In our series Our Movement Monday, we talk with Texas Democrats across our state about their work and the challenges facing their communities.
Early voting is going on right now in the 2018 Texas Primary (Click here to find your polling place, after reading this post). We know it’s our responsibility to make sure everyone in Texas votes and support Democratic champions running for office.
We spoke with DeSoto City Council Member Candice Quarles, who was elected in 2016. Council Member Quarles’ career spans over a decade in Human Resources in the private and public sectors with Deloitte and municipal government work at the City of Grand Prairie. Candice is deeply immersed in numerous community organizations.
Hi Candice, Thank you for taking the time to be a part of Our Movement Monday. You were one of the first candidates to work with our Project LIFT team. What made you decide to run for the DeSoto City Council?
Candice Quarles: I decided to run for office to ensure my daughter and your children have a better community in which to thrive, unlike the area where I grew up. I know real change happens from the bottom up and people need to step up; women need to step up, millennials need to step up, everybody needs to step up.
That’s right! We’ve seen record numbers of people looking to run for office. Do you have any suggestions for folks thinking about putting their name on the ballot?
Candice Quarles: I asked folks in my community why they are hesitant to run for office and these are the three common answers I got: time, fundraising, and knowledge.
When I ran in May of 2016, I had an 18-month-old. My husband and I talked about it: “Do I really have time for this?” Besides the optics of being a young elected official, a person of color, a woman, I was concerned how my residents would feel seeing a young mother of an 18-month-old running for a leadership position in our city. But I decided I can’t use my daughter as an excuse and would be embarrassed to tell her in 18 years that the reason I held back was because of her. I hope that she will be proud when I tell her I did this FOR her when she gets older.
Money is a big important part of politics. When I hear people say “I don’t know how much money it’s going to take” or “I don’t like to raise money,” I tell everyone that they will have to get over that and they will get over it. If you’re reading this, you will be surprised where people will come out of nowhere and decide they want to support you. People are looking to support good candidates in office.
Do you need to know everything about the office, before you run for office? The answer is no. You don’t need to know everything about the office and it’s an unrealistic expectation. What I would encourage is watching city council meetings if you’re thinking about running for city council. That applies to every level of office. I knew the city council members. I knew how they voted. I know what issues were important to the community.
Running for Office: Why are you waiting?
We’ve talked about running for office, what about governing and helping shape your community. What are you proud of accomplishing?
Candice Quarles: There’s a lot I’m proud of! We led an effort with DeSotoWorks!, a job fair focused on employment specifically for DeSoto residents with 330+ attendees and 80+ employers. I was a panelist for the Young Texans Legislative Caucus “Ensuring Texas’ success through effective millennial leadership.” I spoke to young folks to let them know the time is now to speak up and stand.
Right now, Texans everywhere are using social media to encourage their friends and followers to vote. What are some ways you think we can get our friends and family members voting and invested in elections?
Candice Quarles: I try to post on my social media platforms every day. I have my political series, Candid with Candice, where I discuss different topics and updates about DeSoto. I’m on every social media channel, or folks can email or call me. It’s my job as an elected official to listen to my community. I’m here to serve the people. We need input, so share with me.
You do lots of informative and fun videos on our democratic process — like becoming a precinct chair and becoming a campaign volunteer.
Candice Quarles: I think it’s important to meet the people where they are. I post on Facebook and Twitter. I make videos. I block walk. We phone bank. And we greet people at the polls. Rain or shine we are doing whatever we can to make sure people know when to vote, where to vote, who to vote for, and what they can do to improve their communities.
How to Get Involved: Run for Precinct Chair
Everybody is talking about the Texas Primaries, but the local May 5 elections are coming up quick too. What do you want people to know about local elections as a city council member?
Candice Quarles: Local elections are where it’s at! People need to know that what happens at city hall affects them way more than Austin or Washington, D.C. It is so important that people turnout in local elections and in DeSoto we are going to do our best to get the word out.
Council Member Quarles said it best, “It’s time for everyone to rise up and right now is your chance to make this stand.” Early voting is currently underway. Make sure you visit and share MyTexasVotes.com with all your family and friends to confirm your polling place. Let’s vote, Texas.
If you enjoyed this Our Movement Monday, follow Candice Quarles online: