A 26-year-old conservative Latina from America's heartland announced last week that she is running for Congress to take on the far-left and to lead a new generation of Republicans that will be relentless and uncompromising in protecting the freedoms guaranteed to Americans in the U.S. Constitution.
Catalina Lauf, from Woodstock, Illinois, is a former Trump administration adviser who is running against Democrat Rep. Lauren Underwood in Illinois' 14th Congressional District. If elected, Lauf will be the youngest woman ever elected to Congress, breaking the record set by socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in 2018.
Lauf, who gave an interview to The Daily Wire about her candidacy, announced her run last week in a campaign ad that took aim at the identity politics pushed by media and the Democratic Party.
"My father is a small business owner who worked hard all of his life providing for his family," Lauf says in the video. "My mother is a legal immigrant from Guatemala who worked hard to escape poverty, corruption, and war to find freedom and opportunity here in the United States of America."
In her first lengthy interview with a media publication, Lauf told The Daily Wire about her sincere desire to make a real difference in the nation's capital and to fight back against far-left members of Congress who are trying to destroy the Constitution and trying to turn America into a socialist nation.
QUESTION: What inspired you to run for Congress?
LAUF: I am someone who is driven by purpose. I grew up with a profound love of this country, and when I see the other side, particularly young women who are using their platform to stand against everything this country has fought for, including my own representative in Congress, I couldn't just sit there and watch. Politics is a bloody sport, but I believe so much in what I stand for, and I'm inspired by the men and women past and present who have fought for our freedoms, who have given up far greater than I ever will. This is the minimum I can contribute, and I want to ensure their fight was not for nothing. That starts by preserving our republic and helping us get back on track to where we should be. It is possible! The American Dream is alive and well and people like myself are going to ensure it remains that way.
QUESTION: As the daughter of a legal Guatemalan immigrant, what do you say to immigrants in the U.S. who listen to organizations like CNN, and believe that the president is racist, and that enforcing immigration law and securing the border is racist?
LAUF: The president is not a racist. This type of accusation and rhetoric from those like Lauren Underwood and AOC is destructive to our democracy. I am the daughter of an immigrant. I have seen first-hand what it means to come to this country and go through the process of becoming a legal citizen. I stand with President Trump on securing our border and closing loopholes in our broken immigration system. Those on the Left, Lauren Underwood included, would rather tweet-storm about the president being a "racist" instead of actually coming to the table to get things done. Their hatred for Trump is blinding their love of country. I love this country. It gave my family a better life. Instead of highlighting American's hard work, Lauren Underwood and the other extremists push a radical agenda, focused on lawlessness and inciting division and hate. She needs to be stopped. That is why I'm running for Congress. The system is broken and we have to fix it. You don't like the president's proposals on how to do so? Fine, show up to work with some ideas and let's talk through how to fix this together. No one in the Democratic Party has shown they take this issue seriously enough to actually solve it for Americans around the country.
QUESTION: Why should Latinos vote for Republicans, and how should the party reach out to them?
LAUF: My Abuelita grew up in Guatemala, where she had to stop her education in 3rd grade and work on a coffee bean farm to provide for her family. She came to this country for a better life. She and my mother worked every day and learned English at night to become citizens. Because of their sacrifice and hard work I was blessed to grow up in America's heartland, Woodstock, IL, where things like community, hard work, freedom, and patriotism aren't just nice ideas, they are how people live their lives. The pillars [of the] Republican Party are centered around those ideas. The policies the Party advocates open windows of opportunity for all Americans. Those values and those windows of opportunity made my life possible. Hispanic Americans across the country have similar stories. They work hard, value family, community, and freedom. They also believe in law and order. Hispanic Americans like my mother and grandmother came to this country and went through the process to become American citizens. My grandmother and mother did not want to break the law to be here. We need to go and speak to these Hispanic Americans, hear their stories, share our stories, and discuss how Republican policies aim to make their lives better. If we don't then they only have MSNBC and those on the far-left offering them limited opportunities and distorted realities.
