Q&A with Mercedes Sánchez, Precinct 2's Sr. Director of Policy & Community Relations
1. Describe your role within Precinct 2.
I am the senior director of policy and community relations, leading two divisions: the policy and the community relations team. I like to think of these areas as the heart and brains of the Precinct 2 organization.
I work with our policy advisors to develop the strategic goals for their respective policy areas and ensure our initiatives align with Commissioner Garcia's vision. I'm also responsible for overseeing the Commissioners Court, from reviewing and submitting agenda items to advocating for Commissioner Garcia's priority items.
For the community relations team, we work very closely with the community on two fronts: 1) understanding the community's needs and 2) letting the community know how Commissioners Garcia's Office positively impacts Precinct 2. We meet our constituents where they are and ensure we provide or connect them to their needed resources.
2. What has been a significant milestone for you during your time at Precinct 2.
My most significant milestone has been launching Employ2Empower. It is not just because I got to join Commissioner Garcia at the White House to present the program (which was an unforgettable once-in-a-lifetime experience, where Dr. Biden walked in front of me and smiled!). It's because of this program's real-life transformative impacts on the participants. Hearing their stories and learning how their paths have changed because of this opportunity is why we do this work.
I am grateful for having a job that allows me the flexibility to create a program from scratch and see it through from inception to implementation. Seeing this program expand countywide has been another significant milestone in the next phase of this program.
Mercedes standing near the White House in July 2022. She joined Commissioner Garcia for a presentation on Employ2Empower.
3. What does Women’s History Month mean to you, and how do you celebrate it?
It reminds me to strive for greatness and fight for a better world for my daughter. During this month, we remember the great trailblazers who came before us, who have been exceptional, opened doors for all of us, and left a mark in history. We all should feel empowered to improve things, whether big or small. As far as how I celebrate it, my daughter has a book called “Dream Big Little One” which features trailblazing women in American history, and it has been in our rotation this month.
4. Who is a woman who inspires you and why?
Many women inspire me, from Frida Kahlo for her originality and unwillingness to bend to society's expectations to Dolores Huerta for her fearless advocacy efforts to improve gender equality and fair labor practices (did I mention I met her in college?!). Of course, there's also U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who comes from humble beginnings and is the first and only Latino to serve on the highest court in the country. But the woman that has inspired me and had the most impact on my life has been my maternal grandmother. I don't know how to describe her, but she was a woman far ahead of her time. She was smart, independent, savvy, fearless, hardworking, determined, and tenacious; there wasn’t a problem she couldn't fix. She was also extremely generous, compassionate, thoughtful, and loving. I know I get my grit from her. I wouldn't be where I am without her, not just because of her active role in raising me but because of her example of living a life with passion, love, and perseverance.
5. What advice can you offer women in college who would like to pursue a career in public policy?
Get involved! Volunteer, be an active community member, be curious, and keep up on current events. Public policy is a problem-solving tool. The more you understand your community and the issues they face, the better you will know how to address and solve those problems.