I am a proud husband of 22 years and a father of four children. In our community, nothing in life is more important than family. That’s why I’ve spent the past decade fighting for all of Texas’s 5.4 million students as our community’s representative on the Texas State Board of Education. 

By working together with Democrats and Republicans, I’m proud that we expanded services for students with disabilities, opposed high-stakes testing, and created the first-ever statewide course on Mexican-American Studies – enabling students all over Texas to learn about great leaders like Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta.

I’ve seen how the Texas Legislature makes life harder for our community. They’re too busy playing politics or just ignoring us. State leaders should be helping us make South Texas the leader in today’s economy. Our families deserve better, starting with more support for our schools.

No one in the race to represent us in the legislature is better prepared to lead on education. As state representative, I will continue to make education my top priority. We need to raise teacher pay, reduce burnout, and eliminate the STAAR test. 

Ensuring our schools stay safe, healthy, and open should be an all-hands-on-deck effort. The state promised thousands of COVID-19 tests to help our schools safely reopen, but many of those tests were never delivered. When I learned about the problem, I partnered with local pharmacy providers to make thousands of free rapid tests and immunizations available to schools all over South Texas. 

As your state representative, I will also fight to expand Medicaid and make healthcare and prescription drugs more affordable. Too many families have to choose between food or their medicine. I’ll never forget meeting a hungry student who told me he was saving his lunch money for his uncle, who couldn’t afford diabetes medication. What child should feel that responsibility?

And how many of us were shivering without power last winter? Instead of punishing the power companies, the legislature let them raise our electricity rates for the next ten years. They let us freeze, then stuck us with the bill. And now, heading into what could be a record hurricane season, we still have flooding and drainage issues that should have been addressed long ago. We must do better – and that means repairing our aging roads and bridges and easing congestion at our ports. 

These are life-and-death issues that cannot wait. The good news is that we have the power to address them all. 

Together, we can bring the fight to Austin to make sure South Texas gets our fair share. We can work to make sure high-paying jobs are waiting for our students when they graduate. South Texas should be the Silicon Valley of renewable energy. We’re home to rich green energy resources and the state’s only international spaceport. Our time to lead is now. 

Our vote is the most powerful tool we have to change our world. We can do anything when we work together, and I believe fighting for our families is something we can all agree on.

We have much to do together. I look forward to hitting the ground running as your state representative.

God bless you and your family,

Ruben Cortez, Jr.

Editor’s Note: The above guest column was penned by Rio Grande Valley native Ruben Cortez, Jr. Cortez is running for the open Texas House District 37 seat. The seat is open because state Rep. Alex Dominguez has chosen to run for Texas Senate District 27. The above guest column appears in the Rio Grande Guardian with the permission of the author. Cortez can be reached by email via: [email protected].

Editor’s Note: Ruben Cortez, Jr., provided the Rio Grande Guardian with a list of community leaders endorsing his candidacy. Here is the list:

Texas Sen. Roland Gutierrez

Texas Rep. Terry Canales

Texas Rep. Oscar Longoria

Texas Rep. Sergio Muñoz, Jr.

Texas Rep. James Talarico

Texas Rep. Christina Morales

Gloria Casas, La Feria ISD Board of Trustees

Juan Briones, La Feria ISD Board of Trustees

Alma Botello Martinez, La Feria ISD Board of Trustees

Lisa Montalvo, La Feria ISD Board of Trustees

Steve Brewer, former La Feria Mayor

Miguel Salinas, Board President LaSara ISD Board of Trustees

Eloy Castaneda, Lasara ISD Board of Trustees

Rolando Velazquez, Lasara ISD Board of Trustees

Viola Vela, Lyford ISD Board of Trustees

Heather Scott, President Point Isabel ISD Board of Trustees

Cynthia Cantu, Point Isabel ISD Board of Trustees

Alicia Baldovinos, Point Isabel ISD Board of Trustees

Berta Zamora, Point Isabel ISD Board of Trustees

Jimmy Vela, former Point Isabel ISD Trustee

Rene Valdez, former Point Isabel ISD Trustee

Barry Patel, former South Padre Island Mayor

J. J. Zamora, Port Isabel Mayor

Martin Cantu, Jr., Port Isabel City Commissioner

Carol Lynn Sanchez, San Benito Mayor Pro-Tem

Joe Hernandez, former San Benito Mayor

Pete Galvan, San Benito City Commissioner

Rene Villafranco, San Benito City Commissioner

Ramiro Moreno, San Benito CISD Board President

Dr. Ariel Cruz, San Benito CISD Board of Trustees

Rudy Corona, San Benito CISD Board of  Trustees

Orlando Lopez, San Benito CISD Board of Trustees

Mario Silva, San Benito CISD Board of Trustees

Oscar Medrano, San Benito CISD Board Secretary

Anna Cruz, former San Benito CISD Trustee

Fatima Huerta, former San Benito CISD Trustee

Melissa Guadiana, San Perlita ISD Board President

Nora Vasquez, San Perlita ISD Board Vice-President

Nena Cavazos, San Perlita ISD Board of Trustees

David Rodriguez, San Perlita ISD Board of Trustees

Larry Cantu, South Texas ISD Board of Trustees

BEST/AFT Brownsville Educators Stand Together

Texas Valley Educators Association

Texas American Federation of Teachers

Texas State Teachers Association

Javier Loredo, Former La Feria ISD Trustee

Mario Luis Gonzalez, Primera City Commissioner

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