Charlottesville. Who would have thought that there were that many angry people filled with that much hate? I offer my full thoughts and prayers to the families of those lost, those injured, and to the community at large.
As a Mexican-American who grew up in a place where even the cemetery was segregated, I’ve seen my share of discrimination. But I’m deeply saddened to see that, in 2017, racist groups are more emboldened than ever.
We cannot pretend that this hatred is coming from ‘many sides.’ The hatred this weekend came from white supremacists and neo-Nazis. There should be no acceptable place in American society for them.
I’m glad that President Trump finally condemned these white nationalist groups by name. Unfortunately, it took incredible pressure from Republicans, Democrats, independents and others to get him there.
If President Trump wants his words today to be meaningful, he must:
- Fire Steve Bannon and any advisor who promoting white nationalism;
- End his racist pursuit of a ‘Muslim ban;’
- Stop pursuing a wasteful and divisive border wall; and
- End his offensive rhetoric against immigrants.
We are a nation made stronger by diversity. I see that every day in the 23rd District of Texas. From Alpine to El Paso, and San Antonio to Eagle Pass, everyone is unique and united as both Americans and Texans.
If we’re going to move forward as a country, we must put words into action. I’m ready to work with anyone to make that happen.
Together, we can and will rise above hate.
I began my congressional exploratory committee with an open mind and a lot of questions about what I’d hear from the hardworking folks who make this part of Texas home.
My questions were mostly simple ones: What is working and what isn’t? What keeps you up at night? What are your fears, your hopes and your goals for our country?
The voters in the 23rd Congressional District are as diverse as the terrain. The issues that shape the lives of families living here can’t be boiled down or simplified into a handful of talking points, but I’ve heard one issue wherever I go: People are scared about their health care. People are clear about wanting real solutions that repair what’s broken in our current health care system and build on what’s working.
In public comments, U.S. Rep. Will Hurd claimed my support for the Affordable Care Act was the deciding factor in our race. However, after voting nine times to repeal and insisting that Washington Republicans “have a plan,” Mr. Hurd has apparently changed his tune midsong.
Despite claiming to oppose the ACA, Mr. Hurd supported it as I had.
The truth is, Will Hurd and his Washington friends never had a “plan.” It was all just talk.
Here at home, Mr. Hurd saw what I have seen. Rural and small-town folks trying to save their local hospitals, people with serious illnesses like cancer or diabetes trying to hold on to their health care, everyday parents worried about taking care of their kids, and a huge backlash against Washington.
Mr. Hurd practices the politics of empty promises. It is long past time to stop the politics and fix the problems. People with pre-existing conditions, Americans struggling to make ends meet, and small businesses can’t sit by and wait as Donald Trump and his allies in Congress point fingers and make lame excuses. For premiums to drop, we need stability in the marketplace. People must know that there really is a plan — and they must know what’s in it.
Let’s have a transparent process, with congressional town halls and honest feedback from voters. That is what Texans need and what Americans want.
If Will Hurd and Washington Republicans really “have a plan” as Mr. Hurd said on TV, let’s see it. The Republicans’ closed-door meetings designed to hide the “plan” from the world only serve to scare people who could lose their coverage.
The decisions Congress makes about our health care will impact us now and for decades to come. It shouldn’t be about politics. It must be about developing a plan that works for everyone and keeps our costs down. After all, most of us know someone who has had cancer, diabetes or some other serious illness.
Here are the principles I believe in for a health care plan that works for our families:
- Health care must be affordable and available to more Americans, without discriminating against those with preexisting conditions.
- Medicare and Medicaid must be strengthened and defended.
- Veterans must be provided the support they’ve earned.
- Premiums must be kept low for small businesses so they can continue to grow. Small businesses are, after all, where most of us work.
- And finally, there must be support for preventative care so that the ER does not become the first line of defense.
It’s time to put aside politics and work together, across party lines, to fix the parts of our current health care system that are broken and build on what is working. This won’t be easy — nothing important ever is. But it’s time for our representatives to roll up their sleeves, show some courage and leadership, and deliver for our families.
Pete Gallego is a former U.S. representative who unsuccessfully ran against Rep. Will Hurd in the last election for the 23rd Congressional District.
Alpine, TX — Representative Gallego filed an exploratory committee on Tuesday, July 4th, in order to talk with voters and hear their concerns in light of the current political climate. “After the 2016 election, I did not expect to consider another candidacy. I thought that part of my life was over and I’d focus on my family, my teaching and my law practice. However, after seeing just a few months of Donald Trump as President, I can’t in good conscience stay on the sidelines.”
Gallego, who represented the district until 2015, spent over 20 years as a member of the Texas House of Representatives before being elected to Congress. As a member of the Legislature, he led on many issues, from border security to increasing investments in public education and public universities. From his time in the State Legislature and his time in Congress, Representative Gallego learned the importance of putting families above politics and of working with members from both sides of the aisle.
Representative Gallego knows that the current political climate and level of discourse has devolved to making bi-partisanship almost impossible. “Our core values are under attack. I worry about what it means for our future – I worry about what it means for the part of Texas I love and what it means for the country I want to leave my son. President Trump and his allies in Washington are taking us in the wrong direction – and we have a Congress that refuses to show independence, refuses to show a backbone, and refuses to hold Donald Trump accountable for his words and behavior. This is not about politics, this about who we are as a nation.”