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Law Student Speaks at DNC

09/20/12
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Alejandra Salinas, national president of the College Democrats of America, during her address to the Democratic National Convention.

By Kathleen Sullivan | Chronicle Staff

Published: Sept. 20, 2012

Just hours before President Barack Obama officially accepted his party’s nomination and spoke at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, NC, earlier this month, first-year Law School student Alejandra Salinas appeared on that same stage before the largest gathering of Democrats in the country.

“Some people say young people aren’t excited about this election,” Salinas told the audience. “That it isn’t about us. But the decisions made over the next four years will affect us more than anyone.”

Salinas was there in her role as national president of the College Democrats of America (CDA), a position she was unanimously elected to in 2010. She is the first Latina to hold that office.

The convention was a whirlwind of activity for Salinas, who also addressed the Democratic National Committee’s Hispanic Caucus and Women’s Caucus. She did media interviews with outlets such as USA Today, PBS, CNN, MTV, Politico, Huffington Post, Telemundo, Univision and the Los Angeles Times, among many others.

Her convention speech was the “obvious” highlight of her week, recalled Salinas. “Walking out onto that stage and feeling the energy, sharing the excitement, and getting a positive reception, was incredible,” she said.

Salinas, a native of Laredo, Tex., said her interest in politics was sparked during her sophomore year of high school when debate about immigration reform took center stage in the US. Raised in a Republican household that was not politically active, she nonetheless organized with her classmates a school-wide walkout to protest the proposed legislation.

“I realized that even at age 15, you can have an impact. And today, I feel it is so important for my generation to be engaged.”

A 2012 graduate of the University of Texas-Austin, Salinas has served the CDA at the chapter, state and national levels. Politics Daily has named her one of “Five Rising Stars Age 25 and Under.”

Through the CDA, Salinas has had the opportunity to meet President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, as well as Vice President Joe Biden. According to Salinas, her most special encounter with a DC public figure was when she met Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor while attending a White House Christmas party. “She is a role model for all Latinas,” said Salinas.

While Salinas said she has not ruled out political office in the future, she is interested in being a prosecutor. “I worked in a district attorney’s office this summer and I could see doing that work for the rest of my life.”

As for now, Salinas said, “I’m excited to be a regular law student.”

Listen to Salinas’ Democratic National Convention address: http://www.c-spanvideo.org/clip/3873615