Gina Ortiz Jones Knows How to Fight Against Trump—She Used to Work for Him

Culture


The statistics aren’t good. According to recent estimates, women make up just 20 percent of Congress and 25 percent of all state legislatures. Only six of our nation’s governors are women. But we are 51 percent of the population. And the research shows that when women participate in government, we make it run better, more collaboratively. Historically, women have needed to be convinced to enter politics. But within weeks of the 2016 presidential election, thousands of women announced they planned to run. And we want them to win. So we’re giving them a monthly example of a woman who has run. The point: You can, too.

Advertisement – Continue Reading Below

Gina Ortiz Jones is out to make history. As the Democratic candidate for Texas’ 23rd congressional district, she will go up against two-term Republican incumbent Will Hurd in November’s midterm elections. If she wins, she’ll become the first Iraq War veteran, first Filipina-American and first out-lesbian to represent Texas in Congress, and she’ll be the first woman to represent her district. It also happens to be Jones’ first time running for office, but she already knows what it means to serve her country. A former Air Force intelligence officer, Jones served as the Senior Advisor for Trade Enforcement, and was in the Executive Office of the President working on economic and national security issues under Donald Trump, before she decided to leave. She’s racked up endorsements from EMILY’s List, VoteVets, and Victory Fund—and she still has months to go. Below, she explains why she decided to run for office:

I know this country is special. My mother came to this country 40 years ago; she earned her undergraduate degree from the number one university in the Philippines, and she came here as a domestic helper. Like so many people, she humbled herself and jumped at the opportunity because she wanted a chance at the American Dream. So my sister and I, who she raised by herself, were reminded every day that our trajectory in life was, in no small part, thanks to being born in this very, very special country. That’s always stayed with me. I knew I would give back to a country that’s given me so much.

I’ve always looked for opportunities to best serve in any way that I can, and so I got into politics with that mindset. I saw that my community, the community that I grew up in, was not being adequately represented, and I thought I could bring the voice that was needed. Where I went to high school, we start with 900 kids and only 500 graduate. It’s a community of color, it’s lower income families. And frankly, I thought, [it’s] the type of community that would suffer the most under misguided policies.

Advertisement – Continue Reading Below

Under the current administration, I was a civil servant. You serve agnostic of the president. I wanted to see what good I could do from within the administration. The folks who were brought in to do the nation’s work were not interested in the public, much less service, much less public service. It was clear that I was going to have to serve my community and my country in a different way.

I know that there are not a lot of kids that go from reduced lunch to executive office of the president.

Personally and professionally, I’ve seen that talent is universal and opportunity is not. And I know that as somebody that is a first-generation American, somebody that was raised by a single mother and needed a little bit of help growing up. And by that, I mean reduced lunch, subsidized housing, all critical investments that allowed me to earn a four-year Air Force ROTC scholarship that took me from John Jay High School in San Antonio to Boston University. I served in National Security for 14 years. I was an intelligence officer in the Air Force and deployed to Iraq and served under Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. I would go on to advise on operations in America and Africa and wrapped up my career in the Executive Office of the President working on economic and national security issues. But I was always reminded of just how fortunate I was every time I walked into the Executive Office. I know that there are not a lot of kids that go from reduced lunch to Executive Office of the President. That doesn’t just happen. My country and my community invested in me.

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was an unfortunate part of our history. For me, and for so many others who served under that policy, it just reminds us that we are stronger when those ready and able to serve our country are afforded the opportunity to do so, especially as this administration works to make it more difficult for LGBT members to serve in the military. To me, national security is not just China, Russia, Iraq, Afghanistan. It’s also the pipeline of talent into national security. That starts not just where you recruit, but also how you invest in healthcare, it starts with investing in an immigration policy that respects our values, it starts with investing in public education to make sure that folks are adequately prepared to serve our country.

Advertisement – Continue Reading Below

Advertisement – Continue Reading Below

Having served under Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, even as a cadet at Boston University, I had first-hand experience of what it’s like to have worked hard for something and have that fear that it could be ripped away from you. If they found out I was gay, they would rip away my scholarship, my opportunity to get an education, my opportunity to serve my country, to die for my country, if need be. So that needless fear, that needless anxiety that I lived with, I have to think that somehow parallels the needless fear and needless anxiety that our DREAMers are dealing with because we have members of Congress that don’t have the moral courage to fight for our DREAMers and fight for a clean DREAM Act. I look forward to bringing that experience and fighting for our DREAMers.

If I won, I’d be the first Iraq War Veteran to serve from Texas. I’d be the first Asian-American to serve in Congress from Texas, the first woman to represent this district in Congress. I’d also be the first out-member in Congress from Texas. As amazing as all those things would be, I would be honored if I was not the last of any of those. To me, this is about protecting the opportunity so that my story is possible for others. And honestly, I ran for this not to be the first but because a member of Congress does three things: they create opportunities, they protect opportunities, or they erase opportunities. They do that with their voting record, they do that with their silence. And you and I have seen just how dangerous that silence can be.

I think each of us running knows that representation matters, and if we’re not at the table, then we’re on the menu.

Advertisement – Continue Reading Below

I’m honored to be part of such a qualified group of women, such a qualified group of female veterans running this year. And I think all of us just made the decision that somebody’s not going to do for us that which we can do for ourselves. And when you look at Texas’ representation, there are 36 people honored to represent Texas in Washington and only three of them are women. I think there’s a direct correlation between that level of representation and the fact that a woman who has a baby in Texas is five times more likely to die during that process than if she had that baby in California. So I think each of us running knows that representation matters, and if we’re not at the table, then we’re on the menu.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.



Source link

Products You May Like

Articles You May Like

My Antidepressants Made Me Gain 20 Pounds—And I Was Shamed For It
BBG Weight Loss Transformation | POPSUGAR Fitness
8 Gowns That Give You Princess Eugenie Vibes
Watch the Teaser Trailer for the Animated Movie “The Queen’s Corgi”
How Princess Eugenie Broke Royal Tradition With Her Second Wedding Dress

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *