Kriselda Valderrama

Deputy Speaker Pro Tem, State Delegate, Maryland General Assembly

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HOW DID YOU CHOOSE A PATHWAY IN PUBLIC SERVICE?

It’s no secret that I was exposed to public service/politics at an early age due to my predecesor, my father, David M. Valderrama. I was always ‘behind the scenes’ but never imagined it would be me in the public eye. Both my parents have always instilled in me (and my sister) to give back to our community — especially our Filipino-American community — and to be part of the process because our voice(s) should be a part of the conversation.

WHO INSPIRES YOU AND WHY?

My daughters are my inspiration. I have two high schoolers and to see them active (and succeed) not just in their academics but also with their various extracurricular activities — in addition to their personal likes/hobbies — it reminds me of my responsibility to mold & produce two strong independent young women into this (insane) world we live in. I say this to mean that when I have moments where I am completely drained and ask myself why the heck did I ever get into this [political] arena, just looking at my girls gives me back the energy and wantingness to do what I do, the best way I can so that my girls know how very important it is to be involved because they are the future.

WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR AAPI GIRLS AND WOMEN WHO WANT TO PURSUE A CAREER IN PUBLIC SERVICE?

DO IT!! Can’t state it any simpler…REGARDLESS of party affililation, age, your employment (esp with regard to state legislatures as they are CITIZEN legislatures), etc. As most know, women are one of the largest voting blocks yet our numbers in office — in comparison to our male counterparts — are still relatively small.