U.S. House, TX-35
I am the son of Mexican immigrants, a labor and community organizer, a proud AFSCME-1624 member, the youngest person ever elected to the Austin City Council, and national co-chair of Local Progress.
Before being elected to City Council, I was an organizer and then Policy Director at Workers Defense Project, Texas’ immigrant worker center. As an organizer, we organized to win improved working conditions from major construction companies and also won historic labor policy protections from Austin City Hall.
On Council, I have been worked alongside the community to deliver real change for working families. I worked with AFSCME to raise the minimum wage of city workers and employees of contractors from $7.25 to $15/hour with health care and sick time. I worked with Planned Parenthood to stop the State Legislature from closing the city-supported clinic in East Austin. I successfully led the effort to clear the decades-long backlog of sexual assault evidence kits and expanding shelter for survivors of family violence. I authored the “Freedom City” policies which reduced discretionary misdemeanor arrests in San Antonio, Austin, and San Marcos, and ended all arrests and fines for personal marijuana possession. I helped lead the statewide lawsuit against SB4—the “Show Me Your Papers” law—and to establish publicly funded immigrant legal defense funds across multiple cities to keep families from being separated.
Working Texans deserve a progressive champion who will fight and deliver for Medicare For All, good jobs, reproductive rights, a functional electric grid, and a better Texas.
I have dedicated my life to organizing alongside working people to fight for themselves and their communities. I am running for Congress to fight for, organize with, and improve the lives of working Texans and to advance the progressive movement.
I was elected to the Austin City Council in 2014 and have spent the last seven years championing progressive policies including paid sick days, clearing the rape evidence kit backlog, passing the largest affordable housing elections in the South, reducing discretionary misdemeanor arrests in San Antonio, Austin, and San Marcos, and ending all arrests and fines for personal marijuana possession. Every step of the way, we’ve shown that when working families’ lead, then politicians must follow, and that we can deliver real progressive victories in the heart of Texas.
We’ve done all of this while those with power, especially those like Gov. Abbott, have fought against us every step of the way. The Texas state government continues to fail working families. The state has banned most abortions and has repeatedly suppressed voting rights. When our state froze, millions of Texans were abandoned for days without power and water and some even died. In the pandemic and the Winter Storm, Governor Abbott took care of big businesses rather than the sick, the unemployed, and the working class.
To truly take care of Texas and protect civil and constitutional rights, we need to override officials like Abbott through federal legislation, door-to-door organizing, and a stronger labor, environmental justice, and racial justice movement.
Our nation faces one crisis after another, and our government continues to fail the everyday people who struggle to make ends meet. I believe in the power of everyday people who are organized and committed to positive change. Right now our government is too often trapped by the status quo—by those who currently have power, or money, or status. We know that the world can be different, and much better, when the voices of working people are heard.
I incorporate organizing into my work for criminal justice, labor and worker rights, affordable housing, environmental justice, and tenants rights. My team has committed itself to building a model of governance that works in direct relationship with movement organizing – creating relationships of accountability, trust, and shared purpose, establishing ‘inside-outside’ organizing campaigns that create ‘inside’ policy through deliberate ‘outside’ political action (like Paid Sick Days or Housing Bond campaigns and collaborating on criminal justice reforms with the Black Lives Matter movement), prioritizing co-governance models that open up opportunities for organizing at the local level (creating public hearings for police contract negotiations for the first time, participatory budgeting for local infrastructure), and using our resources and position to build democratic membership organizations (for example, we helped start Building and Strengthening Tenant Action, supported formerly incarcerated organizing via Fair Chance Hiring campaigns, and pressed forward pro-union and pro-worker organizing policies). I believe this model should be implemented at all levels of government and I intend to continue this model as a Congressman.