The niece of the late salsa queen Celia Cruz seeks to enter the field of politics in Georgia and has ambitions to become a state representative.

Linda Becquer Pritchett, who grew up under the influence of the iconic Cuban-American singer, recalls her relationship with her aunt as something very special and acknowledges that she left a significant mark on her life and impressed her with the need to serve others.

"Ever since I was little my aunt taught me by her example to give back to the people, and that is something that has stayed with me all my life and throughout my career. A lot of what I learned, I learned from her," the candidate told Efe.

Pritchett, who is very involved with the Celia Cruz Foundation, noted as part of her famous aunt's legacy her activism in matters affecting minority communities in Georgia, and how she felt "the responsibility" of being a voice for the Hispanic community.

"As a Hispanic I gradually realized that I too could be a voice for the community by speaking out about people's troubles and informing the community about things that affect them," she said about the reasons for her bid to enter the political arena.

Pritchett, the mother of two teenagers, chose to run for the office of state representative for Georgia House District 63, which includes parts of Fulton, Clayton and Fayette counties, and which was created following the redistricting in Georgia last year.

She will face two fellow Democrats in the July 31 primary and is one of eight Hispanic candidates for public office this year in Georgia, an unprecedented number.

Pritchett firmly opposes Georgia's harsh HB 87 immigration law, which, she said, has led to huge economic losses for the state.

"This law is doing a lot of damage to the state's Hispanics and to its agriculture, which has already lost $75 million because they can't find people who want to do farm work," she said.

Pritchett has also expressed her opposition to the HB 861 bill, which would require anyone who receives government assistance to submit to random drug testing, a measure that she believes would particularly affect minorities and women.

"We all have to fight these social injustices together and revoke these bad laws," she said.

One of the candidate's goals is to promote greater dialogue as a way to build a consensus on decisions that affect the region's Hispanic community.

Besides combating anti-immigrant feeling, Pritchett said she will put other matters on the table that affect the state and that she considers of fundamental importance like education, crime prevention, economic development and mortgage foreclosures.

"Foreclosures are a serious problem for our state, but they don't just affect people who lose their homes, they affect everyone because they bring down the value of houses and cause enormous economic damage to entire communities," the candidate said. EFE