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Guest Voz: South Texas divide spurs launch of new political grassroots campaign

By Arturo Alonzo

After an exodus of ten years from my hometown of Brownsville, Texas and having the opportunity to serve our country, graduate college, become a Deputy Sheriff and law enforcement officer, and directing some of our country’s biggest progressive victories; I decided to come back and start my own data-analytics firm, and with a group of friends, create a non-profit focused on fighting poverty and developing Latino leadership.

In the nine months I’ve been back, spending countless hours studying our local economy by helping small-businesses grow with our firm, I’ve witnessed first-hand my close friends and family torn apart by unemployment, mass debt, mental depression, suicide, and poor wages.

The reality of South Texas is that in the name of “economic development” our politicians, either through complete ignorance or big campaign contributions from special interests, have brought big businesses and corporations into our communities, who promise nuestra gente jobs, but bring in their own people.

They pay our friends and family meager wages, receive huge tax cuts as ‘incentives’ on the backs of our local taxpayers, grab our money, make their profits, and spend their money elsewhere — making our economy weaker and weaker. It causes our small businesses to pinch pennies just to stay afloat, makes our workers have no real purchasing power and the middle-class non-existent.

When 643 families (1.3%) make more money than the bottom 44,669 (90.9%) in our district, and 47% of our employed residents work less than 36 hours per week, 46% have no health insurance, 43.1% of all households are headed by single women, 41.5% of our district live below or at the poverty rate, making less than $13,000 a year, it is time the people of South Texas rise, take ownership of our lives, and build a government and economy that works for all of us, not just the selective few.

For these reasons, I decided to represent the hard-working people of the Rio Grande Valley in Austin as their next State Representative for Texas House District 37.

I plan to run against a 30-year incumbent who has made a district, with the hardest-working people, the poorest in the country — while taking millions from big corporations and lobbyists in campaign contributions, spending thousands on luxury apartments and fine dining, while our people struggle even to pay rent.

This is why I’ve decided to run and be the progressive leader this district deserves.

My campaign is running a 100 percent grassroots campaign, taking zero dollars from Super PACs and special interest groups, and using zero help and support form politiqueros and local party bosses.

Our goal is to raise and only spend $60,000, invest in our district and build the future progressive and Latino leaders that will shape local and state politics, and show our youth and the people of the Rio Grande Valley that if you work hard, raise money, knock on thousands of doors, and bring people together, you don’t need to be rich, spend over half-a-million dollars, or have a political last name to win and have the privilege to serve your community.

Only with help of progressives across our state and country can we make a stronger and more inclusive South Texas a reality.

Arturo Alonzo is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom, former Deputy Sheriff, small business owner, and now your Democratic Candidate for Texas House District 37.

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