BROWNSVILLE, RGV – Ruben Cortez has announced he is running for the Texas Senate District 27 seat currently held by state Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr.
Cortez, like Lucio, is a Brownsville native. He has served three terms on the State Board of Education (SBOE). Before that he was a trustee on the Brownsville ISD board. He is known as a passionate supporter of public education.
Cortez made his announcement in a video message posted on Facebook on Labor Day, traditionally the start of election campaigns. The Texas Democratic Party primary takes place March 3, 2020.
Part of the video is in English and part in Spanish. It shows the recent shooting tragedy in El Paso.
In Spanish, Cortez says: “No somos menos que nadie, no somos insignificantes, no somos un pueblo sin voz o sin voto, somos el valle del sur de Texas y no nos vamos a dejar.”
In English, that means: “We are no less than anyone, we are not insignificant. We are not a people without voice or without vote. We are the Valley of South Texas and we will not leave.”
In his video, Cortez is highly critical of Sen. Lucio, who has served the people of District 27 since 1991.
“During those three terms (on the SBOE) I have witnessed our senator right here in the Valley, in South Texas, elected by us, consistently break his promise to carry forward the Democratic Party values at a time where our solidarity and our collective strength could right this state and this country,” Cortez says.
“We are led by a senator who sides against us. Our voices are silenced and replaced by special interest groups and Trumpist Republicans that he seems to be loyal to.”
In the video, just as the audio mentions “Trumpist Republicans” a picture of Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick appears. Patrick is one of President Trump’s biggest supporters in Texas. He was was Trump’s campaign chair in Texas in 2016.
Last week, Lucio announced he would be hold a couple of town hall meetings with Patrick in the Rio Grande Valley. Speaking at a meeting of the Lower Rio Grande Valley Development Council, Lucio promised the town hall meetings would not be political in nature. Rather, he said, they would focus on the 86th Legislature pumping millions of additional dollars into public education.
Cortez’s video continues: “We need leadership who is focused on standing up for those voices who have been historically and systematically disenfranchised. We can no longer allow anything less than respect and equality be sent our way.”
Cortez’s video adds: “We are home to hope, to hard work, to fair chances and open hearts. Our families have helped build this country. And we must ensure that we continue to lead it.”
The video concludes with Cortez stating that his campaign for the Texas Senate “is guided by our collective desire to return our Valley and South Texas voice and perspective to Austin and correct the wrongs committed against us by our senator.”
He concludes: “Together we can pledge to keep a new promise to our children, to our families and our neighbors. Together, we can change Texas, one vote, one person, at a time.”
The video closes with a list of four groups that Cortez says are endorsing his campaign. They are: McAllen Federation of Teachers, PSJA Federation of Teachers, National Association of Letter Carriers Brownsville, and Brownsville Educators Stand Together.
Lucio began his public service in 1971, becoming Cameron County Treasurer and later Cameron County Commissioner. After having served two terms in the Texas House of Representatives, he was elected to the Texas Senate in 1991. He is third in seniority and chairman of the Senate Committee on Intergovernmental Relations.
Editor’s Note: Karen Reyes contributed to the above news story.