✅LEFT UP TO US ENDORSES Jose "Chito" Vela (D-TX)
Chito Vela is an immigration defense and criminal defense attorney who has served as chair of the Workers Defense Project, president of Blanton Elementary PTA, and General Counsel in the office of Democratic State House Rep. Solomon Ortiz Jr., HD33, in addition to other roles in public service. Vela is running on a staunchly progressive platform that supports a $15/hour statewide minimum wage, Medicaid expansion, marijuana legalization, and increased state spending on public education. Vela is the only candidate to have taken a public pledge, posted on his website and his campaign facebook page, not to accept government contracts, government-related consulting contracts, or to otherwise perform lobbying services while in office. Vela is also endorsed by many other progressive organizations, including Our Revolution Central Texas, Austin Tejano Democrats, Austin Young Democrats, Stonewall Democrats of Austin.
State Rep. Dawnna Dukes (Incumbent D-TX)
Dukes has served HD 46 as State House Representative for 12 legislative sessions. She has served in the State Legislature for more than 20 years, is the ranking Democrat on the Appropriations Committee, and boasts of accomplishments in child welfare law, minors’ rights, and criminal justice reform. Her campaign’s Facebook page has a fairly comprehensive rundown of her legislative record and can be found here. Recently, she has come under intense scrutiny for being indicted on multiple charges including felonies (the charges were dropped), missing the majority of the votes for two consecutive legislative sessions, breaking a public promise to her constituents to resign if reelected, spending $51,000 on a professional psychic, and doing committee work while under the influence of morphine. Her campaign website is here. Dukes has never received less than 61% of the vote in a contested primary, but her campaign appears to be in considerable debt this time.
Sheryl Cole (D-TX)
Cole is an attorney, realtor, CPA, and lobbyist who has previously served on the Austin City Council, including time as Mayor Pro Tempore. According to her website, her public life began on her local PTA and in organizing community support as one of the tri-chairs of the AISD Bond Committee in 2004. Cole’s track record includes the Waller Creek Redevelopment Project and proposing a resolution to make Austin the first city in Texas to support marriage equality. It also includes repeated attempts to let lobbyists help rewrite the City’s Land Use and Development Code. Cole came under fire during the course of the HD-46 race for campaign contributions and public endorsements to known Republicans against Democrats in 2016. Cole’s platform emphasizes education, healthcare, and civil rights. Her Facebook page can be found here, and her full list of supporters here.
Ana Cortez (D-TX)
Ana Cortez is a small business owner, Manor ISD Trustee, and vice president of the Manor Arts Council. She owns a healthcare consulting firm known as RAM Practice Management. Her platform calls for investment in transportation infrastructure without more toll roads, proper funding for education, and Medicaid expansion or “the development of innovative federal programs.” Her platform also emphasizes public education reforms and strong provisions on sexual assault prevention and support for survivors and families, reflecting her experiences as a mother and a survivor herself. Ana is endorsed by Manor Mayor Rita Jonse, Pflugerville Mayor Victor Gonzalez, Travis County Treasurer Dolores Ortega-Carter, Marisa Perez and Ruben Cortez on the State Board of Education, and several other community leaders.
Casey McKinney (D-TX)
Casey McKinney is an air force veteran and private sector executive specializing in external relations. She is currently employed by Cogent in Strategic Initiatives and External Relations (in-house compliance and lobbying). According to her website, McKinney’s “political career began in 2000, as an oil and gas lobbyist representing retail energy deregulation.” Neither her website nor her Facebook page offers much in the way of concrete platforms, although she does indicate support for improved collective bargaining conditions in the workplace (Employee Free Choice Act) and stronger consumer protections. In a Facebook post, McKinney declared, “I am pro-business, but against oligarchy.” Based on her campaign calendar, McKinney appears to seek the support of the charter school movement. She sought office in HD126 in 2004 and 2010, both times without success.
Warren baker (D-TX)
Warren Baker is a small business owner running on a moderate platform that focuses on economic redevelopment, vocational rehabilitation and re-entry programs for the incarcerated, and early childhood education programs. An open letter about his reasons for running can be found here.