You know about six and a half years ago I met Dr. Eliza Alvarado. It seems like I have known her a lot longer than that. What I can tell you is, I recognized very quickly that this woman is very smart, she has vision, she has heart, her passion is her community, the Valley, the people here.

It took me a little while to figure out what she does because one day she was in my office and she says, well, I am here with this volunteer organization and we need to get everybody to vote. We need to get all our seniors to vote, our teachers to vote. So, I am here to get everybody out to vote.

Then, another time she comes to my office and it was, we need to get broadband out to the community. We need to get broadband out to the colonias.

Then, another time she is in my office and she is like, we need to get more students interested in healthcare, medical research.

Finally, I said, what do you do?

It turns out that she does a lot.

I do not know how she has the time for everything that she does. But I do know that somebody that works that hard, with that much passion, that is certainly somebody I want to support.

What is the kind of person I want to support? Well, we need some new blood. We can see how things are stalling in Washington, D.C.

I think we need someone who is educated. Eliza went to George Washington University, in Washington, D.C., where she got her Master’s degree. She went to the University of Texas at Dallas where she got her PhD. She certainly prioritized getting an education.

As I mentioned, she is hard working. She is focused. She is civic minded. I will give you some examples. Two examples of that.

We need some change, we need some new blood, some fresh ideas. But we also need someone who can hit the ground running. The nice thing about Dr. Alvarado is she is experienced because she worked in Washington, D.C. She served Congressman Hinojosa as an administrator in his office where she did a lot of work on constituent services. She also did a lot of work supporting the committee that the congressman sat on. She did bill markups, so she knows about legislation and what it takes to work on the language of a bill and what it takes to work on getting a bill passed.

As far as experience, Washington is also a big, bureaucratic monster, right Congressman (Ruben Hinojosa)? It is a big bureaucratic monster. But, Dr. Alvarado also worked in the U.S. Department of Labor. She worked as a compliance administrator. She worked on making sure that all the regulations, all the rules were followed. She worked on equity, she worked on fairness, on justice, on making sure that all of those things were there. So, she has experience working in a congressional office, working inside one of the big administrative departments there in Washington, D.C.

But, she is also well grounded. Of course, she knows the Valley and she had to come home to the Valley. So, she did return to the Valley and began working for the Border Health Coalition, where she worked on one of the branches, which is quality of life. Healthcare quality of life. There she did grant writing, helped start up a nonprofit organization.

Then she went to work at Doctors Hospital where she focused heavily on workforce development and she helped to write and secure one of the biggest workforce grants – $2.6 million – that the state has ever given to up-skill healthcare workers, to help our young people and our workers get better jobs, better paying jobs. But also (to) help those who need healthcare to have qualified people and skilled people taking care of them. And so there, at Doctors Hospital, she worked on workforce development, education, reaching out to the schools, which I shared with you, how she came to visit me on their behalf.

One time I kind of mentioned to her and the people at DHR that there is a huge shortage of nurses and there has been for a long time. It still needs a lot of focus. I mentioned to her, why don’t we develop nurses right out of high school? Well guess who jumped and took off running and getting people together and partnering? Well, she was a leader in starting the first in the nation, where students got their RN license at aged 18, right after high school. (Applause).

So, with that experience she began reaching out to Region One, to other high schools, other school districts all across the region and she transitioned over to Region One and showed her passion for education. And so she started working there as part of a team applying for innovative grants, federal grants from Washington, D.C., to help develop career pathways, to help young people too connect to health career pathways. And that is the work she is still doing today. She is part of the team that helped bring in millions of dollars to help thousands of our young people get the experience and begin their path in the field of healthcare.

So, you can see from some of her work there that she has worked on collaborating. When she was in the Border Health Coalition, she helped set up collaborations with mayors and other political leaders across the Valley. When she was there at Region One she worked with superintendents and other school districts leaders and teachers, and so forth.

Eliza is a leader, she is a problem solver, she is an innovator. Anybody that knows her knows that she is also very tenacious. Right mayor (Ambrosio Hernandez) ? Would you say that Eliza was tenacious? Yes. She is tenacious, she doesn’t give up. She is a fighter. She is passionate. She is a giving person. She is service oriented. She is honest. She tells you what she thinks. And, like I said, she is extremely straightforward.

Eliza is also humble. Almost all of the work that I talked about that she did, she did the leg work, the grunt work. And a lot of times other people were the ones getting all the recognition for it. Not that they did not do anything, but that somebody behind the scenes, not taking all the credit, was Dr. Alvarado.

To me, what I would say, one of the most important things, as I consider her a very good friend… and I can tell you one thing, if I am facing a challenge, if I am facing a fight, you know who I want in my team? Dr. Eliza Alvarado.

So, I would challenge you and ask you to join me in giving Dr. Alvarado your vote, give her your support, whether it is through campaigning, work, financial support, and words of encouragement. This woman, Dr. Eliza Alvarado, I am proud to tell you is the right person we need in Washington, D.C. (applause).

Editor’s Note: The above commentary was given by Dr. Daniel P. King, a consultant on eduction matters and a former superintendent of Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD, at a fundraiser held for Congressional District 15 candidate Eliza Alvarado. The fundraiser was held at the Pump House at Fireman’s Park in McAllen.

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