LIFESTYLE

Latinas for Change: Lizet Ocampo, a D.C. insider with a drive to stand up for those who can’t

“I remember the moment I was walking to the FEC to submit the paperwork to become a super PAC,” Lizet Ocampo, who until recently worked at the Latino Victory Project, told Fox News Latino.

"I thought of my parents who came over from Mexico to do hard labor in fields in California … and there I was with our name — Ocampo — on the paperwork, registering the first-ever Latino super PAC in American history.”

Last month Ocampo joined the Washington, D.C., think tank, the Center for American Progress, as associate director for immigration policy.

Ocampo grew up with humble beginnings, worked hard, and attended Stanford University. She credits her loving family, teachers in high school, and the Upward Bound program that exposed her to opportunities. Upward Bound provides support to students from low-income families so that they apply and attend college.

“I didn’t even realize high school AP courses existed,” Ocampo said. "They weren’t offered at the high school I attended. So I went back to my school and told them they should have AP courses, and we ended up getting AP classes online.”

Ocampo with her parents and President Obama. (Photo: Pete Souza/White House)

After Stanford, Ocampo worked at Google doing research for the company’s philanthropic efforts. Ocampo moved to Washington, D.C., in 2007 and began working  in the office of Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez.

After working on Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, Ocampo landed a job working in the Office of Legislative Affairs at the White House, where she was involved in, among other major projects, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the Dream Act.

“We would get literally three emails per minute during the ACA push,” Ocampo recalled. “It was insane.”

She joined Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer’s team in 2011, and the following year she served as the only woman and only Hispanic National Regional Political Director for President Obama’s reelection campaign.

What has driven Ocampo every day throughout her hopscotch career path?

“All my life I’ve experienced racism,” Ocampo says. "This has always motivated me to stand up for people who get pushed around.”

Pablo Manriquez works in Washington, D.C. He tweets at @vato.

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