She Served Two US Presidents, now this Lesbian Veteran is Leading the Resistance
“I could never leave anybody behind because I would have been that person left behind.”
- Gina Ortiz Jones
As a child, Gina was raised by a single-mom in San Antonio. Her Filipino mother worked two jobs to give Gina the best chance that she could have. Despite her mother’s hard work, like so many in her neighborhood, Gina had to rely on subsidized housing and school lunches to survive. So when it became clear Trump was going to eviscerate education and housing aid, Gina’s conscious could not allow herself to continue working her directorial role in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. After serving in the Air Force under Bush and an intelligence officer under Obama, Gina’s service is taking a radically different form under Trump, she’s running for Congress as a Democrat.
“[Under the Trump Administration] the type of people that were brought in to be public servants were interested in neither the public nor the service,” said Jones, 36, “That, to me, was a sign that I’m going to have to serve in a different way.”
Gina’s campaign is one defined by ‘firsts’. She’s never run for office before and she’s running for her home district of TX-23, which has never been represented by a woman. What’s more, if her campaign is successful, she’ll be the first Iraq War Veteran, the first lesbian, and the first first-generation Filipino-American to hold a U.S. House seat in Texas.
“It should surprise no one that women, who stand to lose so much under this administration, are standing up and saying, ‘I am going to run because I am going to stop assuming that someone is going to do for me that which I can do for myself’.”
As the daughter of a hard-working immigrant determined to give her daughters the best chance at life, Gina is a paradigm of the American Dream. Grateful for the opportunities she was afforded, including a four-year Air Force ROTC scholarship, Gina has served the US proudly. She’s been endorsed by a range of national groups including EMILY’s List; LGBTQ+ groups like Victory Fund and Run With Pride; numerous Democratic officials; and pro-veteran figureheads like VoteVets and renown Gold Star father Khizr Khan who praised her “selfless, courageous leadership”.
Gina wants America to live up to the ideals that brought her mother here, ideals of equal opportunity where those who work hard are rewarded. Gina has a clear vision of what’s necessary to achieve those goals: a first-class education for all children; economic innovation and diverse job creation; support for small businesses; keeping promises to seniors and fellow veterans; affordable, accessible healthcare so that no one is bankrupted because of a medical emergency; affordable higher education, vocational programs, and specialized job training; championing equal rights and discrimination protections for all, no matter race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, or religion; and of course, sensible, ethical immigration reform that balances national security and American principles, so that hard-working, immigrant families like Gina’s are welcomed, not treated like criminals.
“I grew up knowing hard work, not circumstances to which we were born, should determine our trajectory. This promise is currently under threat, but I still believe we can be a country whose actions match our highest ideals.”
Despite ranking as the number one state for economic performance, Texas is falling behind on so many of these goals. With approximately one-in-six Texans without health insurance, Texas has the lowest rate of insured citizens in America, some of the worst maternal mortality rates in the developed world, and an education system that repeatedly ranks as one of the worst in the country.
The current two-term Republican Congressman, Will Hurd, has a lot to answer for. Hurd has somehow managed to maintain a reputation as being a ‘nice guy’ despite a voting record that’s devastated the district. While Hurd concentrates on publicity stunts, Gina has been visiting district residents, some of whom are living in severe poverty. In border towns, she found residents with no paved roads or even running water.
Never one to mince words, Gina hasn’t held back her thoughts on Hurd, “When bipartisanship means two dudes get in a car and help each other get elected, we’re all fucking screwed.” Moving passed his politically calculated PR moves, Gina goes straight for the jugular - his voting record. Hurd refused to sign onto the bipartisan Dream Act. He voted to repeal ACA nine times. He voted in favor of the GOP’s outrageous tax bill (which was little short of a love-letter to the 1%). He voted to delay smog reduction measures by eight years despite 1-in-13 Texans having asthma. The list goes on and on.
“So I push back on the fact that some say, ‘Oh, he’s not that bad.’ His voting record is awful […] You don’t get to be a moderate just because you don’t say crazy shit.”
Hurd’s previous victories have been relatively marginal, and the district has flipped on multiple occasions. If she can unite communities behind her progressive vision, Gina has a serious chance to beat him.
Empowered by the knowledge that there are millions of US citizens, who like her, were only given a fair chance at life thanks to federally funded opportunities, Gina is fighting back. She is determined to stop Trump’s government stealing those opportunities from the people that need them most. From her childhood home in San Antonio, she’s working her way to Washington. First, she’ll have to beat three other Democrats in the March 6th primary, then she’ll have to face the incredibly well-funded Hurd. Even with the uphill battle, Gina Ortiz Jones is one lesbian, veteran, fired-up candidate that we wouldn’t want to run against. Watch out GOP, GOJ is coming.
“I worked hard, I studied hard, but my country and my community invested in me and now it’s my turn to protect those opportunities for somebody else.”