Guatemalan immigrant votes for 1st time in 2020 presidential election since becoming US citizen

CHICAGO (WLS) -- When we think of first-time voters, many of us probably think about the newly turned 18-year-olds, ready to make a difference.

But one new Chicago voter is 48 years old, and he's making sure his voice will be heard from here on out.

Nestor Gomez is a jack of all trades. He's a storyteller, an author, a poet and a now a voter.

"It took a long time for me after I got my green card for me to become a citizen," Gomez said. "You've got to pay some fines, you've got to take a test. It took me almost 30 years to become a citizen."

Gomez immigrated to the U.S. with his mom in the 1980s, but he wasn't able to get his citizenship until two years ago.

"I was crying when I finally became a citizen. The first thing I did was call my mom. My mom was always pushing me to become a citizen, always telling me, so the first thing I did was say 'Mom, I did it,'" Gomez said.

With his citizenship came the ability to vote in the 2020 presidential election.

"I went and voted in person earlier," Gomez. "It only took about an hour and a half, so when you think about it, waiting 30 years to become a citizen, waiting an hour to vote - it was easy."

Gomez regularly shares his story in front of live audiences. He also works on a podcast, sharing the experiences of other U.S immigrants.

The next time he takes the stage, Gomez will have a new story to share.

"I really didn't have a voice at all, I didn't speak the language, I had a stutter, I couldn't vote," Gomez said.

One that breakdowns his voting journey - because it wasn't easy, but it was worth it.

"I would have waited a couple of days at the voting place if I needed to. After 30 years of waiting, it was a very special moment in my life," Gomez said.
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