Texas’ 16th Congressional District is an open Democratic seat. The current incumbent, Beto O’Rourke is running for Senate against U.S. Senator Ted Cruz. Veronica Escobar just won the Democratic primary which is tantamount to winning the seat. If elected, Veronica Escobar, a third-generation El Pasoan, would be the first Latina ever elected to the U.S. Congress from Texas. In a state that is 40 percent Latinx and with the current administration’s stance on Mexican immigrants, Escobar plans to give border communities a new champion in Washington.
Background and Achievements
Veronica Escobar grew up in El Paso where she left to obtain her Master’s Degree in English Literature at New York University. After doing so, Escobar returned in 1993 to teach Chicano literature at the University of Texas at El Paso. While teaching there, she joined advocacy efforts for the Border Rights Coalition (now the Border Network for Human Rights). Escobar eventually became co-chair of the coalition which sparked the growth of her passion for public service. Escobar also became the Executive Director for Community Scholars, a local non-profit organization that hired high school students to do public policy research and produce reports about El Paso’s challenges and opportunities. She first served one term as El Paso Count Commissioner. Not long after, Escobar ran for El Paso County Judge, which she won and served for two terms until deciding to run for Congress. Sand the four other members of the county commissioners fought to build El Paso’s first children’s hospital, extended health care benefits to domestic partners of LGBT city and county employees, and passed a resolution denouncing Texas’ “bathroom bill,” which would prevent transgender students from using the bathroom of their choice.
Escobar has been widely honored for her advocacy and humanitarian work. She received the “Women of Integrity” award from the Women for an Ethical El Paso in 2007, the “2008 Elected Official of the Year” Award given by the National Association of Social Workers, the “Human Rights Safe Communities” award given by the Border Network for Human Rights in 2009, and the “2010 Elected Official of the Year” presented to her by the Rio Grande Council of Governments, and the TAMACC 2014 Women of Distinction Award.
Positions on Key Issues
- Comprehensive immigration reform
- Advocate against the efforts to implement border tariffs
- Expand protections for workers, local businesses and the environment
- Grow jobs and raise incomes for El Paso’s hard-working families
- Expand access to affordable healthcare for the El Paso County Hospital District
- A strong voice for the values of Border communities
Prospects & Opponents
El Paso is a solidly blue district that was in strong support of Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential election. Due to the political makeup of the District, Escobar won’t face any significant challenge from a Republican candidate. The current congressman Beto O’Rourke, is publicly backing Escobar, which also gives her a major advantage in the race. Escobar’s candidacy has been highly supported by the Latinx community with a long list of Latinx celebrities and politicians supporting her campaign.
- Feminist Majority
- Emily's List
- Latino Victory
- BOLD PAC
- National Nurses United
- Poder PAC
- End Citizens United
- League of Conservation Voters
- Democracy for America
- Texas State Teachers Association
- SEIU Texas
- Congressional Progressive Caucus
- Progressive Change Campaign Committee