The first candidate to challenge Republican Rep. Will Hurd for the Texas 23rd Congressional District seat is a native of San Antonio, an Air Force veteran, a former member of the National Intelligence community, and an out lesbian.
In announcing her candidacy on August 2, Democrat Gina Ortiz Jones said, “I’m running to make sure everyone gets the opportunities that I have had. I’ve seen from my work representing U.S. interests around the world what happens when people don’t get the opportunity to succeed. Our national security starts at home, and it starts with the opportunities that allow for our most vulnerable to become our most promising.”
Jones moved back to San Antonio from Washington DC in June and is living in the house where she grew up on city’s northwest side. Her partner, who is a professional photographer, is still living in DC.
Jones is a graduate of John Jay High School who was raised by a single mom who came to U.S. from the Philippines. She earned a BA and MA in economics from Boston University which she attended on a four-year Air Force ROTC scholarship.
After serving in the Air Force for three years, Jones pursued a career in national security, intelligence, and defense which included working for the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency. Most recently, she was employed in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, where she worked until last spring when she decided to move back to San Antonio and run for Congress.
Although she is the first Democrat to announce her run against Hurd, there are three others who are expected to compete in the March 2018 primary. They include former U.S. Rep. Pete Gallego from Alpine who previously held the seat; federal prosecutor Jay Hulings from San Antonio; and Judith Canales, a USDA administrator from Eagle Pass who served in the Clinton and Obama administrations.
Congressional District 23 encompasses a stretch of Texas from San Antonio to El Paso. Hurd has held the seat for two terms. “I don’t know the man, but I know his voting record, and I know his voting record would affect families like mine growing up,” Jones told the Texas Tribune.
In an August 13 post on her Facebook page, Jones addressed the hesitance of some politicians to criticize the president and she denounced the white supremacists who were at the center of the tragic events in Charlottesville, Virginia.
“Yesterday showed us that we are being called to answer the most important questions of our time – Who are we as a country, and who are we as Americans?” Jones wrote. “These questions are about personal accountability and moral courage. We can no longer afford to be silent. And, it is not enough for our elected officials to merely voice their ‘disappointment’ when the person holding our highest office disparages women, minorities, and others similarly vulnerable. Expressions of disappointment are meaningless when compared to their deafening messages of support as expressed in their voting record.”
“We can, and we must do better,” Jones added. “White supremacy has no place in the land of the Free and home of the Brave. May our actions live up to the ideals of those who came before us and those looking to us today for leadership and compassion.”
Check out Gina Ortiz Jones’ campaign website at this link.