The 435 members of the U.S. House of Representatives introduce bills and resolutions, offer amendments and serve on committees. District 23 stretches from El Paso’s Lower Valley through West Texas to San Antonio. U.S. representatives get paid $174,000 per year.

Who’s running for this seat?

Tony Gonzales, a Republican and the incumbent in Texas’ 23rd Congressional District, did not respond.

John Lira, 41, a Democrat, is a policy and program manager.

Frank Lopez Jr., 56, an independent, is retired.

Candidate Questionnaires

Candidates were asked to limit their responses to 100 words. Responses have been lightly edited for grammar.

What steps would you support to address current migration issues at the border, both short-term and long-term?

Tony Gonzales: No response.

John Lira: America’s immigration and asylum laws are outdated and not befitting a nation of immigrants. To fix the multitude of issues on our southern border, we need to update our asylum laws to include orderly and streamlined processes for asylum hearings and investments in the federal immigration courts and refugee processing centers. Migrants who do not qualify for asylum should receive temporary work visas so they can be part of our economic revival in Southwest Texas. Long-term, we need to create a national U.S.-Mexico border commission of academics, demographers, local community leaders, and national security experts to develop American solutions.

Frank Lopez Jr.: The agencies of the federal government are not enforcing immigration laws, they are spending billions to incentivize and facilitate the massive movement of people across the southern border as they continuously burden communities. We must enforce existing immigration laws, stop sending money to other countries for their national security and we must focus on our own porous border.

We must reinstate proven policies and initiatives that allow Border Patrol to actually patrol the border. Homeland Security agents are processing claims which should be handled by the State Department outside the country. Title 42 was used to deal with COVID and should be used in a more robust manner.

International commerce in El Paso is a major economic driver. What policies or programs will you work on to enhance and protect that trade?

Tony Gonzales: No response.

John Lira: Binational trade with Mexico is critical to Texas and U.S. economies. We must invest in international ports of entry to allow for a greater flow of commerce with greater security to prevent smuggling. I will also push to revive rail freight lines that have been closed for decades. I will support legislation that facilitates tourism, commerce, and cultural exchange between Juarez and El Paso; and increased security. For example, I will introduce a bipartisan 21st century work visa program that will increase the number of work visas to help fill critical labor shortages in our farms, ranches, and warehouses.

Frank Lopez Jr.: Economic growth comes from entrepreneurs investing their own money, not from politicians risking tax dollars. I would collaborate with federal entities, state and local stakeholders to address obstacles impacting economic growth in El Paso and neighboring populations. We must also look for best practices which can act as templates for other parts of the 23rd District.

In light of Roe v. Wade being overturned, what, if anything, should the federal government do about women’s health care issues and rights?

Tony Gonzales: No response.

John Lira: Denying women the right to make decisions about their bodies is un-American and an extreme violation of their human rights, freedom, and dignity. As a concerned girl dad, I believe the federal government must take a stand and protect women’s rights to decide their own futures by establishing Roe protections into federal law under the 14th Amendment. Women’s health care is at risk of being set back generations due to draconian state laws that criminalize abortions. The federal government should invest in women’s reproductive health clinics and offer abortion services in federal clinics and hospitals that do not fall under state jurisdiction.

Frank Lopez Jr.: Roe v. Wade was overturned by the Supreme Court because the proper role in our constitutional republic is for the states to discuss and debate the issues. Health care for women is available via public initiatives and health insurance.

What steps should the federal government take to address climate change?

Tony Gonzales: No response.

John Lira: Climate change is making Southwest Texas hotter and drier, decreasing water availability, and increasing the cost of energy. These extreme weather patterns are hurting our farming, ranching, and hunting industries; and causing energy prices to rise. The federal government must also address the increasing scarcity of water. We must reduce the cost of energy in America. The federal government should continue to invest in more cost-efficient forms of energy like wind, solar, and geothermal. More efficient sources of energy will reduce costs for businesses and families. Texas-23 should lead the way. I support a national carbon reduction strategy to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.

Frank Lopez Jr.: The U.S. has laws and programs in place to address emissions and pollution. We cannot continue to raise the budget for climate change initiatives because the cost to taxpayers and consumers is staggering. The U.S. has placed a significant burden on American society and corporations to address climate change as other countries fail to address pollution.

What steps should the federal government take to address inflation?

Tony Gonzales: No response.

John Lira: Families have suffered economically due to the pandemic’s impact on the domestic labor market, international supply chain, and turmoil overseas. The federal government can address inflation by prioritizing investments in domestic production which creates local jobs, reduces shipping costs for producers, and lowers prices for consumers. Congress must invest in domestic production of critical goods and services such as the domestic semiconductor and computer chips industry so we do not have to rely on a foreign supply chain for our most vital goods. Volatile energy costs are adding to inflation. Congress must also invest in new technology to lower energy costs for businesses and households.

Frank Lopez Jr.: Most American households and small businesses use common sense approaches to manage their budgets. Approaching the annual budget from a “zero” starting point makes sense. Wise stewardship by elected representatives demands that the Congress at least attempt to be cost-effective and be willing to vote no to out of control spending. Increasing federal spending will not bring down inflation.

Read more about this race

Back to Voter Guide