To inform readers about the candidates seeking their votes on the November ballot, the San Antonio Report asked all candidates to answer the following questions. We edited answers for clarity, not substance or grammar, and we did not fact-check responses. We restricted responses to 200 words for each question.

Read other candidates’ answers here.

Party:

Democrat

Incumbent?

No.

Link to campaign website:

https://celinamontoya.org

Age:

36

Education background/degrees earned:

2002 high school diploma: Alamo Heights High School, 2006 B.S. Journalism Northwestern University.

Current occupation, employer, or job title:

Vice president community engagement, Alamo Fireworks.

Previous elected offices held and/or sought:

Sought Texas House District 121 seat in 2018.

Why do you feel you are the best candidate for the office you are seeking?

We need a representative with a history of doing the hard work and realizing success comes from working together. My work in building a coalition and establishing a nonprofit focused on education gives me the ability to work with people from all walks of life. My background as a journalist allows me to ask the tough questions and dig for effective answers and solutions, not follow a party line. As someone who grew up in this district, and who is now a mother of two young, school-aged children, I have a unique perspective on the challenges facing schools, teachers, and parents today. As a small-business owner, I know the practicality needed to address operational and budget deficiencies faced by the state. We need a representative who will do more than show up; we need a representative who knows what hard work looks like and isn’t afraid to get the job done.

What three issues do you feel are most important to voters in your district?

Voters in my district, including Democrats, Republicans, and Independents, are very clear. We must focus on health care, education, and putting a stop to partisan gerrymandering. Texas has the highest uninsured rate in the country, including the most uninsured children. It’s time to stop playing games and expand Medicaid in Texas. Texans deserve the care they are already paying for. I am committed to expanding access to quality and affordable health care, not limiting it. That means fighting for the Affordable Care Act and making sure insurance companies won’t deny coverage for preexisting conditions, reducing the cost of prescription drugs, increased access to mental health services, and actually protecting access to reproductive health care services, not using fake science to pass laws getting rid of it. We need champions of school funding, not opportunists to make unsustainable tax cuts. The last time we faced a significant budget shortfall the first place Republicans went to raid funds was in education. We still haven’t recovered. Investing in education and workforce development will allow us to be ready for the in-demand jobs and industries that will help in this recovery and in the future. Finally, it’s time people choose their representatives, not the other way around.

If elected, what would be your top priorities after taking office?

We are looking at going from a $2.9 billion surplus to a $4.6 billion deficit in the next legislative session. There are tough choices ahead of us that will have a real impact on people, so we need leaders who aren’t beholden to corporate PACs, lobbyists, or special interests. This campaign is powered by people and this district demands a representative who understands that and listens to everyone. We have to leverage the federal tax dollars Texans send to Washington and get them back to expand Medicaid and provide health care for millions of Texans. We have to protect school funding, lest we repeat the billion-dollar cuts Republicans made in 2011 in an effort to pass a budget. We cannot cut funding to public education. We need a representative that puts people over politics and is willing to put a stop to partisan gerrymandering and to finally pass common-sense gun legislation.

How has the coronavirus pandemic shaped your priorities?

This pandemic has highlighted many of the inequities in our communities, and at the same time, has only strengthened my resolve to address them. Health care is at the top of that list. We must expand Medicaid, protect the Affordable Care Act, and get real relief for working families. Gaps in infrastructure and educational spending are more apparent now than ever. Protecting workers and uplifting small businesses will be necessary to recover from this pandemic effectively and permanently. These are values that Democrats have always prioritized, but they are more critical now than ever.

For incumbents: What do you consider your most significant accomplishments in office? What would you change?

N/A

For non-incumbents: What, if anything, would you do differently from the current officeholder?

I would lead by representing the full diversity of this district. I put people before politics and before party. This district has become accustomed to leadership in the style of former Speaker Joe Straus, a Republican, who I may not have always agreed with, but who always tried to do what was right instead of what was politically expedient. That’s the kind of leader I will be. Whether you’re a Democrat, a Republican, or an Independent, the job of representative is to listen and create policies that improve the lives of all Texans. This can’t be done by just showing up. This requires a leader who is prepared to do the heavy lifting and who will work with people regardless of their zip code or party affiliation.

San Antonio Report Staff

San Antonio Report Staff

This article was assembled by various members of the San Antonio Report staff.