Wednesday, October 17, 2018
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20180615 EricHolguinAs a graduate of Sharyland High School’s class of 2005, Eric A. Holguin said his experience living in the Rio Grande Valley shaped many of his views on several issues.

“I always say, the Valley has blown up within the last 10 years and San Antonio continues to grow, but Corpus Christi and the region around it, continues to get stuck,” the Corpus Christi native said. “How can we do what the Valley does to grow? The Valley has become such an economic force in South Texas that the coastal bend is getting looked over in terms of economic opportunity.”

Holguin is the Democratic candidate in the special election for Texas’ 27th Congressional District seat-a district that includes the counties of Aransas, Calhoun, Jackson, Lavaca, Matagorda, Nueces, Refugio, Victoria, and Wharton and some parts of Bastrop, Caldwell, Gonzales, and San Patricio. The seat was vacated when Former Rep. Blake Farenthold stepped down last April amidst sexual misconduct allegations against him.

Holguin and his opponent-Republican Michael Cloud-are facing off in a June 30 special election to serve out the remainder of Farenthold’s current term, which ends in November. Holguin is also the Democratic candidate for the November general elections, he said.

“I am doing this because I care about the community,” Holguin said. “I care about the families that are struggling. I come from a middle-class, Latino family and our current representation tends to be predominantly wealthy, non-Latinos. It’s time the district is represented by someone who actually represents the values of those in the district, not someone who will be beholden to whatever goes on to Washington or whoever gives them the biggest check.”

Since announcing his candidacy last October, Holguin’s campaign has raised funds through a grassroots approach from small dollar donors instead of relying on super PACS. He has been endorsed by Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa and the state labor federation Texas AFL-CIO.

Among the issues in his district that Holguin has discussed during his campaign is the need of more infrastructure in the area. He compared his district to the Valley, saying that more infrastructure would mean his district would be able to grow.

“Every time I visit the Valley, I am amazed at how much it’s grown since I graduated high school,” Holguin said. “Meanwhile, the Texas Coastal Bend looks the same as it did when I grew up here prior to moving to Mission. We have crumbling roads and pipelines, these are the heart of what keeps the city moving but it has not been invested in.”

Holguin says he will make sure any new infrastructure will be strong enough to handle any natural disasters to avoid more potential destruction as a result from another storm as strong as last year’s Hurricane Harvey.

“So I’m pushing to get federal dollars down here to reinvest in our infrastructure,” he said. “That trickles down to a better quality of life because you’re going to have businesses and industries that will look at the district and think ‘Oh, look at this district. It’s thriving, it looks like it’s being taken care of, I want to put my business here.’”

Holguin’s campaign has also focused on accessible healthcare for his constituents and ensuring they make a livable wage. He argues that is just as important as more infrastructure because they also enrich the community.

“It’s about helping people get on their feet without giving anything away for free, that’s the biggest misconception. We’re giving them the opportunity to make a living for themselves and live respectfully,” he said. “My whole campaign is focused on the working class community because we are seeing they are the ones suffering the most due to a lot of the policy that is being made at the federal level.”

Holguin, whose father works as a teacher at La Joya High School, said among the insights he gained from living in the Valley among several immigrants gave him a different perspective regarding immigration.

Currently, the Valley has entered the national spotlight as several news outlets are reporting that families seeking asylum in the country by crossing the border illegally are being separated.

A June 11 article from the online news site Vox says at least 415 children had been stripped from their parents between May 21 and June 5 of this year.

“It’s absolutely disgusting and inhumane,” Holguin said of this policy. There’s not a good precedent that shows something like this will work.”

Holguin’s background includes working at the Office of Comptroller of New York City and as a community advisor for Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY). These experiences he gained from working there gave him the experience to be in public office, he said.

“I was out in the community listening to people’s concerns, working with our policy team and figuring out ways to address them,” he said. “I handled issues ranging from transportation, education, LGBTQ and minority issues. If you really want to understand a diverse set of problems, you need to know how to address them.”

More information on Holguin and his campaign can be found at his website www.ericforus.com.