This is the second time Gina Ortiz Jones is running as the Democratic candidate in Texas’ 23rd congressional district. Two years ago, she narrowly lost to incumbent Will Hurd. He is a relatively centrist Republican also the only African-American Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives.
But Hurd is not running again, leaving the path open for an Ortiz Jones victory in November.
She is a first-generation American daughter of a single mother who immigrated from the Philippines. She grew up in San Antonio and hopes to represent the district that stretches from that city to El Paso and includes 550 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border. It’s also the only remaining district along the border represented by a Republican.
She attended college on a Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) scholarship, became a U.S. Air Force intelligence officer, served in the Iraq War, and eventually reached the rank of captain. She served under the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, meaning she would have lost her scholarship if her sexual orientation had been revealed.
“Forty-one years ago, my mother came to this country as a domestic helper. After graduating from the number one university in the Philippines, she jumped at the opportunity to come here, because America is the land of opportunity,” Ortiz Jones says as to why she is running for Congress. “That is our country’s promise to anyone willing to work hard, and it’s a promise that I’ve been fortunate to live. But that promise is under threat, and we need leaders willing to protect it.”
For more information, visit her campaign website