Few politicians are as open with their past as Lucy Flores, and she might be better off for it. Flores is running for Lieutenant Governor in Nevada, and is using her hard past as a way to connect with voters. While her decision to be so open may be controversial to some, it is turning this year’s election into one of the most groundbreaking in the country.

 

Her past is heartbreaking, inspiring, and full of lessons to be learned. Flores grew up poor, dropped out of high school, has done time in prison, and — in the most groundbreaking twist — has even had an abortion for personal reasons, not out of medical necessity.

 

Her story begins in her childhood, where she grew up in poverty with her family in a predominately Hispanic neighborhood in North Las Vegas. At the age of nine, her mother left, leaving her father with 14 children. Shortly after, as a teen, Flores “fell into the gang life, had an abortion at 16, dropped out of school and got arrested for driving a stolen car at 17,” according to the Reno Gazette-Journal.

 

While all of these might be shocking, none are as groundbreaking as her openly admitting to having an abortion for personal reasons. In a profile done by MSNBC’s Benjy Sarlin, Flores’s goes on to explain her journey through her unwanted pregnancy as a young teen:

 

“Since I’m sharing so much this session, I might as well keep going,” she said. “I always said that I was the only one who didn’t have kids in their teenage years. That’s because at 16, I got an abortion.”

Her eyes welled up and her voice caught as she described how she’d convinced her father to pay the $200 cost for the procedure. She didn’t want to end up like her sisters, Flores told him.

“I don’t regret it,” she said. “I don’t regret it because I am here making a difference, at least in my mind, for many other young ladies and letting them know that there are options and they can do things to not be in the situation I was in, but to prevent.”

 

As her story goes on, Flores becomes a walking inspiration for people of all ages. After she got out of prison, she got her GED, then went on to earn an undergrad degree from USC and then a law degree from UNLV. Then, she was elected to the Assembly and now is running for Lieutenant Governor.

 

She also has recently reiterated her story — originally told at a 2013 legislative hearing in testimony about her bill that allows victims of domestic violence to break rental leases — of the domestic abuse that she endured:

 

“There was domestic violence at home in my own family,” Flores said. “And when I was 18 or 19, I was in an incredibly abusive relationship. Unfortunately, despite having a protective order, he continued to stalk me and unfortunately, he beat me severely one night where I was hospitalized, and could not, at that point, get out of my lease even though there were documented instances of domestic violence.

“Even though there was a protective order in place, my landlord would not allow me to get out of my legal obligation in that apartment,” Flores continued. “And eventually I just ended up leaving it. I didn’t care. I needed to get to safety somehow. So I ended up with all of this debt. It was incredibly difficult for me to get housing afterwards because of the fact that I had broken a lease.”

“It was incredibly difficult,” she said. “The apartment association fought it tooth and nail and it was a battle. But ultimately, I was able to convince the governor that this was a priority.”

 

Eventually, after a tough battle, Flores did pass the bill into law by Gov. Brian Sandoval.

 

What might be most surprising, however, is the response she is getting from the stories she shares of her past.

 

Many do not believe that going after Flores, politically, for her past is a good idea. Even many opposing Republicans agree that going after Flores would not be beneficial. GOP strategist Robert Uithoven told MSNBC’s Sarlin, “I don’t think it would be wise for anyone to get into the mud about (Flores’s) former life.”

 

Her stories are also helping her in the polls. According to some recent poll data, “59 [percent] of voters say these details about her life story make them more favorable toward electing her as Lieutenant Governor, while only 17 [percent] say they make them less favorable.”

 

Politics can be a slippery slope, but I think we can all agree that taking a platform of honesty and truth is one that is rarely taken. It will be interesting to see how this turns out in the long run.

 

What do you think of Lucy Flores’s story? Do you think using her biography as a political campaign is wise? Are you surprised at the lack of backlash? Why or why not? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below or tweet me @kateeb790!