Democrat Candace Valenzuela, a U.S. Congressional candidate from Texas, wants to reverse her past Republican hegemony in her constituency if in November 2020 she becomes the first Hispanic woman to win the political race in her area.
Valenzuela, 34, born in El Paso, Texas, competes with six other Democrats and five Republicans for a seat in the 24th District of Texas, whose incumbent is Republican Kenny Marchant, who has decided not to run for the next election.
“The purpose of accepting the nomination and achieving the result that leads me to win has to do with the lack of existing opportunities in my district for future generations in education and employment,” Valenzuela said in an interview with Efe.
According to the candidate, who seeks to repeat the phenomenon of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in New York, the best alternative to achieve these results is through the federal government, which is where “the funds” and financial incentives are found.
Valenzuela, who is currently an elected board member of the Carrolton-Farmes Branch School District, says she has the logistical support of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), made up of 30 congressmen and members of the Democratic Party of Hispanic descent.
Also, with a specialized technical team that will be responsible for promoting your campaign in conventional media and social networks. Among the specialists is the company that was in charge of the advertising of former President Barack Obama.
But to win in Texas’ 24th congressional district, which covers portions of three counties in the northern part of the state and is made up of 68.7 percent whites and 24.4 percent Latinos, Valenzuela must first win the March 3 primaries.
“I’m convincing the electorate that I’m the best fit because I’m like them, like more than half of the total population, with a college degree, with an average age of 34, which makes us a suburb with young families that needs a better future for our children,” he said.
Another goal of her political campaign is to attack what she calls the divisive rhetoric of President Donald Trump’s administration against immigrants.
“Her hurtful words directly affect our population, the Latinos, my students,” Valenzuela stressed.
One of the challenges the Democrat has set out to overcome in becoming a congresswoman is to look for viable alternatives to equalize the income of parents in her district to match the current high cost of living.
Another important issue, he said, has to do with the violence generated by the proliferation of firearms, which have caused massacres in recent years, such as the one in El Paso (Texas) last August 3 in a shopping mall, where 22 people died.
“They attacked the store where I used to go shopping with my family when I was a child. The aftermath of that massacre and others that have occurred in recent years are irreversible, as has happened to a very close friend who escaped the attack and now has to deal with those memories every day of her life,” she said.
According to Valenzuela, her childhood in a border town was difficult because of financial problems that once forced her family to sleep on the streets, spend the night in homeless shelters or in acquaintances’ houses.
His great-grandfather came to the United States from Durango (Mexico) and participated in the First World War. Later, his grandparents fought in World War II and his parents met on a military base while both served in the army.
“But my mother was able to overcome those crises and in a few weeks we were able to find a stable place to live, eat and continue going to public schools,” recalls Valenzuela, who carries her mother’s last name because when she gave birth at the hospital “no one believed her husband was military.
Upon graduating from high school, Valenzuela was awarded a scholarship to Claremont McKenna University in California, where she earned a Bachelor of Government degree.
Then, married, she returned to Texas, where she currently lives with her husband Andy, a Houston native, and her 10-month-old son Jacinto.
When the Texas state legislature passed SB4 in 2017, authorizing law enforcement officers to inquire into the immigration status of people during routine traffic stops, Valenzuela ensured that certain protocols were carried out in her district’s schools.
“Our obligation is that parents feel safe going to pick up their children at school and that no immigration authority enters our schools in any way,” the Democrat said.