Five Questions with Leticia Fraga

Leticia Fraga, a first generation Mexican American, moved to Kennewick, Wash., when she was 12. In 1999, after living in Germany and settling in Seattle, Fraga and her husband, Steven Nadler, relocated to Princeton for Nadler’s job at Bristol Meyer Squibb.  The move was at first difficult for Fraga, having left seven siblings and an investigations career with the Office of Civil Rights Enforcement behind, but the more she volunteered for causes she admired, her northwest heartache melted away and Princeton became home.

Today, Fraga is involved in the Latin American Legal Defense and Education Fund, Princeton Community Housing, Send Hunger Packing Princeton and YWCA, to name a few.

On Jan. 19, Fraga announced her candidacy to run as a life-long Democrat for Town Council.

“When my family and I first came to the U.S., the community we ended up in was very welcoming. I learned then about what it is to give, and that has always stayed with me. What I do – not just in my work but as a volunteer – in my mind, is paying it forward. Serving my community is remembering everyone who helped us when we were new,” Fraga said.

Fraga is now taking her commitment to advocacy one step further by becoming part of the process to improve the quality of life for those in her community.

The Sun sat down with Fraga to learn more of her candidacy. Take a look at the full scoop below:

The Sun: Why have you decided to run for election in 2016?

Fraga: For several years now, friends and colleagues have encouraged me to consider running for council. I always knew that it was something I wanted to do when the time was right. I finally asked myself, “if not now, then when?” Asking myself that one question set me on the path to throwing my “hat in the ring,” for it made me realize that the “right time” is not exactly going to announce itself.

I want to be part of the process that initiates and develops policy that will help make the Princeton community an even better place to live. That is very appealing and important to me.

The Sun: What do you perceive as the three most important concerns facing Princeton?

Fraga: The most common thread I hear is the lack of affordable housing, both rentals and sales. Princeton is very unique among New Jersey towns. It is a beautiful town with a strong sense of community. We thrive economically due to both the university and thriving business, but we also have a large economic diversity that needs to be addressed and paid attention to. We need to ensure Princeton continues to be a town that values the interest of its people and neighborhoods. Ensuring ours is a safe and inclusive community is also important. We can bolster public safety in our neighborhoods by continuing to improve police and community relations.

The Sun: Why should Princetonians vote for you? What distinguishes you from other candidates?

Fraga: Years of working with the various boards and commission has given me a good grounding in the complexity of the issues facing our community and has helped me hone my skills in creating solutions. My years of working within the civil rights area and in community service has given me a much different perspective on how to problem solve from those who come from the private sector or corporate life. Although that experience is very valuable and needed, my view is very grassroots, roll up your sleeves, all opinions matter attitude. You could refer to me as a community organizer turned candidate, and that would be the truth.

The Sun: If you could bring one politician back from the dead, who would it be and why?

Fraga: Can I say two? – Fraga laughed. I would like to bring back Eleanor Roosevelt and Ted Kennedy. Although Eleanor wasn’t elected, she certainly qualifies as a politician. And of course, Sen. Kennedy. They each were singular voices that came from family wealth but offered new and fresh perspectives and solutions on inclusion, rights and opportunities for all citizens. Mrs. Roosevelt was so ahead of her time. Most women weren’t even formally educated back in those days, except for the wealthy, and she, at her core, was a teacher in showing her husband as well as the populace the true issues facing our nation. Sen. Kennedy’s story is really one of true service. He certainly earned his moniker, the Lion of the Senate.

The Sun: Coffee or tea? How do you take it?

Fraga: Coffee. Black.

About Erica Chayes Wida

Erica Chayes Wida is a writer, mom, and complete zealot when it comes to poetry, paella and globe collections. After graduating with a degree in Anthropology from UCLA, Erica moved to Italy where the seasons and old architecture inspired her journey back to the East Coast. Since then, she and her husband have created a nest egg locally and, over time, developed a rather grand love affair with the town of Princeton. Erica is senior editor at The Princeton Sun and enjoys fulfilling her Princeton affections on a daily basis. | View all posts by Erica Chayes Wida