Photo Credit: Jovita Carranza
When I first joined UPS (United Parcel Service), I was in school and raising a child. I worked the night shift part-time, on a dock loading trucks in Los Angeles. It was not a traditional workplace for a woman at the time, to say the least. I eventually became a part-time supervisor and later rose to the ranks of senior management at the company, including president of Latin American operations and vice president of air operations, where I oversaw thousands of employees.
I devoted close to 29 1/2 years of my life to a leadership role at UPS. I never said no to an opportunity, and relocated seven times to six different states. My time at the company not only allowed me to live the American Dream, it also helped me to realize what my values were.
I had grown up in the Democratic Party in Chicago. The members of my immediate and extended family were Democrats. While I didn’t become engaged in politics until after my role at UPS, it was there that I discovered my conservative values. But I didn’t simply discover them: I lived them. I learned about being frugal and being a self-starter. I practiced self-reliance and grew to appreciate the importance of higher education and strong faith.
With each additional responsibility and every new level of achievement, UPS awarded me with more opportunities. That allowed me to further my education, raise my daughter, and become a mentor to my family, community, and co-workers. As a single mother, this was especially critical. My daughter moved with me wherever I went, whether it was from Los Angeles to Texas or from Wisconsin to Florida. All along, my goal was to provide a better life for her than I had known. I wanted her to have the best education, go to summer camp, and participate in sports or music lessons. I set out to ensure that she—and then her children—could enjoy the many blessings that my parents could never have afforded with four girls.
I later joined the Small Business Administration (SBA) as deputy administrator. And I did so in a way that might surprise some people in politics: I simply submitted my resume and it happened to fall in the right person’s hands. It wasn’t, in other words, a question of connections.
My service at the SBA was a privilege and an honor, one that gave me the opportunity to help small businesses be successful. During my tenure there, I was often visited by women’s groups. One of the lessons my experience at the SBA imparted with me was the central role that women play in our economy. Women comprise a large percentage of new small businesses. And when the economy falters, women-owned businesses—and female unemployment rates generally—are hit especially hard. We’ve seen exactly that under President Obama.
Women have disproportionately borne the burdens of an economy in trouble where unemployment has stood at or exceeded eight percent for over 43 months. Instead of addressing these issues, the president and his allies have launched a campaign to convince voters that Republicans are engaged in a war on women. But this narrative not only misses the point, it is demeaning because women know the numbers. We manage the household budgets. And we’re concerned about our children’s futures and our family members who are losing their homes. For women, this election is not about contraception but about financial survival.
When selecting a candidate, I look at his or her experience and overall agenda. Governor Romney has laid it out: his plan to create 12 million new jobs plays perfectly into his lifelong experience in business. At a time when businesses are afraid to invest because they don’t have certainty about taxes or because of heavy regulations like those imposed by Obamacare, Governor Romney will restore the certainty that businesses and entrepreneurs need to plan, take risks, and grow our economy.
In the face of a set of serious fiscal and economic challenges, Governor Romney offers serious solutions. I’m proud to support him because I want to ensure that the next generation can also live the American Dream I have been extraordinarily blessed to live.
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Jovita Carranza is a member of the Women for Mitt National Advisory Board.