Gutierrez: the votes of teachers can make all the difference in my U.S. Senate race

MCALLEN, Texas – The support of teachers is crucial for Roland Gutierrez’s U.S. Senate campaign.

In fact, in a recent speech in McAllen, the San Antonio Democrat said members of the American Federal of Teachers could make all the difference in the race.

Gutierrez was awarded the “Acts of Courage Award” from Texas AFT at the union’s 31st biennial convention in McAllen. He pointed out that the union has 66,000 members. He said he knew everyone of them would vote. If each of the 66,000 teachers got five extra people to the polls, Gutierrez said, he could secure the additional 300,000 votes needed to change the political landscape of Texas.

Gutierrez, currently a state senator, is running in the Democratic Party primary for U.S. Senate. If he wins he mostly likely would face Republican incumbent Ted Cruz in the general election. His appearance at the Texas AFT convention in McAllen came before he officially announced he was running for the Senate.

Representing Uvalde in the state Senate, Gutierrez has made gun violence a top issue.

“I’m running for the U.S. Senate to fight back against the systems that have left so many Texans behind. Ted Cruz abandoned Texas long before he left us to die in the winter storm. Uvalde happened because Republicans neglected the systems in this state that are supposed to keep us safe. It’s time we turn frustration into action! If you want to make a better Texas, this campaign is for you,” Gutierrez said, when he launched his campaign last week. 

In his speech accepting AFT’s “Acts of Courage Award,” Gutierrez spoke about the death of two teachers in the Uvalde massacre, the 88th legislative session, his opposition to school vouchers, and efforts to change the political landscape of Texas. The event was held at the Embassy Suites Convention Center.

Here are some of his remarks in McAllen:

“I promise you this, they (Republican leaders in Texas) are not my friends and they’re not your friends. There might be a few Republicans in this room and I get that and I respect that. But at the end of the day, you need to understand that these people don’t have your back. 

“They don’t give us a seat at the table. I need you to know that. And the reason I’m talking to you like this is because we need you. I need you. You have 66,000 members in this union. Every one of you will vote, no doubt.

“The difference is 300,000. Three hundred thousand votes will change a statewide race in our state. I wasn’t great at math, but that’s five. Each one of you has to go to get five new new voters.

“And each one of you has to educate those voters as to what’s right. You have to tell them we’re getting screwed. You have to tell them we are getting scammed. And that’s the truth. 

“And you’re going to tell them that we’ve been neglected. It wasn’t just this tragedy that happened to these kids and these teachers. It was about the neglect of rural Texas, the neglect of Texas in general. Because 21 kids shouldn’t die. Eight hundred people shouldn’t die when it gets cold. Retired teachers should not have to figure out how to divide their medication. 

“This is real stuff, right? This is real life stuff.”

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