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'Texas turning blue is inevitable': Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez rallies progressive voters for U.S. House candidates in San Antonio

The well-known New York congresswoman supported U.S. House candidates Greg Casar and Jessica Cisneros at a San Antonio rally ahead of their primary races.

SAN ANTONIO — U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was in San Antonio's Paper Tiger music venue on Saturday and spoke at a rally aimed at getting out the vote for progressives running for Congress. 

Greg Casar and Jessica Cisneros are running in the Democratic primary election for two San Antonio-area congressional seats:

  • Casar is running in Texas' 35th Congressional District, which stretches from San Antonio to Austin. In 2015, he became the youngest person elected to Austin City Council at age 24. Eddie Rodriguez, Carla-Joy Sisco and Rebecca Viagran also are running in the primary. Lloyd Doggett currently represents the district, but he will be running for Congress in the newly created 37th district, which is focused near Austin.
  • Cisneros is an immigration attorney trying to unseat incumbent Democrat Henry Cuellar in Texas' 28th Congressional District, which stretches from San Antonio to her home of Laredo. Tannya Judith Benavides also is running in the race. Cuellar is facing scrutiny after an FBI raid at his home and office in late January. He hasn't been charged and has denied any wrongdoing. 

Cuellar's campaign released this a statement earlier this week after learning of Ocasio-Cortez's visit to San Antonio: 

"This election is taking place in the 28th Congressional District of Texas- not New York City.

The voters will decide this election not far left celebrities who stand for defunding the police, open borders, eliminating oil & gas jobs, and raising taxes on hard working Texans.

Members should take care of their own district before taking failed ideas to South Texas."

Cisneros said citizens deserve someone who fights for their rights as hard they [citizens] do. She said she was led to become an immigration attorney due to how she was brought up and the sacrifices that she saw her parents make when she was little. 

"I knew that I wanted to help families like my parents have their shot as well," Cisneros said. "It was because of a pro-bono attorney that helped my parents navigate that abhorrence of an immigration system. And is the reason why I'm in front of you all today."

She said her decision to run was one of the scariest decisions of her life but the most rewarding. 

"I decided to take that leap of faith and step up just like David did with Goliath, and take on one of the most entrenched corporate politicians in America and almost won because of all of you," Cisneros said.  

She also said knowing her community had her back helped her not feel so alone and gave her the courage to run.

"Nothing beats the power of the people that are here and the people that are supporting our campaign at home," Cisneros said.

She also said her biggest accomplishment was bringing attention to the border crisis in south Texas. 

Casar started out by saying the race is inspired by the strength of his supporters over the last two years. 

"You never gave up {and} we don't quit," Casar said. "We don't quit because we know a better world is possible."

Casar said it's everyone working together to change the state and country. And that the living conditions of the country and other laws put in place over the last two years have caused people to lose faith. 

"What I found was that our greatest opposition wasn't always the other candidates or their corporate backers, that our greatest opposition was talking to people who had lost faith that this democracy would ever deliver for them," Casar said. 

Ocasio-Cortez said a grassroots organization here in Texas impacted her as a kid to continue working in the community that invested in her first. Her first experiences in Texas brought her back to the state she said could change the country. 

"In those years doing that work, the absolute indelible impression that was left on me is that this state is going to change the country," Ocasio-Cortez  said. 

She also said the thing Texas is doing different is building infrastructure, including employee strikes, unions, passing city council ordinances that are some of the first in the country to tackle state violence. 

"Texas turning blue is inevitable," Ocasio-Cortez added. "It will happen, the only is when."

Ocasio-Cortez said this is not about republicans, democrats, red or blue, but instead about electing representatives to congress who care about the people they represent.

She ended the rally by talking about the winter storm, almost on the exact day that it caused widespread power failure in Texas, abortions, police brutality and how electing the right people in office can cause communities to thrive with even more resources. 

"People die when you don't invest in infrastructure and acknowledge the inevitable science about our planet," Ocasio-Cortez said. "People die when you shut down abortion clinics, people die when you don't expand documentation to our undocumented brothers and sisters, people die when you don't hold police accountable for brutality, people die when the wrong people are in office. But you know what happens you elect people like Greg Casar and Jessica Cisneros? People not only live, they thrive."

Ocasio-Cortez even spoke on President Biden's proposal to cancel student loans.

"People thrive when you cancel student debt, let's send a message to President Biden right here and right now," Ocasio-Cortez said.   

Across the street from Paper Tiger, Kyle Sinclair, a republican candidate for Texas' 20th Congressional District of Texas organized a rally in opposition to the New York congresswoman's visit to San Antonio. 

"“Socialism doesn’t work in Texas, and by now, that should be abundantly clear to AOC. We will make sure to remind the extreme leftist Congresswoman from New York, she can’t come to the Alamo City to peddle her radical ideas to the citizens of San Antonio and expect them to stick,” said Sinclair.  

Related story: Voter Guide 2022 | Everything you need to know about the election in San Antonio and Texas

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