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Pete Gallego

Pete P. Gallego
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Texas's 23rd district
In office
January 3, 2013 – January 3, 2015
Preceded by Quico Canseco
Succeeded by Will Hurd
Member of the Texas House of Representatives
from the 74th district
In office
1991–2013
Personal details
Born (1961-12-02) December 2, 1961
Alpine, Texas
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Maria Elena Ramon
Residence Alpine, Texas
Alma mater Sul Ross State University
University of Texas at Austin
Profession Attorney
Religion Roman Catholic
Website Representative Pete Gallego

Pete P. Gallego (born December 2, 1961) is an American politician who was the U.S. Representative for Texas's 23rd congressional district from 2013 to 2015. Gallego, a member of the Democratic Party, previously served as a member of the Texas House of Representatives from the 74th district beginning in 1991.

Gallego defeated freshman incumbent Quico Canseco of San Antonio for Texas's 23rd congressional district seat in the November 6, 2012, general election. Canseco conceded the race on November 9.[1] Gallego ran for re-election in 2014, in what the Texas Tribune called the "only obviously competitive November congressional race" in Texas.[2] He was defeated by Republican Will Hurd on November 4, 2014. He is currently running for Congress in the 23rd district of Texas.

Early career

After graduating law school, Gallego became an assistant in the Attorney General’s office, before returning to his hometown of Alpine to become a prosecutor. He was also an attorney at the law firm Brown McCarroll LLP, with an office in Austin.[3][4]

State legislature

Elected to the Texas House from District 74 in 1990, Gallego was the first Hispanic to represent this vast border district. In 1991, he became the first freshman member and the first ethnic minority member ever elected as chair of the House Democratic Caucus, a post he held until January 2001.[3]

In the Texas House, Gallego served on the board of directors of the National Association of Latino Elected Officials (NALEO), and four terms as Chairman of the Mexican American Legislative Caucus (MALC), a caucus of Texas representatives who are of Mexican-American descent or who serve a significant Mexican-American constituency. In 2008, Trey Martinez Fischer replaced Gallego as Chairman of MALC.[3][5]

Gallego's state legislative career included chairmanships of the General Investigating Committee and several select and subcommittees. He has also served as a member of the Committees on Appropriations, Calendars, Criminal Jurisprudence, Higher Education, and Elections.

In 2008, Gallego narrowly missed being elected Speaker of the Texas House.[6]

U.S. House of Representatives

Elections

2012

Gallego announced his candidacy for the 23rd district in September 2011.[6] His state house district was virtually coextensive with the central portion of the congressional district.

He finished second in the Democratic primary, behind former congressman Ciro Rodriguez, who had received Bill Clinton’s endorsement. He then defeated Rodriguez in the July 31 runoff election by a margin of 55-45 percent.[7][8] During the course of his campaign, Gallego overhauled his campaign staff four times.[9]

In the general election, Gallego defeated Canseco with 50 percent of the vote to Canseco's 46 percent, a margin of 9,200 votes. While Gallego lost in Bexar County, home to more than half the district's population, he dominated his former state house district. The campaign between Gallego and Canseco was contentious, with Gallego alleging that Canseco was a "right-wing extremist," and Canseco calling Gallego a "radical environmentalist."[9][10]

Gallego was supported by the Blue Dog Coalition.[11][12]

2014

Gallego ran for re-election in 2014. Facing no opposition from his own party, he won the Democratic primary on March 4, 2014.[13][14] He faced Republican Will Hurd, an African American, in the general election.[15] Gallego is a member of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's Frontline Program. The program is designed to help protect vulnerable Democratic incumbents. He still lost his bid for re-election to Republican Will Hurd by less than 2,500 votes. [16]

Committee assignments

Political positions

Healthcare

Gallego opposes repeal of the Affordable Care Act and voted against repeal in May 2013.[17][18][19] Gallego's support for the Affordable Care Act has been attacked in advertisements by the Libre Initiative, a conservative Hispanic outreach group.[20][21]

Gallego opposes a Medicare voucher system[22] and says that he supports Medicaid expansion and prescription drug negotiations.[23]

Abortion

Gallego supported an abortion law allowing minors to get an abortion with parental consent. Under the legislation a minor would have been able to bypass the requirement for parental consent by petitioning a judge.[4][24]

Immigration

Gallego has said that border security and immigration reform are two separate issues. He advocates improved “worker accountability programs, using border security as an economic tool and aiding the current 11 million undocumented individuals in a path to citizenship”, writing with several others in an opinion piece in the El Paso Times that, "We can no longer delay immigration reform. The time to move forward is now." Gallego has said "Most people don’t really care where the idea comes from. They want action, they want something to happen, and they’re tired of the prolonged conversation." Gallego has expressed support for President Obama's immigration policies. He supports the DREAM Act.[25][26]

In 2014, Gallego invited Speaker of the House John Boehner to the Southern Border to view the humanitarian crisis and discuss the matter with local border patrol agents and community members.[27]

Energy

Gallego has been supported by the Sierra Club and the League of Conservation Voters.[28] According to Texas Climate News, Gallego's 2012 congressional victory "earned the celebratory attention of climate-action advocates."[29] Gallego has voiced support for renewable and clean energy sources. The Sierra Club called Gallego a "clean energy champion."[30] Mother Jones included Gallego in a list of the "Top Five Climate Hawks" who were elected to office in November 2012.[31]

Personal life

Born in Alpine, Gallego graduated from Sul Ross State University in 1982 with a bachelor’s degree in political science. In 1985, he earned a J.D. from the University of Texas School of Law in Austin.[3]

In 2012, Gallego began drawing pension benefits from the state of Texas in addition to his annual congressional salary of $174,000.[32][33][34]

See also

References

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  6. ^ a b Marty Schladen. US Rep. Pete Gallego wants to help fix Congress. El Paso Times, 10/21/2013.
  7. ^ 2012 Democratic Party Primary Runoff 7/31/2012
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External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Quico Canseco
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Texas's 23rd congressional district

January 3, 2013 - January 3, 2015
Succeeded by
Will Hurd
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