QUESTION: Why should younger voters vote Republican, and what are you going to do to reach them?
LAUF: Because we're the ones with a future at stake! Republicans support policies that will provide more windows of opportunity to us. Democrats offer false promises of socialism and limited possibilities. I'm running because I see what the far-left is doing – they're threatening the promise of the American Dream. If they succeed, Americans like me will be limited in what we are able to accomplish in our lives. This is our future. This is our fight.
QUESTION: Will the Democrats increasing embrace of socialist policies work for them on election day?
LAUF: Absolutely not. Socialism is a strong contrast to everything that makes America great. But we need to offer the country an alternative, one that will preserve freedom and the promise that is the American Dream. I am confident on Election Day, when voters have a choice between dangerous socialism and hopeful, pro-democracy Republican ideals, they will vote for myself and others around the country who have also stepped up to defend the American Dream.
QUESTION: How does the GOP respond to some of the issues, like healthcare and student debt, that Democrats propose addressing with these socialist policies?
LAUF: We need to make it very clear to voters that the false promises of socialism come with a large price tag and they will be the ones who will foot the bill. Take the Green New Deal – that alone will cost the average American family about $75,000 in its first year alone. Once Americans learn the truth behind the Democrats' rhetoric, the choice will be very clear. We also need to give them a choice, take these issues with a free-market approach. We need to offer our own ideas on how to tackle ballooning school debt and surprise doctor bills. And we need to be the adults in the room. While AOC and Lauren Underwood spend this Election Cycle calling Republicans racists and sexists, we need to keep moving forward, bringing people together around resolutions, not retweets.
QUESTION: With the rise of socialism in the Democratic Party, are you also concerned about the Democrats’ continued push to curtail the freedoms of U.S. citizens?
LAUF: Absolutely. They would destroy everything that makes our country great. That is why I'm running for Congress. To protect those freedoms.
QUESTION: How should Republicans respond to the Democrats becoming the party of identity politics?
LAUF: By winning on what we're offering Americans, not on the color of our skin or heritage.
QUESTION: What do you view as the greatest threat to the United States both from a foreign and a domestic standpoint?
LAUF: Our divide. United we stand; divided we fall. We need to get back to a place in America where people are respecting each other, working together, and uniting against the internal voices that are causing the division. We need to bind together as patriots to ensure the American Dream can continue to be possible for generations to come.
QUESTION: If elected, what do you hope to accomplish with respect to policy?
LAUF: Expanding our Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, finding ways to cut entitlement spending, and fostering a friendly economic environment, especially for our small businesses. Fixing our broken immigration system and ensuring Congress is supporting our President's agenda of having safe and secure borders.
QUESTION: The Democratic Party, with the help of the media, have really taken control of the narrative surrounding climate change. How does the Republican Party start to win over people who are concerned about the climate?
LAUF: I believe it's important to make sure we leave the world a better place for our children and grandchildren. That said, policies like the Green New Deal aren't just ineffective, they're harmful to American families. There has to be a way to address environmental issues that don't put the burden on American families, and we need to be open to a productive conversation, not the hyperbolic blame game that the far-left and mainstream media like to play.
QUESTION: A lot of the narrative surrounding the climate has come from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and her proposed "Green New Deal," which her former chief-of-staff even admitted was about implementing socialism. AOC's "Green New Deal" is a socialist vision that the Democratic Party is trying to sell to America. How do you counter that? What is your vision for America?
LAUF: My mother and grandmother legally immigrated to this country from Guatemala. My father is a small-business owner from Chicago. My story is only possible because of their hard work and sacrifice. I am a direct product of the American Dream. They taught my sister and [me] the values of hard work, personal responsibility, and an unapologetic love of our country. Today I see the fringe, far-left trying to divide us and trying to replace the American Dream with socialism. So, my own story counters their hateful rhetoric. I'm running for Congress because I believe it's time my generation stood up and defended the promise of the American Dream against those who do away with it for their own political game. My vision for America is one where the same opportunities the American Dream provided for my family and me are available for our children and grandchildren.
