to him, and his dad’s voice in his head reminded him “it is not work if you love it.” Gage is now pursing his degree in mass communications for public relations.

Aside from school, Gage has kept his interests in music and Star Wars; however, his tastes have grown. He enjoys traveling in search of good music and coffee. Enjoys shopping and keeping up with trends. The most impactful things in his life are his indulgences for photography, reading, and writing.

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Young Mother and Community Leader Runs to Lift Community Voices