Great news going out by Congressman Pete Gallego to Texas' 23rd congressional district.
In a press release sent out this week, Gallego (D-Alpine) announced 22 counties that are part of CD-23 will begin to receive federal drought relief assistance from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The much needed initiative was made possible through a declaration by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack.
"Our farmers and ranchers have been hit by a terrible drought in Texas," said Gallego in the press release. "Now, these businessmen and women can seek help and protect their farms and ranchlands through an emergency loan. I will continue to work with Secretary Vilsack, and the House Agriculture Committee to make resources available for this."
Check out the complete press release below the jump, which highlights the 22 counties.
Reflecting on this most recent Veterans Day, Congressman Pete Gallego spoke in support of comprehensive immigration reform, and how this is relevant to immigrants who have served in the US Military. In the speech below, he explains how many of those who have served who make the biggest sacrifices-- themselves-- to this country, are still forced to go through excessive lengths to receive citizenship status. Many, as Gallego explains, only receive citizenship status posthumously, after they have made the supreme sacrifice.
In the video below, Congressman Pete Gallego shares remarks on his support for comprehensive immigration reform. In his speech, Gallego focuses specifically on the economic benefits of immigration reform. While the moral benefits of immigration reform are the most important, proving that there are solid economic benefits to be seen helps negate conservative nay-sayers who suggest their opposition to immigration reform is based on "practical" reasons based in economics, and not their own xenophobia.
Gallego cites specific examples, such as a study from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that says immigrant-owned businesses have the potential in generating $775 Billion in revenue. He also highlights support for comprehensive immigration reform from the George W. Bush Institute.
Read the transcript in English and Spanish below the jump.
Even if the federal government shuts down on Tuesday, current law preserves paychecks for members of Congress. On Sunday, Ted Cruz said he's planning to keep on taking his salary during a shutdown (which, if it happens, he will have caused).
On Saturday, West Texas' Rep. Pete Gallego introduced a bill to unprotect congressional paychecks during a shutdown - all 535 of them. The point, of course, is to take away the cushion on which Republicans can expect to receive their salaries if they shut down the federal government.
"Congress should work around-the-clock, and do so without pay, to keep the government running," the Democratic congressman said in a press release. "Putting the full faith and credit of the United States at risk should never be a debating point. A shutdown should not even be on the table - this is not rocket science."
Shutdown crusader Cruz is personally wealthy. In 2011, his family's income was more than $1.5 million. In 2012, he lent his campaign $800,000. He won't feel the pain that millions of federal workers, including our military, will.
Rep. Gallego also introduced the Preserve Our National Security Act to preserve the salaries of all military and other national security personnel. This includes the Departments of Defense, Veterans Affairs, and Homeland Security including both Border Patrol Agents and Customs and Border Protection officers at entry points.
"I'm appalled that extremists would hold the government, many of its employees, and even our border security hostage all for the sake of politics," Gallego said. "My legislation would ensure that our Veterans and our security are not at risk should extremists succeed in shutting down the government."
These are two great bills worthy of passing through Congress quickly. Republicans have not left the Cruz ship yet, with House Republicans having just passed a bill attaching a delay to key parts of Obamacare to the budget.
Pete Gallego is powerfully representing the state and country's best interests, while Ted Cruz's ego brings us to the brink of government shutdown.
Read Rep. Gallego's full press release below the jump.
Since Battleground Texas launched six months ago, the response has been tremendous and volunteers from all across the state have been working hard to turn Texas blue. Battleground Texas has already deputized more than 3,000 voter registration volunteers, hosted a 14-city listening tour that was met with standing-room-only crowds in nearly every part of the state, and built a digital Facebook following that outpaced the Republican Party of Texas in just 78 days.
The organization's next vision -- ensure that the next generation of Latino leaders have the skills and knowledge they need to succeed and play prominent leadership roles in the future of the Democratic Party.
With prominent Latino figures such as the Castro brothers hinting to one day seek the presidency, Battleground Texas is launching the Executive Latino Leadership Program to further develop the community's organizing talent in our state.
Read more about the program and how you can apply after the jump.
Quico Canseco wants a rematch against Pete Gallego.
The district's race was highly contested last election. Gallego won the seat with over 50% of the vote, but the race was contested by Canseco who claimed scores of fraudulent ballots were cast in the sprawling southwest Texas district, and that military and absentee votes that could still swing the race had yet to be counted.
Canseco conceded the race a few days later -- still sticking to his claims of improperly counted votes and improperly cast ballots -- but stating a full investigation and recount would be prohibitively expensive and time consuming.
You may remember Canseco because of his despicable abortion mailer, falsely accusing Gallego of being against parental notification and of supporting the killing of babies.
Canseco was also sued last October for rear-ending a car and leaving the scene.
Read Canseco's running announcement and see his past abortion ad after the jump.
Meanwhile, in Washington, D.C., our conservative elected officials continue to put up a fight against a comprehensive immigration reform. Essentially fighting against billions of dollars generated into our state's economy.
11 of our 12 Texas Democrats in Congress signed on a letter to Rick Perry urging him to add Medicaid expansion to the special session call.
While their effort may not be successful, but it's an important reminder of how critical Medicaid expansion would be to Texas, where 28.8% of our residents lack health insurance.
Hard-working low-income Texans need access to quality, affordable health care. In the meantime, Perry and the Republican Legislature's obstinacy on this issue will only push costs down to county governments to treat people coming into emergency rooms. Meanwhile, Texans will be paying federal taxes to help expand Medicaid in other states -- on our dime!
In Gallego's opening remarks, he spoke of the modern American Dream. In his speech, he told the story of Josue Obregon, a Retired United States Marine Corporal:
This is a story from Del Rio, Texas. Retired United States Marine Corporal Josue Obregon filed a petition for his wife Estéfania who still lived in Ciudad Acuña. The young couple was expecting their first child- when she suffered from an internal cyst which would require a blood transfusion.
She could not get the appropriate medical treatment in Mexico. And even though Mrs. Obregon had been approved for a spousal visa, it was still "being processed."
She would not be allowed to come to the United States to get the treatment she and her unborn child needed without an emergency visa.
Read the rest of the Obregons' story and Congressman Gallego's speech below the fold.
Congressman Pete Gallego has already distinguished himself in the immigration debate, owing to his unique status representing Texas's 23rd District, which contains the longest stretch of the Mexican-American border of any congressional district.
Monday, Gallego will join Congressman Luis Gutierrez (IL-04), Texas AFL-CIO President Becky Moeller, Texas Farm Bureau's Steve Pringle, and United We Dream's Carolina Canizalez for a panel discussion in San Antonio. The panel is free and open to the public, and will focus on Comprehensive Immigration Reform, including industry perspectives and Texas economic benefits.
The panel will be from 6-7:30 p.m. at the Palo Alto College Performing Arts Center, 1400 W. Villaret Blvd., San Antonio, TX 78224.
Whatever immigration reform legislation manages to pass both houses of Congress will likely have a tremendous impact on Texas, so it's great to see such a diverse coalition of leaders in our state proactively addressing what's at stake and framing it for Texas audiences.