Celina Montoya is running for State Representative (D-121).
Celina Montoya is running for State Representative (D-121). Credit: Bonnie Arbittier / San Antonio Report

To the voters of House District 121,

The state of Texas is at a crossroads. We are days away from electing new leadership to our local, state, and federal government. In these times of division, we have an opportunity to build a team of conscientious leaders who will work together to improve our state and secure our future.

Texas has always been a state that bucks tradition. One where there is no “little guy,” just little ideas. I’m writing today to ask you to think big. Think beyond party, think beyond special interests, think of yourself, and where you want Texas to be 20 years from now.

Now is the time to elect leaders who will design the framework that will define our future. You get to decide what that future looks like. Do you want more of the same dysfunction in Austin? The same arguments over bathroom bills and partisan politics?

We have a chance to elect a leader who understands the community, reflects their values, and gives selflessly. Now is the time for new leadership. We cannot afford to make the same mistakes or to put our faith in systems that only serve to pull us further apart. Elect a leader who will lead despite what we’ve been doing all along because what we’ve been doing all along is no longer working. Elect a leader who understands that our community is more than District 121, or one school district. Elect a leader who has the capacity, the tenacity, and the will to solve hard problems because we can do better.

If you’re reading this, it’s probably because you care about this race. Maybe you live in House District 121, maybe you voted for Joe Straus, the current officeholder. Maybe you are concerned about paying your property tax bill next month, or the quality of your child’s school. Maybe you have never missed an election or maybe this is your first time voting. Maybe you are a Texan born and bred or maybe you’re a transplant. All of these variables exist because we are all a part of this community, and that is something I understand better than any other candidate.

I’m a product of this community, its public schools, its houses of worship. I attended Alamo Heights from kindergarten through graduating high school. It’s where I learned music, Spanish, and calculus, and where I found my love of learning. It’s where I experienced racism and classism first hand, and the issues that divide us. It’s also where I found compassion and community and my voice. These are the things that bring us together and make us a community. It’s where I met my husband and where I choose to raise my family – because this is my home. For better or worse, this is where I choose to be. I choose to do my best to work for the better.

Through my nonprofit, SAReads, I found how deeply collaborating with school districts, administrators, teachers, parents, and students all over San Antonio afforded me a level of insight into schools and districts very different from the one I grew up in. I came to know the realities teachers face and the demands on them to be more than teachers, but also social workers, therapists, and sometimes caregivers to our children. I see how those inequities persist, despite the efforts of our superintendents, school boards, and advocates. I see how now, more than ever, I can be a part of the change we need to solve these seemingly intractable issues.

Before the internet tore us apart, before our mailboxes were stuffed with smear pieces, we talked to one another. We talked about our schools as our children ran around the playground. We extended invitations to our churches so we could better understand one another. We put people over politics, and we looked out for one another. This election is not about who can hold the line for special interest groups. This election is not about the loudest voices or the deepest pockets. This election is about working for everyone, and giving a voice to all of our collective priorities. I humbly ask you to let me be that voice for District 121.

Celina Montoya is a native of San Antonio. She earned her B.S. in Journalism from The Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. She has a background in broadcast news...