El Paso Matters sent questionnaires to every candidate in a contested primary race to help you decide who you want to represent you. Candidates were asked to limit their responses to 100 words. Responses have been lightly edited for grammar and to fit the word count.
U.S. House District 16: Democratic Primary
The 435 members of the U.S. House of Representatives introduce bills and resolutions, offer amendments and serve on committees.
Who’s running for this seat?
I love El Paso and have devoted my adult life to improving our community. My public service has and always will be singularly focused on creating better government, more opportunities for El Pasoans, and a better life for everyone in our community.
I have the necessary tools: resources, education, training, and experience to have a greater impact on the constituency. I am uniquely familiar with two of the largest and most critical professions in our nation: The Military and Law Enforcement. I am familiar with varying issues concerning these organizations as I have lived and experienced many of these issues both directly and indirectly. I have been the voice of many constituents for years now. It is my desire to serve. I am a pubic servant for life and that is what the 16th District needs for representation on Capitol Hill.
There are many issues which are always top-of-mind for our district, but this cycle, here’s what I’ve heard most from constituents:
- Economy — We need an economy that works for everyone and addresses chronic poverty and inequity. With Child Tax Credits, affordable higher education, and better wages, we can rebuild our middle class and strengthen our economy. I will continue to support legislation that lowers costs for hard-working Americans, and locally, I’ll continue to work to create better jobs and strong economic development.
- Affordable Healthcare — I support a single-payer healthcare system, and will continue to work to expand Medicare. I support President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda which will lower prescription drug costs, include hearing care within Medicare, and close the Medicaid gap to insure another 4 million Americans. Additionally, I’ve co-sponsored bills that expand coverage for Lymphedema patients, mammography, Alzheimer’s patients, mental health services, service animals for veterans, colorectal cancer, among others.
- Environment — El Paso continues to set annual drought and heat records. We’re facing the climate crisis head-on and the effects are undeniable. I serve on the Select Committee for the Climate Crisis, support many pieces of climate-forward legislation and will work with anyone willing to address this crisis.
- Mental Health — I will work tirelessly to educate the rest of the elected representatives on this subject matter and sponsor or cosponsor meaningful legislation to address this problem at its lowest level immediately.
- Education — I will advocate for legislation making parental involvement easier. I will advocate for Education to start at home with values, morals, and ethics. It is the responsibility of our future generation parents to instill those in our children. Our youth mimic what adults do and how they behave. Our education system must work diligently in conjunction with the parents. Their involvement is crucial in their children development. We must invest in our future generation’s education for them to succeed. Private and charter schools are both crucial in today’s economy.
- Justice, Military, and Immigration Reform — I will advocate to strengthen asylum laws, transparency and accountability. I will work tirelessly to see that issues such as justice concerning governmental misconduct and Law enforcement inappropriate usage of force are properly and timely answered. Concerning law enforcement, I will also advocate for vehicle pursuit and additional training. Respect is earned not given because of an individual’s rank or position. There must be a separate set of eyes to police waste, fraud, and abuse until agencies prove to the American people that they can gain our trust again.
It takes two parties focused on governing to address our nation’s greatest challenges. Unfortunately, one party has not expressed the same commitment to governance as we have. However, having said that, I’ve introduced and supported a number of bipartisan bills during my time in Congress. I have and will continue to reach across the aisle when it results in real, meaningful change for El Pasoans. The challenge to this could not be greater after the January 6 attack, but I will continue to seek avenues of unity and engage with anyone (regardless of party) seeking to improve our country.
As a former multinational joint logistics field grade officer, I have extensive experience in diplomatic relations with other countries around the globe. I believe in focusing and addressing the why. Knowledge is power but knowledge not share or pass on to others is knowledge wasted. It is not about we but about our constituents. We must learn to work together to reach a common goal.
We need multi-faceted reform and investment. Congress must:
- update immigration laws and open legal avenues for migrants;
- modernize border policies with focus on human dignity without sacrificing security;
- invest in border infrastructure (create POEs that can process asylees);
- reform immigration courts (make IJ’s article I judges to reduce backlog).
The President must work with Western Hemispheric leaders on addressing root causes and agreeing to a framework that shares the obligations, opportunities and challenges around increased migration. My work around immigration has focused on writing this legislation, working the appropriations and administrative process, and advocating with the White House to achieve these goals.
The federal government should strengthen asylum laws and hold necessary agencies accountable to properly review each credible fear case individually. There should be no more treating individuals like cattle. As a nation, we must regain our humanity and treat others with dignity and respect regardless of their nationality. I support the border wall in some areas but not in all areas as officer and immigrant’s safety can be at issue.
My House colleagues and I recently passed both the Freedom to Vote Act and The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. Both bills failed to pass the Senate. Hundreds of voter suppression bills in dozens of states across the country have been introduced since the 2020 election. It’s clear that we need to protect voting rights federally to make sure people have equitable access to the polls, while offering standardized early voting, no-excuse mail voting, and making Election Day a federal holiday.
The federal government should support our state and local government officials in having selected 24/7 manned and observed voting sites and I will work tirelessly to make Election Day a National Holiday, giving constituents time to cast their vote. I will advocate for community involvement with precincts to be up to date on yearly election matters.
The federal government has made at-home COVID testing available to all Americans, and mandated that insurance companies cover costs. Additionally, the government will also provide N-95 masks. We must also get vaccines to underserved populations across the globe. Additionally, we must make healthcare available to all Americans. In the last two years, we’ve seen how communities like El Paso that are chronically under-insured are at a greater health risk than others. We must protect our people by expanding affordable healthcare, not just in a pandemic, but permanently.
Both sides of the aisle must come together and set the example for others to follow. Let the experts in health services do their jobs and stop the political personal views of the pandemic. Our freedom stops when it affects the masses and those are our constituents.