Friday, March 18, 2016

No Room For Chumps Or Trumps In Congress

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Blue America endorsed Sonny Palacios in a crowded TX-15 primary early in February. It's an open blue district-- Obama won 57% both times-- and the March 1 primary yielded two Democratic candidates, Sonny and the wealthy conservaDem Vincente Gonzalez, who put $1,000,000 into his own campaign. He outspent all 5 other candidates in the primary combined. Don't believe me when I say this guy is trying to buy the election? Look:




We endorsed Sonny because his platform and campaign promises matched his public record. When we've talked with him over the moths he's been all about challenging "the political status-quo on issues-- from voter rights, protecting Social Security, a full employment economy, a universal national healthcare and economic justice and a government controlled by citizens, not corporate elites." He has been a strong advocate for public education and a means of advancement for people in South Texas. And he's been strong on women's equality and LGBT equality in a race where speaking up is not always the most politically convenient thing to do.

"I have two daughters whom I adore," he told us recently. "I tell everyone publicly and at every town hall, that 'I will be damned if anyone or any politician is going to tell my daughters what to do with their bodies.' Those women health rights are human rights and those decisions solely belong to them. I will fight for every woman across this nation and for their human rights! I have also fought locally on the Edinburg CISD school board, as a school board member, to help 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. I was happy to march with the Stonewall Democrats during the MLK march last month. I will fight to make this American Dream an equal opportunity for all. I am PRO-Rights!"

The run-off between Sonny and Gonzalez is May 24. Sonny is proud outspoken progressive, a proactive leader with valuable experience as a community leader, school board member, attorney and single father. Gonzalez is hard to pin down. To one audience he'll claim to be progressive and to another he'll call himself a conservative Democrat. He told a students event that he had voted for Bernie Sanders and a few days later sent out a mailer saying he was a Hillary Clinton endorser. He's very much like Trump in that way... He says whatever pops into his mind based on who the immediate audience is. People in McAllen are calling him the "Trump of South Texas." And, like Trump, he talks a good game about women but his actions speaker louder since, like Trump, exploiting women is part of his business model. He swore in the McAllen Municipal Court (case number 2010-00096858) that he owned the Longhorn Saloon, a topless bar and strip club, which was eventually closed down due to illegal prostitution and drug trafficking on the premises. You cannot run for Congress and claim to be a champion of women’s rights when you're enriching yourself by prostituting vulnerable women.

Nor is that the only way he exploits people. As a shark-like attorney, he kills clients with hard-to-understand fine print that has his standard 40% attorney's fee ballooning to over 90% of settlements. When one client complained he threatened to have her deported.

During the McAllen Citizens League Forum at the Salvation Army, Gonzalez clearly stated that he wanted to cut federal funding for education. He doesn't have any children so hires actors to play his children when he attempts to portray himself as a family man in ads, but this is a district where voters understand the importance of more support for public education, not decreased support.

The picture up top portrays not just a frightening similarity to Trump's self-absorption, but a disrespect for what the flag and the Pledge of Allegiance symbolizes-- and from a candidate, again, like Trump, making grandiose, empty promises to veterans. Nor has he even bothered to vote much-- just three times since 2002-- at least in Texas. Since he has homes in New York, Aspen, Spain,and Cancun, maybe he's been voting there.

Gonzalez's tag line in Spanish reads: "Vicente Con la Gente"-- literally "Vicente is with the people." Like Trump, he is clearly not with anybody but his own self-interest and the people that he pays off. He would make a terrible member of Congress at a time when we're trying to rebuild and reform a severely broken institution.

Gonzalez, like Trump, has done well in the primary and has made it into the runoff but there was 56.73% of the district that did not vote for him and it is unlikely that voters will change their minds in the May 24th runoff. Sonny Palacios overcame four other candidates, without over-spending in his campaign and won a spot on the runoff without a million dollars and without a bunch of paid-for endorsements. Sonny Palacios in Congress would be good for South Texas and help upgrade the institution. If you'd like to contribute to his campaign you can do it by clicking on the thermometer here:
Goal Thermometer

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