I was born and raised in a working class family in South Texas, and graduated from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. My father is a respected football coach and teacher, and my mother is a caring nurse. I’m also very proud to come from a law enforcement family. My two brothers are Texas State Troopers, close relatives work in various levels of law enforcement, and my grandfather was a Justice of the Peace for many years in Jim Hogg County. My support system is mi familia, and they’ve always taught me to work for what I want and never ask for freebies. My late abuela, Maria, taught me to always stand up for those who can’t do so for themselves. She had to do so as a single mother raising my father and tio.
There was one cardinal priority in my family - and that is education. My father told me and my siblings that if we aren’t going to college, then we had 90 days to find a job and move out. So college it was. I signed up for financial aid through Pell grants, federal student loans, parent-student loans, and worked various jobs to get my college degree. More importantly, completing those four years got me a key to opportunity in this country.
From when I ran for City Council in Corpus Christi as a college student, to working for a U.S. Congresswoman and the New York City Comptroller, I have been fighting to give a voice to those who are too often left behind or pushed aside.
During my time as a public servant, I have spent hundreds of hours across various diverse communities, listening to the concerns of constituents – and taking action to support them. I worked on advancing a range of issues dealing with education, infrastructure, housing, senior citizens, small businesses, healthcare, homelessness, LGBTQ, and more.
While serving at the New York City Comptroller’s office, I learned the critical importance of safeguarding the City’s fiscal health, rooting out waste, fraud and abuse in local government, and ensuring that municipal agencies serve the needs of everyone in the community – not just some.
My family wasn’t wealthy, but we were determined to succeed. In today’s economy, we have to work harder than ever to ensure that everyone has a fighting chance to have that same key to opportunity.