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Thank you for the opportunity to discuss some of the policies I think are crucial to our communities and our country today. As many of you likely feel, I believe that this election is the most important of our lifetime. That’s why I’m glad to have the opportunity to share with you why I’m running for Congress.
Like many Texans, I grew up knowing what it means to struggle. I’m the granddaughter of tenant farmers who settled in Muleshoe, which sits in the panhandle of Texas. My maternal grandparents, with sixth- and fourth-grade educations, worked hard to provide for their 14 children. My mom, one of only two daughters, was only able to finish ninth grade. She raised me and my three siblings after my parents divorced, working in the low wage job that her limited education made possible.
I was a teen mom, like my mom before me, and learned the fear and anxiety of lying in bed at night worrying how I was going to keep the lights on and a roof overhead. I worked two jobs and still couldn’t make ends meet. Many times, I stood at the grocery store checkout, having to decide what I needed to put back because I didn’t have enough money to pay for the food my daughter and I needed.
But I made it with the help of scholarships and my family. Going from community college to Texas Christian University and on to Harvard Law School, I worked hard so I could give my kids, and now my grandkids, a brighter future than earlier generations of my family had.
When I became an elected official, I sought that job so that I could fight for everyone to have the same opportunities that I had. And I worked with both parties to get things done on behalf of Texans because I felt my constituents deserved not just a fighter in their corner, but someone who could actually get things accomplished for them. As a Texas state senator, I was an independent voice for Texas families. I led the fight against a state budget that defunded Texas’ schools by $5.4 billion and held a 13-hour filibuster on the Senate floor when Republicans tried to shut down 37 women’s reproductive health centers.
Working across the aisle, I authored or joint-authored more than 70 pieces of legislation with Republican support, like creating more funding for veterans services and tax breaks for veterans and their spouses, cracking down on predatory lending practices that prey on military families, and working to eliminate Texas’ rape kit backlog. In Congress, I’ll continue to work with leaders in both parties to protect people’s health care, including protections for people with pre-existing conditions, lower prescription drug costs, raise the minimum wage, protect Medicare and Social Security, and will listen to public health experts to get our small businesses and schools reopened safely.
Throughout this campaign, I’ve carried with me the stories of Texans I’ve met who work more than one job and still can’t seem to make ends meet. I’ve focused on families who’ve lost loved ones because of the pandemic and who’ve lost jobs. I’ve put together plans to give small businesses needed financial support, to provide supplemental unemployment benefits for those who’ve lost a job, to provide paid sick leave so workers don’t have to go to work sick or can stay home to care for a loved one in need. I’ve focused on supporting our public schools and providing access to affordable higher education, including vocational training.
Though this district is made up of urban, suburban, and rural communities alike, stretching from San Antonio to Austin and including much of the beautiful Texas Hill Country, I’ve learned in my many conversations with voters throughout the diverse communities across this district that they share the same priorities. They want access to good health care, quality schools that are safe from gun violence, clean air and water for themselves and their children, good-paying jobs and the ability to retire securely and with dignity.
Now, more than ever, people deserve a straight-shooter who will fight for them and their families, not corporate special interests. Our communities deserve a leader who will put science first and act responsibly to get people back to work and school as safely as possible. I’ll work, as I always have, across the aisle – putting this community before political party to be the voice they need in Congress.
It would be an honor and a privilege to serve you. Thank you for the opportunity to provide you more information about myself. I hope to earn your vote, and even if I don’t, I’ll fight hard to make sure your voice is heard in our nation’s capitol.
Read opponent Chip Roy’s commentary here.