If you’ve picked up the politics section of a national newspaper in the last month, you’ve almost surely seen a headline about the fight for South Texas in this year’s midterm elections. We are told that Latinos are increasingly dismayed by Democratic candidates and turn to Republicans like Donald Trump. We are told that the fate of the United States House of Representatives rests on South Texas. These headlines tell us what the pundits think, but they aren’t the full story.

Amid all the hysteria over South Texas turning red, out-of-state folks often overlook that the fight for South Texas is also a fight for representation that meets our communities’ needs. Up and down the ballot, South Texas Democrats are fighting for high-paying jobs, affordable access to health care, and strong public education for our kids. 

State Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer

Texas Democrats have been the last line of defense against attacks on workers, women, and frankly, the entire Latino community. Last session alone, Democrats fought back efforts by Republican extremists to dismantle our voting rights, raise our taxes, jail teachers, and defund our schools. 

As Republicans prepare to wage war in the 88th Legislative Session, it will once again be up to Democrats to hold the line. Voters in South Texas will decide who will be manning the barricades, and we need a champion like Ruben Cortez in Texas House District 37.

Ruben Cortez was born in Brownsville, started a family and raised his four children there, and has been an active member of the community for decades. Ruben has stood with workers and educators since he was first elected to the Brownsville ISD Board of Trustees. He supported our students, teachers, and parents throughout the pandemic. As a member of the State Board of Education, he fought to make our Latino history available to all Texas students.

I have served with hundreds of lawmakers over my twenty years in the Texas House of Representatives. As a leader in the Democratic caucus, I am always thinking about what’s coming down the road: the next attack, the next fight, the next threat to my constituents’ rights. Looking ahead to the challenges we will face in the 2023 legislative session, I know who I would rather have standing beside me when our communities come under attack. 

Ruben has a proven track record of defending our values and fighting for all. We need him on the frontlines as Republicans continue to force their way into South Texas and weaken the voice of Texas Latinos. We cannot afford to risk this seat on Ruben’s opponent, who made his money running a child prison for the Trump Administration and has donated nearly ten thousand dollars to the Republican Party of Texas and Sen. John Cornyn. It’s no surprise that Luis is being supported by a shady network of organizations, funded by privately run charter schools that want our public school tax dollars. 

That’s what makes races like Texas House District 37 so important. We will either gain a champion like Ruben Cortez who will fight alongside fellow Latinos and Democrats in the Texas Legislature, or we will risk handing Republicans a reliable vote against our communities’ interests. Those are the stakes when you cast your ballot in this runoff. Election Day is May 24 and early voting runs May 16 through May 20. I urge you to make plans to vote and support my friend Ruben Cortez for Texas House District 37.

Editor’s Note: The above guest column was penned by state Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer of San Antonio, Texas. Representing Texas House District 116, Martinez Fischer is serving his tenth term in the Texas House of Representatives. The above column appears in the Rio Grande Guardian with the permission of the author. 

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