QUESTION: What are your thoughts on Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and the rise of anti-Semitism in the Democratic Party?
LAUF: I think it's disgusting and has no place in public discourse, especially from our elected representatives.
QUESTION: In what areas do you think your opponent Rep. Lauren Underwood (D-IL) is weak, and has she let your district down?
LAUF: I think her desire to be a member of the "Squad" or the "B Squad" outweighs her desire to listen to and serve her constituents. She sees AOC and [Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), and Ayanna Pressley (D-MA)] getting national attention and retweets, and wants to be in the same club. As a consequence, she ignores the issues that people in our district deal with every day. Additionally, her far-left voting record does not represent a traditionally Republican district, or American values as a whole.
QUESTION: What are your thoughts about Underwood's unsubstantiated claim that the Trump administration is intentionally killing kids inside immigrant detention facilities?
LAUF: I think it's sad. It's that type of rhetoric and grandstanding that has put a halt to any productive reforms. People like Lauren Underwood politicize policy issues like that and go against the President to make headlines, without taking into consideration how divisive and damaging that is.
QUESTION: What areas of the Republican Party's platform do you think need to be addressed, and/or changed?
LAUF: We need to stop compromising on our values. I'm disappointed when Republicans get cornered on an issue and cave to the other side. For example, the Violence Against Women Act. Of course, progressives named it that for obvious reasons, as a smokescreen so if anyone who voted against it they could immediately jump on them and say "Oh you’re against women?" Well, there's more to that story. The "boyfriend loophole" proposed a serious threat against our Constitution. We need people who will not cave, put our Constitution first, and stand up to pressure from the Left. I'm committed to doing that. Republicans, Americans as a whole frankly, deserve strong leaders. If you've been elected to be the voice of hundreds of thousands of people, your voice better be as powerful as hundreds of thousands of those people combined. That's leadership.
QUESTION: A New York Post profile on you said that Ronald Reagan was someone you looked up to. What about Reagan do you admire, and what aspects about the way he led do you wish today's elected leaders would emulate?
LAUF: He was positive and was a true leader! He brought warmth and energy to the country and had a personality that united people. Not to mention his "America First" message after a weak President Carter was exactly what our country needed. There's also that Illinois tie. He grew up a few hundred miles from where I did so there’s that element of home-state pride!
QUESTION: What issues matter to you that you think the Republican Party needs to do a better job of addressing, and how should they address them?
LAUF: The minority vote. Minorities are going to be the majority of the population by 2044. It's time we focus on uniting minorities to join our freedom message. That no matter where you come from, no matter what color your skin is, as citizens of the United States, we are all Americans first. A way to do that is by continuing upon the successes of this Administration when it comes to the economy. We all want jobs; we all want opportunity; we all want our communities to thrive.
QUESTION: What do you hope to inspire in other elected officials and future leaders to help make America a better place?
LAUF: Re-establishing integrity in public service. Americans want leaders who are authentic, real, and who believe in something. When our Founders created our country's framework, they wanted everyday people representing their districts. Far too often now you see politicians who sit in that seat and do just enough to get re-elected. They compromise their beliefs too much, even if it risks pushing our country further away from our constitutional intent. We need patriots in Congress – those who will not back down from freedom, and who will never stop loving and serving their people. I'm committed to doing that, and I think you'll see a lot of people, every day Americans, step forward this cycle who are driven to do that, too.
QUESTION: When you are not working, what do you do for fun?
LAUF: Read books – I'm a huge history nerd! I also shoot guns, spend time with friends, family, and my dog! I love people, so I try to spend time connecting with folks, being in the moment as much as I can.