Gary Johnson wasn’t the only New Mexican running for president this year. Gloria La Riva, 62, ran as the candidate for the Party for Socialism and Liberation.
La Riva is an Albuquerque native and long-time activist with the PSL – the Party for Socialism and Liberation. La Riva previously ran for president in 2008.
La Riva says she has had an interest in politics and human rights since being a teenager.
“Growing up in the sixties in New Mexico was very pivotal to my growing up years…but it wasn’t until the end of my senior year that I started to gain an interest in politics,” La Riva said.
La Riva, born in 1954 in Albuquerque, says she still sees similarities from then to present day New Mexico.
La Riva was a senior at Manzano High School in Albuquerque. During her final year she was recruited to Brandeis University, a private research university in Massachusetts.
La Riva says while studying at Brandeis she was educated about racism and poverty.
“They told us ‘you got into this school because we fought for you’,” La Riva said. “Hearing them tell me they fought for me was my first political awakening. I learned then that it was all about collective action that wins our rights.”
La Riva says because of her history and heritage she felt it imperative to come to New Mexico for her political campaign as president.
“To be in New Mexico was very important to me because I was raised here. I grew up in a working class Mexican-heritage family and experienced things that New Mexican people are still suffering from,” La Riva said.
At the end of her college career, La Riva says she knew she had to get into the political realm and knew she had to be a socialist. She then joined and ran for vice president under the Workers World Party in 1984.
The mission of the Party for Socialism and Liberation is to knock out capitalism and socialise the country — a goal La Riva plans to continue to pursue..
La Riva says she believes the party did a great job of getting information about the party out to people and creating a path wherein the people could have something to believe in.
“I feel like we [the Party for Socialism and Liberation] did a good job there, too, our young people had a great response to the issues we presented and wanted to fix. Even the students at Albuquerque High agreed with a lot of our values and with what we had to say.”
La Riva harshly criticizes the outcome of the presidential election. Using Twitter, she hammers on Donald Trump’s right-wing attributes.
“Donald Trump is and will put right wing people in government and they won’t get the country back on track” she said.
La Riva campaigned in eight states where she was on the ballot. Her small but loyal supporters include the members of her all-volunteer campaign team.
James Friedman says he was moved by her passion for the socialist party.
Friedman, from the Albuquerque area, traveled with La Riva to places such as Gallup and Las Vegas, New Mexico, campaigning for hours on end — all of which Friedman described as a rewarding experience.
“Never in my life did I imagine that I would hear the words ‘hi, I’m running for President of the United States’ uttered not five feet from me,” said Friedman. “It was surreal.”
Friedman shared that he admires La Riva’s decades of experience as an activist and organizer. He says her dedication and passion for others is what makes her campaigning successful.
“I’m told that Gloria is always at the front of any protest, and has multiple scars to prove it,” Friedman said. “I’m sure that the hours she devoted to campaigning rivals those of any of the major candidates, and what’s more, she did so with the help of nothing more than unpaid volunteers.”
Another worker for the Party for Socialism and Liberation, Joel Gallegos, also says he had a pleasant experience while working on La Riva’s campaign team. As a six-year member of the party, Gallegos says it can be difficult but also rewarding.
“Gloria is an extremely brilliant and experienced activist who has a very good way of relating to people,”Gallegos said. “I think that your average person finds it easy to relate to Gloria because she’s a worker just like them. She works a nine-to-five job and understands the struggles that people go through on a daily basis.”
For Gallegos, Gloria is an approachable person in all aspects. He says she acts as a mentor and friend, and is always quick to answer any questions or concerns.
“She (Gloria) is not only the backbone to this campaign, but also a very important member of the Party for Socialism and Liberation,” says Gallegos. “Even outside of this campaign I know that Gloria is a very experienced person that I can count on to consult with on any topic.”
Next on La Riva’s agenda is to march during Donald Trump’s inauguration.
“We are going to attend the inaugural march in Albuquerque, in Washington D.C and in San Francisco on the day Donald Trump is nominated,” La Riva said.
La Riva invites anyone who wants to participate to get involved. She wants everyone to know that there are people who care about everyone’s rights.
For more information visit www.GloriaLaRiva4President.com