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From A Poor Family To Being In The Run To Becoming The First Latino Governor Of Texas, Meet Lupe Valdez

lupefortexas / Instagram

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.

CREDIT: @lupefortexas / Instagram

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.

CREDIT: @lupefortexas / Instagram

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.

CREDIT: LupeValdez / YouTube

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.

CREDIT: @lupefortexas / Instagram

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.

CREDIT: @lupefortexas / Instagram

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.

CREDIT: LupeValdez / YouTube

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.

CREDIT: “Officer in the Army Reserve, 1974″ Digital Image. Lupe Valdez Campaign. 30 October 2018.

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.

CREDIT: LupeValdez / YouTube

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.

CREDIT: “Sworn in as Dallas County Sheriff, 2005.” Digital Image. Lupe Valdez Campaign. 30 October 2018.

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.

CREDIT: LupeValdez / YouTube

“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.

CREDIT: @lupefortexas / Instagram

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.

CREDIT: @lupefortexas / Instagram

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.

CREDIT: @lupefortexas / Instagram

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:

CREDIT: @lupefortexas / Instagram

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.

CREDIT: @lupefortexas / Instagram

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.

CREDIT: @lupefortexas / Instagram

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.

CREDIT: @lupefortexas / Instagram

“Here’s to strong women. May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them. #InternationalWomensDay”

And she gives her constituents donuts.

CREDIT: @lupefortexas / Instagram

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.

CREDIT: @lupefortexas / Instagram

I know. This is relevant information for your voting needs. I stand by it.

Whoever you’re voting for, just get out there, fam.

CREDIT: @lupefortexas / Instagram

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.


READ: Trump Stokes Fear Of Immigrants As US Prepares To Send Thousands Of Troops To The Border

Please share this with your Tejano amigos and our allies. Gracias.

Latinos Are Expected To Make A Huge Impact During The 2018 Midterm Elections

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Latinos Are Expected To Make A Huge Impact During The 2018 Midterm Elections

sentedcruz / 80mphhair / betoorourke / Instagram

There is no doubt that Latinos will make an impact during the 2018 midterm elections whether it’s at the polling booth or running for office. Latinos are America’s largest minority group, surpassing black people as a percentage of the population, and statistics show they tend to vote Democrat. According to the Pew Research Center, over 29 million Hispanics are eligible to vote in 2018 and make up 12.8 percent of all eligible voters, which are both new highs. But what does this really mean if more than half of Latinos don’t go out and vote?

The Latino voter turnout rate in midterm elections has declined since 2006 reaching a record low of 27 percent in 2014. 

During the last midterm cycle in 2014, Latinos didn’t make much of an impact at the polls as there was only a 27 percent voter turnout rate, which was a record low. Dan Sena, Executive Director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), hopes that 2014 was a learning lesson for Democrats that showed Latinos need more than just likable candidates to go out in vote.

“What we saw in the previous midterms was a lack on engagement on behalf of voters that may have been due to several factors including building relationships with Latino voters,” Sena says. “It may not have been a priority in the past but this time around we want to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”

The DCCC is hoping to energize Latinos this year and not only get them vote but get them engaged in the political process.

The DCCC has put $30 million behind TV ads, mailing info and door to door campaigning in hopes of energizing Latinos and young voters to come to the polls. Their digital ads, which are Spanish language, have aired on Univision, Telemundo and other stations in eight large media markets including New Mexico and Texas. Sena says the organization began its campaign five days after Donald Trump was elected president in 2016. Sena feels that young voters will play a crucial part in whether Democrats can win back the house.

“Latino voters are looking to connect with Democratic candidates that stand on issues like affordable healthcare, education and jobs,” Sena explained. “We have spoken to many Latino families and these issues are a priority in many of their households.”

He feels that one of the biggest misconstructions of Latinos is that they don’t vote in as big numbers as other groups. Yet Latino voter engagement is one of the lowest among all minority groups in the United States. Sena says by getting to build these one on on relationships with Latino voters, the DCCC is getting to know what issues really matter to them.

According to the Pew Research Center, Latinos are more engaged in the 2018 midterms than prior elections.

According to The Pew Research Center, 52 percent of Latino registered voters say they have given the coming November midterm elections “quite a lot” of thought. That is a 16 percentage point increase from what they said about the last midterms in 2014. With that in mind, the DCCC hopes that interest will lead to votes on November 6. The DCCC has targeted 111 House districts this year which includes 29 where at least 10 percent of the eligible voters are Latinos. The hopes are that these votes lead to gaining at least 23 House seats and the majority in the House, currently controlled by the GOP.

Javier Gamboa, a spokesman for the DCCC, says that the organization has conducted a number of focus groups across the country, focusing on Latino voters who usually skip midterm elections, and have launched digital on real issues that affect hardworking Latino families.

“Our mission is to engage voters on issues that they care about and remind them of the power of their vote,” Gamboa says. “With all the backing and money we’ve put fourth, it will be Latinos that will be essential in flipping the House.”

Who are Latinos excited about in the 2018 midterms?

Sena says that this election cycle has seen some of the highest Latino participation than in recent memory and there has already been a great turnout when it comes to mail-in ballots. He says that candidates like Xochitl Torres Small in New Mexico, Gil Cisneros in California and Debbie Mucarsel-Powell in Florida are in tight races. Latinos can make a huge impact with their vote in these key races, according to Sena.

The DCCC’s TV ads will be airing in these districts but what makes these commercials different then your usual political ad is that they’re not designated for that local area. The ads touch on values that are important to the Latino household like health, family and jobs that aren’t specific to one state but the entire Latino vote.

“Our battlefield is big and diverse. We got an amazing young crop of candidates because there is a desire for change,” Sena says. “People are asking who’s going to share our values and our concerns. This election is a chance for Latinos to go out and make their voices not only heard but make them count.”


READ: From Governorships To Congress, These Latinos Want To Lead The Country With Their Community In Mind

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