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Commentary Election Politics

Why I’m running as a Democrat for mayor of El Paso

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By Carlos Gallinar

Under the El Paso Municipal Charter, city elections are non-partisan. This means that City Council elections cannot be done through a party primary system, similar to other elections that are held in March. However, no language prevents a candidate from being honest about his or her political affiliation during, or after, a municipal race. And this is important. 

These times call on us to be very clear about our values. There should be no room for ambiguity. I believe that El Pasoans deserve to know how the mayor will govern and what principles the mayor will employ when elected. If we can begin to be transparent in our campaigning then we can begin to be transparent in how we will lead. 

Carlos Gallinar

This is why I am running as a Democrat for mayor of El Paso. 

When I was growing up in El Paso’s Mission Valley, I would often hear my father, a maintenance worker, speak about John F. Kennedy. Un democrata who facilitated his immigration to the United States. 

My parents came to El Paso in 1970 after meeting in Ciudad Juarez. My father would say that this move changed his life and by extension the lives of his children and our future generations. That a scrawny kid born and raised in El Paso’s Lower Valley to working-class parents, and a first-generation college graduate, is now running for mayor of his hometown is testament to my father’s words. I don’t take this lightly. 

My political values — while initially imparted by my parents — were shaped and solidified by this community. And while I recognize that no political party is perfect and that our American democracy and systems of government need reform, I am proud to run as a Democrat. It is still the only party that reflects my values and principles and provides the aspirations I want for every person regardless of how they look, who they pray to or not, who they love, or where they may live. 

The Democratic Party is about providing opportunity. As new Americans, my parents reminded us that we must make sure that opportunities given to our family also are made available to others. These include, among many, the right to migrate to the United States, the Pell grant that helped fund my education at El Paso Community College and UTEP, and today, the ability to provide affordable health care for my family through Obamacare, and the opportunity to start a small business. 

As a Democrat for El Paso, I will address climate change and create jobs around solar and clean energy. I will stand up for our border community and work with our congresswoman to advocate for comprehensive and humane immigration reform. I will work to create economic prosperity for working families, call for police reform, and ensure that we have a City Hall that encourages diverse voices and includes robust and equitable public participation. 

We will protect voting rights, provide affordable housing, and rebuild our historic neighborhoods. And more importantly, our administration will prioritize a robust COVID-19 response and lead with science and facts to make sure every El Pasoan is safe and healthy. 

We have a Republican president who has destroyed our country and caused great harm to Latinos and our border region. Voters have a right to know where their candidates stand on the issues so they can make an informed decision in November. 

During the most important election of our lifetimes, El Pasoans deserve nothing less than transparency and clarity from the people seeking to earn their votes. 

Carlos Gallinar is a native El Pasoan. For the last three years, Carlos has managed his own small business, Gallinar Planning & Development, LLC which focuses on community development and urban planning. 

Cover photo: El Paso mayoral candidate Carlos Gallinar campaigns at San Juan Recreation Center on Feb. 26. By mid-March, campaigning before large groups became virtually impossible because of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo courtesy of Carlos Gallinar)

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