EXCLUSIVE: A chat with Julie Chávez Rodríguez, campaign manager for Biden’s reelection campaign

EXCLUSIVE: A chat with Julie Chávez Rodríguez, campaign manager for Biden’s reelection campaign

El presidente Joe Biden nombró Julie Chávez Rodríguez, nieta de líder sindical del United Farm Workers, César Chávez, directora de campaña para su reelección de 2024. Ella concedió una entrevista exclusiva con este medio de comunicación el viernes 21 de junio de 2024 en la oficina central del partido Demócrata. (Foto Frank Alejandre / The Nevadan / El Nevadense)

By Frank Alejandre

June 25, 2024

Political activist and granddaughter of César Chávez speaks on how the Biden-Harris campaign is working to win the Latino vote in Nevada and the recent executive order aiming to keep immigrant families together. She also touches on how her grandfather and his legacy influences her work.

In an interview with The Nevadan, Julie Chávez Rodríguez, campaign manager  for the Biden-Harris re-election campaign, discussed immigration, issues affecting Nevada’s Latino communities, and the importance of reaching people through social media. 

“It is an honor for me to be able to establish communication with your audience and to be able to talk about the most important issues of this Biden-Harris reelection campaign related to the Latino community of Nevada,” said Chávez Rodríguez, who is the granddaughter of the Latino civil rights leader and farm labor advocate César Chavez.

Chávez Rodríguez is the first Latina to hold such a position in a presidential campaign. Growing up, her parents Linda Chávez and Arturo Rodríguez were union organizers  with the United Farm Workers labor union, and her grandfather, César Chávez, taught her from a very young age the importance of being part of social movements that go beyond the spectrum of human struggle — such as workers’ rights and making Latino voices heard. 

“It is a privilege to have grown up next to one of my mentors, my hero and source of inspiration, not only for me, but throughout the country and beyond,” she said about her origins.

Nevada is one of the key states for the Democratic Party this year and, together with Texas and Arizona, they form a decisive bloc for both President Joe Biden and Republican candidate Donald Trump. Four years ago, Biden beat Trump in Nevada by about 33,500 votes, receiving just over 50% of the vote versus Trump’s 47%. In 2016, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton won Nevada by less than 2.5% over Trump.

Because of Nevada’s purple state status and its diverse population — of which Latinos make up nearly 30% — candidates have realized the weight the state holds in the election process. But what does the Biden-Harris campaign see in Nevada and why should Latinos vote to keep the president in the White House?

“Nevada is an extremely important state on our path to victory in November, we know that we have to connect with the people. In 2020 they were fundamental pieces and we are aware that this time they will help us achieve reelection,” Chávez Rodríguez said, “Latinos are a very important electoral bloc in Nevada. In places like East Las Vegas, and even in Reno, Sparks and Carson City, there are conglomerates of working people who contribute to our economy, to strengthen our community and we will continue working in addressing the issues that most affect them.”

Chávez Rodríguez mentioned that Trump has repeatedly referred to Mexicans and Latinos as rapists and murderers, and referred to a December statement Trump made stating that immigrants are “poisoning the blood of our country.” 

“We know that Biden will continue fighting for Latinos, for their families, while Trump only criminalizes us,” she said.

Biden recently announced an executive order that aims to “keep families together,” allowing undocumented immigrants who have lived in the US for at least a decade and are married to a US citizen to have an easier path to citizenship

“This is an excellent immigration measure that allows many immigrants to be offered the opportunity to live a full and happy life. Giving them the peace of mind that they will not be separated from their families, taking away the fear of deportation,” Chávez Rodríguez said. 

She recalled stories of families not being able to receive permanent residence, or green card, without sacrificing their family because of the requirement that forces residency applicants to return to their home country for 10 years and obtain a pardon. 

“On the other hand, Donald Trump was the architect of family separation. I still remember babies crying, being snatched from their mothers’ arms, locked in cages, in inhumane conditions,” she told The Nevadan. “These are not measures that alleviate an immigration system, or say that it is an immigration policy. That is not solving problems or bringing order to the system — that is cruel, it is chaotic.”

Honoring César Chávez’s legacy 

Chávez Rodríguez said that she often feels lille she’s following in her grandfather’s footsteps and honors his work, leadership and lessons he left her through her daily work. 

“He taught me that the job of an organizer is to help ordinary people do extraordinary things and that is what we do in this campaign — remind voters that they have the power, that they have the feeling to get things done,” Chávez Rodríguez said. “Some of our strategies promote community meetings, neighborhood meetings, bringing together families and friends to talk about the issues that interest them most, but most importantly what is at stake in this election.”

Using soccer to bring Latinos together

The Biden-Harris reelection campaign recently launched an ad campaign to reach Latino voters in the US during Copa América, one of the most-watched men’s soccer tournaments in the world.

The campaign is also said to host watch parties for the soccer matches with campaign surrogates during the month-long tournament. 

“Gathering the community around the ball will allow us to enjoy the game, but at the same time, make us aware that these elections are the most important due to everything that is on the table,” Chávez Rodríguez said, reiterating that the Latino vote will be decisive. “We will do everything possible to explain to them that they have enormous power at the polls, but that it is necessary to use it.”

Social media and Gen Z

With the growth of social media, especially among young voters, Chávez Rodriguez said the Biden-Harris reelection campaign has a team focused on content creation and dissemination. 

“Especially Gen Z [born between 1997 and 2012] spend a lot of time on social media — TikTok, Instagram — almost no one is on Twitter, like me, even Facebook and Snapchat,” she said, adding that the social media team recently launched a message in Spanglish because “we know that the new generations of Latinos are bilingual, bicultural and their experiences are different from other generations like those of their parents.” 

“We want to make sure they get our message as clearly as possible,” she said.

  • Frank Alejandre

    Frank Alejandre is the Community Editor of The Nevadan / El Nevadense. He graduated from the National Autonomous University of México (UNAM) with a degree in Civil Engineering. He has worked in journalism since 1990, first at El Mundo Newspaper, the first Spanish-language weekly publication in southern Nevada, and then at the Las Vegas Review-Journal, where he helped the RJ transition its Spanish language publication El Tiempo newspaper to the Las Vegas Review-Journal en Español.

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