La Pulga, or the flea market, is a special place in South Texas where we all come together. For aguacates, tortas, friendships y mucho, mucho, mas. 

And every Thursday for almost 25 years, my family has run this pluga, right here in Alton. And now, I run it with my Dad. We serve thousands of people every week and help dozens of working class entrepreneurs. 

Like Martha, who has chosen to work here so that, as a single mom, she can be there for her sons. Or Aaron, who started working for his parents and now has a business of his own. 

Here, we like to say, no somos pulgueros. Somos vecinos y tambien, somas familia. Because we come together as a community to celebrate birthdays and quinceñeras, buy and sell goods from each other, and be together in the good times. But, most importantly, we always show up for each other in the hard times, lending a hand by selling chicken plates or raffle tickets to cover medical bills or funeral expenses. 

All along la frontera and throughout all of South Texas we look out for each other because no one else will. Because the politicians in Washington and Austin don’t see us as vecinos o familiares. They don’t see us at all. 

That’s why so many people, including my own family, have to go to Mexico to get medical care they can afford. And why so many people will work their entire life because they can’t afford to stop working, while politicians sell their votes to the highest bidder. 

My name is Michelle Vallejo and I am running for Congress to change that. 

So hardworking people like David get paid $15 an hour, not $7.25. Students like my cousin Wendy can go to college without drowning in debt. And no one has to leave home for medical care or medicine because everyone has Medicare for All. 

No somos pulgeros. Somos vecinos. And with new leadership from South Texas, we can finally have a voice in Washington. For our families. Por nuestros vecinos. Por fin. 

Editor’s Note: The above commentary was made by Congressional District 15 candidate Michelle Vallejo in a campaign video that was posted on her Facebook page. Vallejo, a Democrat, can be reached by email via: [email protected]

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