MCALLEN, RGV – Former U.S. Rep. Rubén Hinojosa has urged his former colleagues to vote for Nancy Pelosi as speaker of the U.S. House.

Hinojosa served with the California Democrat for 20 years. 

“After seeing the results, my party, the Democratic Party, will be in the majority in 2019 and it is up to my colleagues that are now in Congress to vote for a speaker of the House,” Hinojosa said.

“I happen to have worked for 20 years with Nancy Pelosi, the first woman to have ever served as speaker of the House of the United States Congress. So, I have a lot of respect for the work that she did and the tremendous amount of legislation that was passed under her speakership and with the help of President Barack Obama.”

Nancy Pelosi

Hinojosa served as the representative for Texas Congressional District 15 for 20 years, between 1997 and 2017. The seat is anchored in Hidalgo County, where Hinojosa was born.

He gave an exclusive interview to the Rio Grande Guardian and RGV Public Radio 88 FM while attending a ribbon-cutting ceremony for Doctors Hospital at Renaissance’s Wellness Institute in McAllen. Hinojosa was accompanied by his wife Martha.

Without being asked, Hinojosa volunteered the most significant legislation passed while Pelosi was Speaker of the House. She held this post from 2008 to 2010. 

“We got a tremendous Affordable Care Act passed into law for many, many, millions of people who were not insured because of high insurance costs. In some cases the insurance companies would not insure them because of pre-existing conditions,” Hinojosa said.

“In fact, I was the chairman of the subcommittee for higher education, and some of that legislation went through our committee. I played a big role in supporting it and working closely with speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and with our president, Barack Obama, who signed it into law.”

According to political analysts, the Affordable Care Act has played a big part in the outcome of recent congressional races. In previous years, many Republicans ran successfully on a “repeal and replace” platform, promising to get rid of President Obama’s signature piece of legislation. 

Republicans controlled the White House, the Senate and the House from 2016 to 2018 but still could not “repeal and replace.”

In this year’s midterms, many Democrats ran successfully on a platform to save the Affordable Care Act. Healthcare was their No. 1 issue on the campaign trail, while many GOP candidates for Congress barely mentioned it. 

“This (the Affordable Care Act) was something that was extremely important in the elections this month,” Hinojosa noted. “I think that some changes for the better are going to occur now that there is a majority of Democrats running the House of Representatives.”

Hinojosa said it is not just the pre-existing condition part not the Affordable Care Act that makes the mammoth bill popular.

“Many things were subsidized so that working families who could not afford insurance policies are now able to do it. I believe President Obama and his administration and many of the leadership in Congress and the Senate were very smart in getting something passed that is just as important as social security is for senior citizens,” Hinojosa said.

“It is a piece of legislation that was long overdue. It has not been defeated because the people of the United States have seen the benefits and the improvements. Right here in the Rio Grande Valley there was 40 percent of our population that did not have insurance. Now it is down to 18 percent. That is more than half.

“So, yes, I believe that it (ACA) was a very important component in people’s minds as they voted. And I honestly believe that our country is going to see some improvements with what occurred in this election of Nov. 6.”

Another good thing that will come about as a result of Democrats running the House, Hinojosa said, is that President Trump’s agenda will be slowed down.

“Many of the things that he says and does are, in my opinion, miscalculated and I believe that he needs to be slowed down. We need to take a look at what changes for the betterment of our country are needed, starting January 2019.”

Hinojosa acknowledged that he misses being a member of Congress.

“I miss being in Congress. I hope we will continue to see prosperity for our United States of America,” he said.

“If I were in Congress, I would vote for Nancy Pelosi,” Hinojosa added.

Editor’s Note: The main image accompanying the above story shows former Congressman Rubén Hinojosa and his wife Martha outside the new Doctors Hospital at Renaissance Wellness Institute in McAllen.