NEW YORK — “I’m a proud first generation Filipino-American, my mom is actually from Pangasinan, so Ilokano and I speak a little bit, and proud of my heritage.”
If elected, this US airforce veteran and national security expert will be the first Filipino-American woman in the US Congress.
Gina Ortiz Jones would become the third American of Filipino descent in US Congress History after Virginia’s Bobby Scott and Ohio’s former Congressman Steve Austria.
“I’ll be honored to be the first, but it’s more important that I make sure I’m not the last right,” said Jones.
Jones is challenging Texas District 23 incumbent Congressman Will Hurd — the most vulnerable Republican member of Congress from Texas according to a Huffington Post report. Democrats have put Hurd’s seat in their top five targets in 2018 putting in the resources needed to turn this district blue.
Filipino-American Democratic club President Aries de la Cruz says, Ortiz has the qualities of a winning Democratic candidate one could hope for.
An openly gay daughter of a Filipino immigrant, a first-generation American and a military veteran, Jones is competing with three other Democrats to take on Hurd: Judy Canales, a former Obama and Clinton appointee; Rick treviño, a former teacher and Bernie Sanders delegate in the 2016 Democratic national convention, and San Antonio prosecutor Jay Hulings.
Jones’es experience in Iraq as a former intelligence officer, and her experience working for the executive office of the president also gives her an edge in a crowded midterm election.
“It’s a very crowded field in where she is running, but she’s been able to distinguish herself with a lot of support from places like Emily’s list, which support pro-choice woman candidates, as well as the victory fund which support LGBT candidates around the country,” says Aries dela Cruz.
“Veterans like myself not only outperform republicans but I think in these times right now, given the national security issue that we’re dealing with — we have to have somebody that can credibly speak to national security,” says Jones.
The challenge for Jones: District 23 is one of the most competitive congressional districts in Texas, running from San Antonio to El Paso.
In the 2016 elections, the district narrowly voted for Hillary Clinton, while electing a Republican representative.
Aside from economy and jobs – this Obama appointee is putting responsible immigration reform to the top of her priorities.
And with the Supreme Court’s refusal on Monday to hear Houston’s appeal for equal spousal benefits for same-sex married couples –
Jones says, she will continue to fight for equal rights and benefits for the LGBT community.
“Why folks are intent on denying people access to their rights is beyond me but as a member of Congress those are the things that I have to be cognizant as I represent people in DC.”
Jones has served both under President Barack Obama and President Donald Trump.