Friday, February 05, 2016

Blue America Endorses Sonny Palacios (TX-15)


TX-15 is a long skinny piece of gerrymandered south Texas-- they call it a "fajita strip"-- that starts in the suburbs northwest of San Antonio and at Seguin and meanders down to the Rio Grande Valley. It includes all of Duval, Guadaloupe, Jim Hogg, Brooks, Live Oaks and Karnes counties and portions of Hidalgo and Wilson counties. Most of the people live in the McAllen/Edinburg area, in deep blue Hidalgo County. Over half the votes from TX-15 come from Hidalgo and although Obama only beat Romney 57-42% districtwide, he took Hidalgo 70-29%. The district is over 80% Latino. They first elected moderate Democrat Rubén Hinojosa in 1996 and this past November announced his retirement. According to the U.S. Census the median income is $40,400 one of the lowest in the country. 25.4% of the families fall below the national poverty rate.

The district is blue enough so that it's safe to assume that whomever wins the Democratic primary will be the new congressman, although there are 3 whack job Republicans running (as well as 7 Democrats). How do I know the 3 Republicanos are what jobs? Although I included the video of a bipartisan candidate forum up top for another reason, I did watch the Republicans answer the questions; they're all whack jobs; one, Tim Westley said "God prompted me to run" and he sounds like to should be in a mental institution. One Hispanic Republican even said he'd support Trump if he were the GOP nominee; talk about self-loathing! Actually, the reason I embedded the video is because EMILY's List endorsed the woman candidate, Dolly Elizondo and is asking their members to contribute to Dolly's campaign. They're not telling their members that Dolly is a conservative, anti-Choice Democrat who uses the excuse of Catholicism for being against women's Choice, an issue she tries skirting around in the debate. (Watch her responding to a question at the 39 minute mark.)
Q: What is your stand on abortion and in Washington how would you take on this debate?

Dolly: I am opposed to abortion; I'm a Catholic...
Thanks, EMILY's List, always so eager to endorse conservative women that now they're even endorsing anti-Choice women! As far as I can tell the only progressive on that debate stage was Sonny Palacios who I've been talking to on the phone and who assured me he has every intention of joining the Congressional Progressive Caucus when he's elected to Congress. Blue America endorsed him and because his primary is March 1, he can use some help fast, something you can do right here. We asked Sonny to talk about his experience on the Edinburg school board and how that will inform his work in Congress. He told us that his family has deep roots in the Hidalgo County community and an equally deep love for public service. "My family values inspired me to be involved and take part in our community," he told us this morning.

Real Progressive Representation In South Texas?

-by Sonny Palacios
Candidate for Congress, TX-15
I wanted to serve my community where I believed there would be the largest impact and most meaningful and that was in the public school system. I ran and won a position on the innovative Edinburg Consolidated Independent School District school board in 2010. I am currently serving my second term. The school board has created a vast amount of projects that have gained us a great deal of recognition, not just locally and across Texas, but nationally as well. I aim at empowering youth, students, parents and educators. In my role on the Edinburg CISD school board, I helped lead the board from different executive positions throughout the years and with our team created new innovative projects and policies.

During my tenure at ECISD, I implemented a wide range of projects, including:
developed a full bullying and suicide awareness campaign
took on new green/ energy saving initiatives
developed a new high school
worked on successful project Labor agreements
improved playgrounds, classrooms and safe routes to schools
hired new teachers
gave district-wide raises
created a district-wide clinic with local hospital partnership
sought to expand and protect the LGBTQ community among students and employees
created new athletic director to focus on women’s sports
built performing arts building
grew district fund balance and created all this without raising taxes.
I was extremely proud that the Huffington Post recognized ECISD for our work on providing affordable healthcare to their students and families districtwide, providing a new school-based health center attached to the district headquarters. This was made possible by partnering with a private local hospital. For many Edinburg families this has been the first time they were able to receive care near their home, school, and work, and regardless of their immigration status. Thanks to additional support from another local health system, the 945-square-mile district will soon have two mobile clinics making scheduled visits to school campuses farther from the clinic site.

I also had the honor in working with our school district to take out the “Morality Clause” in our employment process. Until recently, an employee could get fired for being openly gay. I had them remove the clause to protect our employees even though our state Texas Education Agency still actively uses it. I went a step further and asked the school district to protect the LGBTQ community in the schools. To eliminate discrimination and bullying the school district adopted the LGTBQ community as a protected class. ECISD now empowers promising lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer students to achieve their full academic and leadership potential.

Now I want to take my leadership role a step up and impact the quality of lives for the families of the 15th Congressional District of Texas. My experience as community leader, elected official, attorney and father has prepared me to be a strong candidate and I believe I can serve this seat well and fight for South Texas families.

As I travel the 15th district, I hear and see a lot of constituents in small rural towns who need the help and want someone to pay attention to the needs of their communities. I want to be their new leader and help bring solutions and resources to rural American communities that have been left behind. I plan to be more responsive to all the counties and cities of the 15th Congressional District and I intend to show more accountability and transparency and bring the word “represent” back to the title U.S. Representative.
I don't recall a South Texas congressman in the Congressional Progressive Caucus. I get the feeling Sonny Palacios will be a valuable addition to that body and I hope you'll give him a hand winning this very much under-the-radar election. This is the Blue America ActBlue page where you can contribute to Sonny Palacios for Congress.

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