Ricky Hurtado grew up living paycheck to paycheck in a family that worked multiple jobs. Hurtado said that having this background has influenced him, as an educator and a politician, to keep working class families in the forefront of his mind.
Hurtado currently serves as a North Carolina Representative for District 63 and is running for reelection as a Democrat. Hurtado said he prioritizes making life more affordable for working class families and increasing education opportunities for children, specifically focusing on public education issues — specifically referencing the 1997 North Carolina Supreme Court case, Leandro v. the State of North Carolina, which ruled that right to an education is within the state constitution.
“Previously to 2020, we did not have a legislator from Alamance County that truly championed public education and understood the needs of working families,” Hurtado said. “And so I'm proud to be one of the primary sponsors to several bills to fully fund our public schools, which means having enough educators to serve the needs and that's in direct response to Leandro’s case in North Carolina, which said that North Carolina is not meeting their constitutional duty to provide a sound basic education for every child.”
Another issue that Hurtado said goes hand in hand with working with working class families is affordable housing. Championing this, alongside affordable childcare, is something he said is important.
“Rents are soaring, housing prices are through the roof,” Hurtado said. “And I want to make sure that local governments have a partnership with the state government for us to invest in affordable housing because it makes sense for North Carolina economically speaking.”
Throughout his time in office, Hurtado said he has been able to appeal to both Democrats and Republicans by being available to the community and working towards solutions instead of simply thinking about politics.
“A lot of folks in the community have my cell phone number, they know they can reach me through multiple emails,” Hurtado said. “One of the biggest things I heard in the last election was that so many people in our county felt like they had no voice, no representation due to previous legislators, a lack of connection to the community.”
Hurtado said with his experience serving in the legislature, he understands what it takes to create change. He said he gets calls from students and parents who have concerns about the public school system, and being in a position of power pushes him to serve his community even more.
“Staying close to the ground keeps you humble and allows you to really see and feel what the community is feeling,” Hurtado said. “Which creates that much more urgency for what we're doing in Raleigh every day.”