I actually met Ana Quezada at several community events before she ever entered politics. Our paths again crossed on the campaign trail when she was running for the Rhode Island state Senate. I knew she had a tough fight ahead of her, but Ana Quezada is no stranger to a tough fight. She ran a strong and robust campaign, and in 2016 she became the second Latino ever elected to serve in the Rhode Island state Senate!
Once in the Senate, we became fast friends. Senator Quezada and I share a love of the Latino community and a desire to support the Latino community politically, economically and socially. We worked together in support of legislation that would allow hard working and tax paying undocumented individuals to obtain drivers licenses. She and I both shudder and shiver when we see Latinos walking and riding bicycles in the dead of winter. We both understand exactly what is going on. I know Senator Quezada wants to make a positive difference for her constituents and for the entire Latino and Rhode Island community.
Born in “La Capital,” she comes from humble roots in the beautiful Dominican Republic. Her parents hail from el campo outside of La Vega, which lies north of Santo Domingo. She says that her father’s family of the surname Leonardo all began immigrating to the United States in becoming citizens in the 1970s. They then began filing immigration paperwork for many family members still left in the Dominican republic. She is proud to have entered our country legally, coming here over 30 years ago, arriving in Terrytown, New York where she lived for several years, later relocating to Rhode Island. She has three children: Leslie, Kaomie and Emanuel, along with a wonderful husband, Lazaro.
From Sleepy Hollow High School, she went to work in a factory in order to be able to send money back to her mother in the Dominican republic, just saw her mother could survive economically. From her mother to her roots in the Dominican republic to her own experience here in America, Ana knows the struggle of the working poor and the working class. This experience serves her well in her role as a legislator in policymaker.
Join me in the next episode of Que Onda Con Donna to learn more about this interesting, hard working woman whose future looks very bright.
“¿Que Onda? con Donna” can be seen on YurView – Cox Channels 4 and 1004 – Tuesdays at 7:30pm, Wednesdays at 8:30pm, Saturdays at 2:30pm and 8pm.
The author, Donna M. Nesselbush, is a founding partner at Marasco & Nesselbush Law, a Rhode Island State Senator and Municipal Court Judge for the City of Pawtucket. She hosts a Spanish language Saturday morning radio show on Latina 100.3 fm and the “¿Que Onda? con Donna” TV show.