ALTON, Texas – The Texas AFL-CIO COPE Board has endorsed Democrat Michelle Vallejo for the open Congressional District 15 seat in the Nov. 8 general election.

In the crowded CD 15 primary election and the subsequent runoff election, the Texas AFL-CIO COPE Board did not endorse a candidate. 

COPE (Committee on Political Education) is labor’s political arm. It screens candidates, makes endorsements, and provides donations to candidates. It also asks union members to vote for those endorsed candidates.

Labor unions need COPE for elections because, by law, no union dues may go to a candidate. All donations to the COPE Fund are voluntary and kept apart from union dues.

Vallejo, a small business owner and community leader from Alton, Texas, is running against Republican Monica De La Cruz in the November general election. The seat is open because the incumbent U.S. Rep. Vicente Gonzalez, D-McAllen, chose to run in neighboring Congressional District 34. 

Vallejo was added to Texas AFL-CIO COPE’s endorsed list of candidates on June 27. A couple of weeks earlier, with the recount complete, Vallejo declared victory in her runoff election against Ruben Ramirez. She issued this statement about her narrow victory:

“With the recount completed, I am so honored to be the Democratic nominee for Texas’ 15th Congressional District. I thank the hardworking election officials who made sure each and every vote was counted.”

“South Texans are ready for a new generation of leadership that will prioritize the needs of working families. I am ready to keep fighting for our pueblo, and the chance to become the first woman to ever represent Texas’ 15th Congressional District.” 

“The stakes this November are too high — Monica De La Cruz is pushing an extreme right wing agenda that would put our rights on the chopping block. Her tactics would strip us of our dignity and our deep South Texas principles of fighting for a better life, like affordable health care for all, livable wages, and bringing good paying jobs to our frontera. Now more than ever, it is time for the Democratic party to unite behind one candidate who will stand up for our home and community’s interests, not the interests of the far right national agenda. I am humbled by TX-15 voters putting their faith in me. I am ready to fight for us all.”

“Together, we are building a movement that is reclaiming the power of South Texas and one that will make history this November. ¡Vamos Por Quince!”

Meanwhile, Vallejo has been added to the highly competitive DCCC ‘Red to Blue’ Program, which arms top-tier candidates with organizational and fundraising support.

DCCC stands for Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. It is the official campaign arm of the Democrats in the House of Representatives.

“I am immensely proud to be added to the DCCC’s ‘Red to Blue’ program,” Vallejo said. “With so many of our rights under attack, I am committed more now than ever to fight for affordable healthcare, good paying jobs, and a woman’s right to choose in South Texas. I am confident the DCCC will ensure that Texas-15 is a priority in Texas and nationwide. ¡Vamos Por Quince!”

DCCC spokesperson Monica Robinson issued this statement about Vallejo:

“Michelle Vallejo is the champion South Texans need in Congress. Born and raised in the Rio Grande Valley, she understands the experiences of South Texas families who have worked hard for what they have because she’s lived it. In sharp contrast, Monica De La Cruz faces allegations of cruelly mistreating a child in her care, opposes infrastructure upgrades and creating new jobs in the Valley, and would gladly toss out your vote if she doesn’t agree with the outcome of an election. The DCCC is proud to back Michelle Vallejo, and we look forward to working alongside her from now until November.”

Editor’s Note: The main image accompanying the above news story shows U.S. Rep. Vicente Gonzalez with the person he hopes succeeds him as member of Congress for Texas Congressional District 15 – Michelle Vallejo. The two are participating in the City of McAllen’s 4th of July Parade, 2022.

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