Skip to main content

Staff Snapshots | Myra Hernandez

March 12, 2024
  • Hometown: Wenatchee, Wash.
  • Role: Director of civic education at the Washington Legislature
  • Years of legislative service: Four

myra hernandez washington

“Civics opens the doors for us to understand one another and how little our differences are when the reality is that we all care about the places where we live and want them to be better.”

Why did you choose to work at the Legislature?

In 2018 I applied to the legislative internship program and absolutely enjoyed my experience. It changed my career trajectory, and I knew I wanted to come back in some capacity. I love the ability to work in such a foundational institution that touches every facet of life and learn from so many folks about the priorities in their regions. I love Wenatchee and I feel like I learned so much to bring to my own community from being with such dedicated individuals.

What do you want people to know about civics education?

That it truly is for everyone and anyone. There is no wrong time to learn about civics, and I would even argue that now more than ever is the perfect time to learn about what is involved in civics. That starts from the local level up to the federal level. So much about civics is rooted in your interactions with government institutions, whether it’s the post office or calling your member during the legislative session. I have had an absolute joy translating my knowledge into Spanish for my parents to learn along with me, and it opened the conversation for me to learn about the system of government in El Salvador. Civics opens the doors for us to understand one another and how little our differences are when the reality is that we all care about the places where we live and want them to be better. Civics is the best way to connect with people and there is no expectation of what you “should” already know—that doesn’t exist. There is learning to be done always.

What skill or talent are you most proud of?

I am most proud of my adaptability, work ethic and Spanish. All of these were instilled in me by my parents from a very young age. I saw them work hard and overcome language barriers. Growing up closely with my parents allowed me to really appreciate the gift of work and my ability to adapt. It is easy to feel like the odd one out, but with their support and lessons it only made me a better professional. I work hard and have a high standard for myself because my parents expected that from me. My ability to speak Spanish fluently is such a badge of honor for me because I can personally connect with twice as many people through that, if not more. There have been countless times when non-English speakers expressed how comfortable they were connecting with me because they felt safe to share their language barriers. My Spanish helps me connect with so many people in ways I never expected.

What’s the best advice you were ever given?

The best advice comes from my parents, who told me to work every job as if I planned to stay in it forever and to thank God for all the growth. It’s easy to get torn down or to feel overwhelmed when things aren’t working out, but their advice reminds me of the trust others have placed in me. I work really hard, but all of that also comes from my amazing parents and the faith they instilled. Even the hard days I have to thank God for, otherwise I really could not appreciate the goodness for what it is—an absolute dream.

Who or what inspires you?

Maria J. Cruz and Santos Hernandez inspire me. They are my parents. They risked everything to come to the United States during the civil war in El Salvador, and when my dad learned that he and my mom were going to have their first daughter ever (me), he made the decision to let go of his dream of returning to El Salvador and becoming a farmer. Instead, they bought a house in Wenatchee, worked in the fruit industry and started a small family-owned and -operated food truck business. They are my inspiration forever. They didn’t give up so much, risk so much and make Washington home for me to stop. I think of my dad every day since he passed almost a year ago, and everything I accomplish is in honor of them both. Because even in his passing, I am still his daughter and I love the opportunity to demonstrate all the great things they both taught me.

What’s one thing you love about your state or territory?

I love the topography of Washington! I live in north-central Washington with my family, and even though my city is still growing and adapting to the world today, I enjoy the feeling of a small town. There’s so much hiking I can do and long walks I can take with my dog! Even when I was in the city, I was just so grateful to be around so many trees. The greenery in Washington just makes my heart so happy and I love that I get all the seasons to fully enjoy—even though the winter can be rough in Wenatchee!

What are you currently reading/listening to/watching?

I am about to start reading “Babel: Or the Necessity of Violence: An Arcane History of the Oxford Translators’ Revolution.” I’ve been listening to the band LANY for the last week since I am going to their Seattle concert, making it the third time I’ve seen them live! I’m not currently watching anything new, but the last thing I watched with interest was the “Beckham” documentary on Netflix.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity. Use the email icon above to suggest a legislative staffer for the “Staff Snapshots” series.

  • Contact NCSL

  • For more information on this topic, use this form to reach NCSL staff.