By PAMELA CODY
Special to the PRESS
A contender for state Senate held a meet and greet in Port Isabel Friday evening, December 13, to introduce himself to residents of the Laguna Madre area in hopes of winning their vote in the upcoming March primary elections.
“I think it’s important that, anybody who’s running for elected office, that they go out and meet every community that they’re asking to represent, so coming out to the Laguna Madre area for me was very important,” said Ruben Cortez before making his remarks at Pelican Station Restaurant.
Cortez was first elected to the Texas State Board of Education in 2012 and was re-elected to a four-year term in 2014 and 2018. He explained the motivation for his Senate run, despite his lack of political experience.
“I have four kids. I kept thinking, what am I going to do to make life better for them? As a kid, I struggled so much in school. Both my parents were migrants. They loved me very much, but my father had a problem with drinking, and when he got drunk, he got abusive,” said Cortez, adding “My parents divorced when I was young, but you carry these things as a kid, so I lashed out a lot. If not for my counselor and teachers, I’d be dead or in jail. So I think to myself, what am I going to do so that my kids don’t make the same mistakes? And so I decided I was going to run for the local school board and make a difference, and I did.”
Cortez touted some of his accomplishments, such as expanding Pre-K to every school and making it a full day instead of a half day; putting perimeter fencing and security cameras at the front entrances to all schools before the gun violence was even part of the national conversation; and investing in schools and teacher training.
“Through that process, I started to get involved in other boards and committees at the state level and national level, and just felt that there was more that I could do,” Cortez said.
Though he faces a difficult opponent in long time incumbent Eddie Lucio, Cortez is confident in what he has to offer.
“When you see some of the legislation that he has supported, it gives me pause. I want my kids to grow up in a community that values and respects them. I don’t currently see that happening with the policies that are out there,” said Cortez, noting that his opponent doesn’t support the LGBTQ community or women’s rights, and has allowed for the militarization of our borders.
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