Texas AFT endorses Ruben Cortez for Texas Senate seat for March Primary

For Immediate Release:
January 16, 2020

Contact: Rob D’Amico, 512-627-1343

Texas AFT has endorsed Ruben Cortez for state Senate District 27, which covers much of the lower Rio Grande Valley, for the Democratic Primary on March 3. Four local Texas AFT groups also have endorsed Cortez.

Cortez is a current member of the State Board of Education and a former Brownsville School Board member. “Cortez has a solid grasp of the challenges facing public education and has shown he is ready to meet those challenges head-on,” said Zeph Capo, Texas AFT president. “Cortez also is fully aware of the dangers of privatization of our schools and in particular the harmful impacts we face from rapid charter-school expansion.”

Capo noted that Cortez has consistently questioned the lax approval process for charters at the SBOE while fighting to provide more resources for our schoolchildren. And he led the charge for our state to finally adopt a Mexican-American Studies curriculum for our high schools.

By contrast, the incumbent–Eddie Lucio, Jr.–has developed a pattern of consistently supporting legislation favorable to charter schools and has supported efforts to establish private-school vouchers, Capo said.

Sylvia Tanguma–president of McAllen AFT, which also has endorsed Cortez–said it is clear that a change in leadership for the Valley is needed. “We deserve someone whose actions go beyond mere rhetoric in support for public schools,” she said. “The Valley deserves someone who takes action to defeat private-school vouchers and harmful charter-school expansion as well as someone who fights to ensure our students see themselves in their curriculum.”

Capo added: “Texas also needs a new senator who will stand up to Lt. Governor Dan Patrick and his divisive, partisan agenda that bogs down our Legislature. We need a candidate who aligns with our values, and who will provide a new voice in support of public education at the Capitol.”

In addition to the state endorsement, Cortez has won the support of local union members in Brownsville, La Joya, McAllen, and Pharr-San Juan-Alamo.

Texas American Federation of Teachers represents some 65,000 teachers, paraprofessionals, support personnel, and higher-education employees across the state. Texas AFT is affiliated with the 1.7-million-member American Federation of Teachers and AFL-CIO.