There’s a new candidate vying to represent Texas’ 15th Congressional District, which has been redrawn by Republicans in proposed redistricting maps.
Eliza Alvarado, a South Texas native, announced Friday in a news release that she has filed to run for the district, citing what she says is her vast experience in public policy during her tenure working for Congressman Rubén Hinojosa and her work at the U.S. Department of Labor before she returned home to the Rio Grande Valley.
“Once home, she made it a priority to increase voter registration and turnout in the region by helping to establish the non-partisan organization, Advocacy Alliance Center of Texas,” the release states.
She currently serves as director of Partnerships and Career Pathways at the Region One Education Service Center, which is the largest such body in the state, overseeing eight counties with approximately half a million students.
“My story is like many others, except in many ways it’s not. I went off to college and was given the opportunity to work for Congressman Rubén Hinojosa, who also represented the 15th Congressional District in Washington, D.C. It is there where I learned how Congress works and how good legislation can positively impact the lives of everyday people,” she said.
Under Hinojosa’s encouragement, Alvarado says she continued her education, earning a master’s in political management from George Washington University before working at the Department of Labor in the agency’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs. She later earned a Ph.D. in public affairs from the University of Texas at Dallas.
“Nothing was ever given to me; less than 1% of Latinas earn their doctorate and I did it not only for me, but for the community I was going to serve — we deserve the best,” she said in her campaign announcement.
She said her goal while in Washington was to learn as much as possible to come home and serve her community.
“Education was my great equalizer. I was fortunate to have the support of my parents, family, and mentors who encouraged and helped me earn my various degrees,” she said. “It is unfortunate though, that many young people in the state of Texas do not have the support they deserve to grow and reach their ultimate potential. Our economy is dependent on a vibrant workforce that begins with a great education or trade skills.”
In her campaign announcement, Alvarado says the country faces workforce shortages, a lack of childcare, a healthcare crisis, a broken immigration system and threats to fundamental rights like voting.
In her work at Region One, Alvarado says she has developed job training programs and obtained funding to help alleviate District 15’s shortage of healthcare workers, particularly nurses.
“The key to solving these issues begins in Washington. The people of Texas have taught me so much, but now I am asking for the opportunity to take their voices, their solutions and their concerns back to Washington,” she said.
Alvarado says she has worked hard to make her community better, but passionately believes she can be an even stronger advocate in Congress.
“I would be honored if the people of the 15th Congressional District would give me the opportunity to represent them,” Alvarado said. “No one will work harder to make our region and our country stronger and more prosperous.”
Alvarado currently faces incumbent Vicente Gonzalez in the primary. However, in the proposed redistricting maps, Gonzalez’s home is drawn into neighboring District 34.
The incumbent has told The Monitor he may run in that district, but he is not making an announcement until Texas Governor Greg Abbott signs off on the maps.
Republican Monica De La Cruz-Hernandez is also running for District 15. She nearly unseated Gonzalez in 2020 with the incumbent winning with 50.5% of the vote.