When Lexi Reese’s father misplaced his job, she stated her household spiraled into chaos.
He was a Sears worker whose job was rendered out of date by rising automation within the ’80s. Following his unemployment, he strayed from the household; so Reese’s mom discovered work, changing into their sole supply of earnings.
Reese stated that her household’s expertise with monetary insecurity is why she is operating for California Senate.
“My dad dropping his paycheck was about far more than simply the paycheck,” Reese stated. “It was about his dignity.”
Reese joins a slate of veteran Democratic politicians like Adam Schiff ’82, Katie Porter and Barbara Lee. The candidates are competing to fill the late Senator Dianne Feinstein’s ’55 seat in a race the SF Chronicle wrote could also be “a very powerful state election for voters in 2024.”
Schiff is presently polling at 20%, Porter at 17% and Lee at 7%.
Stanford Girls in Politics (SWIP) President Caroline Zdanowski ’25 stated this election is of profound significance. Representing “essentially the most populous state within the nation, California’s Senate management has an enormous platform,” Zdanowski stated.
Although Reese is polling at 1%, she stated she is unwavering in her dedication to re-envisioning California’s politics on a platform grounded in guarantees of financial safety and mobility.
4 in 10 Californians are contemplating transferring out of state, as a result of exorbitant price of dwelling. Homelessness and a dire absence of reasonably priced housing are amongst voters’ high problems with concern.
“This has been occurring for many years,” Reese stated in an interview with The Every day. “All whereas the three individuals I’m operating in opposition to have been in Congress.”
Curious Cardinals and Reese co-hosted a Q&A occasion on Oct. 29, inviting college students fascinated by studying extra about Reese’s platform to listen to from her.
Following their father’s job loss, Reese’s siblings struggled with drug dependancy. Although Reese’s sister discovered restoration, her brother misplaced his life in 2017.
“My household scenario is much like so many individuals’s conditions,” she stated. “However I lived at a time when my mother may work actually arduous and ship me to good faculties, and that opened up profession alternatives that enabled me to reside a extra financially safe life.”
Recognizing a shift within the American financial system, Reese grounds her platform within the ideology that chance is more and more slim, a product of structural forces.
Reese stated her dedication to fairness defines her nontraditional path to politics as a documentary-filmmaker turned tech, then nonprofit, govt.
After focusing her undergraduate research on Latin American historical past, she served as a manufacturing assistant on a documentary venture based mostly in Nicaragua. The movie adopted the presidential election of Daniel Ortega in 1996, concurrently documenting the story of adolescent intercourse staff within the nation.
The venture was Reese’s entry level to understanding how theoretical questions of energy — “Who has it? Who doesn’t? Why is that? How do you alter that?” — interacted with tangible programs of governance and injustice.
Reese, nevertheless, stated she acknowledged her strengths in advocacy over filmmaking. From there, she transitioned to microfinance work, advocating to shift funding into the fingers of these dwelling in poverty to kickstart enterprise ventures.
Reese would transfer on to steer positions at American Categorical, Google, Fb and Gusto.
“If I needed to describe my profession journey, it was coronary heart, after which head,” she stated.
Reese’s background in company tech is what shapes a lot of her marketing campaign’s ethos: a defining talent set she stated units her other than her rivals.
“Each expertise you create has a primary order mission, however then has second and third order penalties,” Reese stated. “So each chief must ask themselves, ‘I do know what I need this to do. However what’s the affect of this expertise on individuals, on planet, on democracy?’”
“With AI and all of that expertise coming — and a real fear of the place the workforce goes — there may be going to be a large transformation of how we’ll be impacted by expertise,” stated Lucy Chen, the top of studying design for Curious Cardinals. “All the pieces goes to change into a lot extra advanced. We actually want somebody who understands expertise.”
Reese’s marketing campaign emphasizes her expertise interacting with the intersections and complexities of monetary companies and expertise. Reese stated she guarantees to leverage this background to degree the enjoying discipline for Individuals nationwide.
“Have a look at the composition of [the] Senate: common age 64, principally older white males,” Reese stated. “I’d be the twenty sixth lady. I’d be the one technologist. We’ve got no senator, not one, with a tech background.”
Regardless of the expertise she affords, Reese acknowledged her bid for Congress is an uphill climb.
“Our elections reward individuals who have been within the system for a very long time and due to this fact have lots of particular pursuits supporting them and lots of equipment behind them,” Reese stated. “Discover all of that is utterly disconnected out of your capacity to ship companies to the individuals who want them.”
Isha Kalia ’24, the vp of SWIP, stated all candidates, even these whose earlier careers usually are not immediately concerned in politics, ought to nonetheless have a good probability at getting in workplace.
“I might simply like to have the religion that anybody who’s within the place and is the perfect candidate on the finish of the day does have the prospect to try this,” Kalia stated. Would “I put cash behind that? No. However I feel it might be nice if that did occur on the finish of the day.”
The candidates have only a handful of months main as much as the March 5, 2024 major election. Regardless of the aggressive lineup, Reese stated she stays dedicated to her platform.
“I consider that we’d like leaders to revamp a distinct future so the identical little lady I as soon as was — and so many like me — can have the identical alternative I had,” Reese stated.