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Yesli Vega, a Hispanic and the newly selected Republican nominee to represent Virginia’s 7th Congressional District, says she is frustrated over efforts by the Democratic Party to pander to the Hispanic community and insists Democrats have “lost touch” with voters seeking change.
Vega, a longtime law enforcement officer in the state, spoke to Fox News Digital Wednesday, the day after her primary victory, about her mission heading into the general election and why she believes Hispanics are beginning to side with some ideas being offered by Republican candidates in several races across the country.
“You have a Democrat Party that has completely lost touch with the Hispanic community,” Vega said.
“The Hispanic community is a community that has showed time again how resilient they are.
“They are hard workers and many have fled their native countries to come here to America to seek better opportunities not just for themselves, but for their children, for their families. Some folks have escaped socialism.”
Vega warned against proponents of socialism — like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. — saying it’s “eye-opening” to speak with individuals who have yet to understand certain problems taking place in countries like Nicaragua, a place Vega said is now operated by a dictator.
“This is something that the Hispanic community overwhelmingly rejects,” she said. “And look at our communities and how crime is skyrocketing.”
Describing the difficulties faced by her parents, who she said fled from El Salvador amid a civil war in the country, Vega said she is “frightened” to hear what the Democratic Party has to offer.
“To see what today’s Democrat Party has become, it really has frightened not just me and my family, but Hispanic families across the United States,” Vega said. “The Hispanic community loves America because America is the land that has given them opportunity. … So when you see a country that you love being attacked and going in the wrong direction, people are putting their foot down, and they’re saying ‘no more.'”
Vega said the Republican Party continues to “deliver on the American dream and the American promise” and insisted that’s one reason why so many Hispanic voters are beginning to elect Republicans.
During her time as chairwoman for the Glenn Youngkin campaign’s Latino outreach program, Vega suggested she, as a Republican, was able to gain new ground with the Hispanic community.
“What we saw exceeded my expectations,” she said. “We talked about the issues that really matter to people, and we were able to connect with them. At the end of the day, it comes down to folks realizing that you have a Democrat Party that panders to the Hispanic community, but literally, literally, makes efforts to change our language by using terms such as Latinx, despite the fact that the majority of Hispanics do not identify with that term and reject it.”
Describing Hispanics, Vega said, “We are naturally folks that believe in conservative principles, and it’s now or never.
“We’re not just a group that cares about immigration,” she added. “We care about education, we care about the safety of our communities, we care about jobs, the cost of living. And we certainly care about ensuring that America continues to be the America that they know and love.”
Vega said she still gets “choked up” when she sees an American flag flying in the wind and insisted “there’s no other country like America.” The U.S. is “near-perfect” in terms of working toward a greater goal, she said.
“So many brave men and women have died for our freedoms, and it’s time we remember what we’re all about,” she said, adding that she has “worked hard for everything” she has gotten in life.
Vega was asked why she believes crime is on the rise and how she will work to combat illegal activity if elected to Congress.
“It comes to failed leadership, you know, even at the local level,” said Vega, who began her law enforcement career as a street cop with the City of Alexandria’s Police Department.
“When you have a Democrat majority, whether its in the general assembly or the Senate, what we’ve seen happening these last few years has been the weakening of laws … literally tying law enforcement officers’ hands behind their back, where criminals are getting away with committing crimes and not facing any consequences.”
Vega said the actions being taken against criminals is “fostering a generation that thinks they can break the law, do what they please and that there will be no consequences to face.”
In the November general election, Vega, whose brother nearly lost his life to violence from MS-13 gang members, will face off against incumbent Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-Va., who has represented the state’s 7th District in Congress since 2019.
Vega said Spanberger is not only “aligned with Biden,” but she has “been right there holding Nancy Pelosi’s hand” as certain controversial measures made it through the House.
“I’m a facts and data-driven person and, at the end of the day, Abigail Spanberger can say she is all things and use flowery language and think she’s going to continue to fool voters in the 7th District, but people aren’t buying it,” Vega said. “People in her own party aren’t buying it, and they’re tired of her failed leadership.”