From A Poor Family To Being In The Run To Becoming The First Latino Governor Of Texas, Meet Lupe Valdez
Former Dallas Sheriff Lupe Valdez is running to be the next governor of Texas. The openly lesbian gubernatorial candidate is currently 20+ points behind incumbent Gov. Greg Abbott but she hasn’t given up yet.
Gov. Abbott is the governor who signed Senate Bill 4 prohibiting “sanctuary cities” within Texas and has raised a lot more money than Valdez. Abbott’s campaign has raised $65 million to Valdez’s $500,000.
Here are some facts about Valdez and her campaign as she runs to govern the state of Texas.
Lupe Valdez has already made history as the first Latina ever nominated for Texas governor by a major party.
She ran against six other Democrats in the primaries and then, too, she was an underdog. One of her primary opponents was Andrew White, the son of former Texas Governor Mark White.
Her new goal is to become the first ever Latino governor of Texas.
Texas is nearly 40 percent Latino. Yet, it has not yet elected a Latino to govern the state. Texas also hasn’t elected a Democratic governor since 1990. Through it all, Valdez has continued her fight in the race despite the odds against her.
Valdez is from the poorest zip code in Texas.
In her campaign video, she shares the story of how she had to get on a city bus to get to school and would immediately go to the school bathroom to clean her shoes every morning. She was the only kid from a pueblo that didn’t have paved streets. She walked through mud and dirt to get to the bus stop.
Valdez is the youngest of eight children to Mexican-American migrant farmworkers.
Many of her siblings didn’t finish school and instead became farmworkers like their parents. One teacher in high school told her she had what it took to go to college and it changed her life forever.
She credits her mother for the courage and motivation to purse an education instead of working int he fields.
Caption: “Because of my mother, I went from the crop fields to the classroom. I was fortunate to succeed and be the first in many things, but I am running so that I am not the last. That is why we keep going—to fight so that others can follow in our footsteps. #WomensEqualityDay”
Valdez paid her way through a Master’s degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice.
She first earned her Bachelor’s in Business Administration from Southern Nazarene University and then her Master’s at the University of Texas at Arlington. Education is a major issue for the gubernatorial candidate.
On her campaign website, she says, “I am where I am today because a Texas public school gave me the opportunity to succeed. Our public schools are the path to opportunity, but for too many Texans, that opportunity is slipping away under the current Governor’s failed policies.”
She’s here to raise salaries for teachers, remove the burden of financing local schools from the communities and back onto the government where it belongs, and remove caps on special education funding.
Valdez joined the Army National Guard where she was elevated to captain.
She eventually became a senior federal agent at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, right when it was formed. Valdez understands the deep structural flaws of the Texas prison system because she worked it from a jailer to a sheriff.
Her campaign also stands to improve the quality of care for mentally ill inmates, to reform the cash bail system that implicitly keeps poor minorities behind bars, to decriminalize misdemeanor possession of marijuana and ban for-profit prisons.
At times, she even worked undercover.
This might be the raciest photo from a long history in investigating fraud in the United States to money laundering from drug lords in South America.
Valdez retired to run for sheriff of Dallas County, becoming the first openly gay Latina Sheriff in that position.
Valdez served for 12 years as Dallas County Sheriff and at age 70 she resigned as sheriff so she could campaign for governor for Texas. She celebrated her 71st birthday on the campaign trail with a cafecito y Topocito.
She’s a cop who believes the system needs to be reformed in the wake of Black Lives Matter.
“We must also work together with municipalities to strengthen the bonds of trust between police and communities and train our police forces to the highest standard, because better trained and accountable police forces means safer neighborhoods and safer cops,” reads her campaign website.
“Criminal justice has been the fight of my life, and I will push to make sure that Texas is on the front lines of the most effective and progressive practices and reforms possible.”
Some have criticized her for working with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) when she was a sheriff.
During her tenure, Valdez cooperated with federal immigration authorities by holding immigrants in her jail cells when requested and handing them over to ICE. That said, she famously and publicly clashed with Abbott when he signed SB4 into law.
Valdez was required by law to cooperate with ICE, for fear of losing federal funding, which resulted in the deportations of thousands of Dallas residents.
Valdez does not have the young vote.
In the September Quinnipiac poll, Sheriff Valdez’s favorability rating among young people is ten points lower than Governor Abbott’s. Meanwhile, one third of eligible Latino voters are aged 18-29.
In an interview with NPR’s Latino USA podcast, Valdez was adamant that Texas isn’t a red state, it’s a low voter state.
Valdez prides herself as being one of the people.
In her interview with NPR, you can hear her campaign managers trying to steer her to wear an apron, to sit down for one second, etc., but Valdez is the abuelita that cannot be steered.
She’s going to serve enchiladas to people and when she sits down for the interview, she says that she feels bad she’s not helping to load up the truck.
Oh, and this is her truck:
Caption: “While #GregAbbott flies around Texas on private jets loaned by his billionaire buddies, I’m chugging along in my pick-up truck meeting as many Texans as possible — face to face. Help us meet more Texans by donating at my website! LupeValdez.com”
The Latino community is stanning hard in the midterms.
One woman interviewed by NPR said of Lupe, “After Selena, there hasn’t been anyone that has impacted my life that I can see myself in, like a woman of color. She’s brown like me. She speaks Spanish and English like me. She reflects so many pockets of voters. She’s just like us. The other day a tree branch fell and there she was with a chainsaw, cutting it up so that it wouldn’t get in the way of pedestrians. Yeah, she’s one of us.”
Latinos have rallied hard for Beto O’Rourke, but have been lackluster for Valdez.
Valdez has known that her fight to become the next governor of Texas would be tough when competing against Gov. Abbott. Latino voters prefer Abbott over Valdez by 49 to 45 percent, according to a Quinnipiac poll.
Valdez is a fierce feminist.
“Here’s to strong women. May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them. #InternationalWomensDay”
And she gives her constituents donuts.
She’s getting one on one face time to talk about the issues that matter most to her: extending Medicare to the 76,000 Texan veterans without access to health care, ending gerrymandering by instead giving over the redistricting process to a nonpartisan commission and including more comprehensive protections for the LGBTQ community.
She loves her perritos.
I know. This is relevant information for your voting needs. I stand by it.
Whoever you’re voting for, just get out there, fam.
Latino voters are a force to be reckoned with this election. We need to turn out in full force so that we look back and laugh at the naming of our uprising as anything other than the Brown Wave. Nos vamos.