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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.
Link to campaign website:
Education background/degrees earned:
A four-year Air Force ROTC scholarship took me from John Jay High School to Boston University, where I graduated with a BA and MA in Economics, and a BA in East Asian Studies. I also earned an MA in Global and International Studies from the University of Kansas. I attended the U.S. Army Command & General Staff College and graduated from the U.S. Army School of Advanced Military Studies with an MA in Military Arts and Sciences.
Current occupation, employer, or job title:
Democratic nominee for Texas’ 23rd Congressional District
Previous elected offices held and/or sought:
Ran for Texas’ 23rd Congressional District in 2018.
Why do you feel you are the best candidate for the office you are seeking?
My story begins more than 40 years ago, when my mom came to this country as a domestic helper for a shot at the American dream. She raised my sister and me on her own here in San Antonio, while working multiple jobs and long hours. But she reminded us every day that we were so lucky to be born in the United States, and that we had to give back to the country that had given us so much. Her example and our Catholic faith have guided my life of public service. It’s why I served in the Air Force and in Iraq, and it’s why my sister serves in the Navy to this day. From the military to the Executive Office of the President, I spent nearly 15 years working to protect our national and economic security, and I know that protecting our country begins with protecting our families, our jobs, and our health care here in Texas. That’s why I’m running for Congress – to protect the opportunities that allowed me to grow up healthy, get an education, and serve our country, because every family in this district deserves the same opportunities my family had.
What three issues do you feel are most important to voters in your district?
Good-Paying Jobs: Every hard-working Texan deserves a level playing field and the opportunity to secure a good-paying job. We can recover from our current economic crisis by creating more jobs in this district by attracting new industries, supporting our small businesses, and making investments in necessary infrastructure like reliable broadband access so we have a strong and growing middle class.
Quality, Affordable Health Care: South and West Texans deserve quality, affordable health care. Unlike my opponent Tony Gonzales, who supports “eliminating” the Affordable Care Act, I believe we need to protect the ACA so that patients with pre-existing conditions like asthma and diabetes can’t be denied care by insurance companies. We should also work to rein in costs by lowering premiums and deductibles, make prescription drugs cheaper, and expand access to care, including by strengthening our rural hospitals and community clinics.
First-Class Public Education: From giving teachers what they need to do their jobs to equipping our students with the skills required to succeed in our changing economy by investing in our trade schools and advanced skills training, a first-class public education is the key to a better future for our kids.
If elected, what would be your top priorities after taking office?
What matters to Texans in this district is exactly what matters to me. We need to invest in working families, which is why I’m fighting for investments like advanced-skills and jobs training, paid sick and family leave, and more support for small businesses so that Texans can secure good-paying jobs and build a path to the middle class. I’m also fighting for quality, affordable health care because I’ll never forget the fear I felt when my mom told me she’d been diagnosed with colon cancer – the fear of losing my mom, and the fear that her treatment might bankrupt our family. Her health care through her job as a public school teacher saved her life, and I’m committed to making sure every Texas family has that same fighting chance. And it was my public school education that allowed me to earn a four-year Air Force ROTC scholarship that took me from John Jay High School here in San Antonio to college and on to the Air Force and Iraq. I deeply believe that every student should have the opportunity to receive a quality education regardless of what school they attend and where they live.
How has the coronavirus pandemic shaped your priorities?
COVID-19 has hit our communities hard – Bexar County especially. Many of us have lost loved ones to this pandemic, or have personally battled this disease. Many more have lost their jobs, or had to shut down their business, and are still hurting months into this crisis. We have to end the partisan conflict in Washington, which has stopped working families and small businesses from getting the coronavirus relief they need while big corporations have been bailed out time and time again. And we have to listen to the medical experts who are saying that we need widespread testing, contact tracing, and adequate supplies of PPE so that we can safely go to work and send our kids to school. This pandemic has shown us why we need leaders who will fight for working families, for quality, affordable health care, and a first-class public education system, so that our communities are never again this vulnerable to a crisis like the one we’re experiencing, and so we can build an inclusive economic recovery that helps us come back stronger.
For incumbents: What do you consider your most significant accomplishments in office? What would you change?
For non-incumbents: What, if anything, would you do differently from the current officeholder?
Unlike the current representative and my opponent Tony Gonzales, I would not support efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Without the ACA, nearly 2 million Texans would be stripped of their health care, and more than 300,000 Texans with pre-existing conditions in this district alone – including survivors of COVID-19 – would be at the mercy of insurance companies who could jack up the price of their care or deny them coverage completely. Seniors could be charged more than young people and pay more for prescription drugs, women could be charged more than men, and young people would no longer be able to stay on their parents’ insurance until age 26. These ongoing efforts to repeal the ACA are plain wrong and especially cruel in the middle of a pandemic. This district is already one of the most medically underserved parts of Texas, and our community would only suffer more without the ACA. Health care is incredibly personal to me, and that’s why I’m fighting to protect the ACA and build on it through a robust public option plan that would expand access to care and lower costs for working families.