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Veronica Escobar (born September 15, 1969) is an American politician serving as the U.S. Representative for Texas's 16th congressional district since 2019. A member of the Democratic Party, she served as an El Paso County Commissioner from 2007 to 2011 and the El Paso County Judge from 2011 until 2017.

Veronica Escobar
Veronica Escobar official portrait, 116th Congress.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Texas's 16th district
Assumed office
January 3, 2019
Preceded byBeto O'Rourke
County Judge of El Paso County
In office
January 1, 2011 – October 10, 2017
Preceded byAnthony Cobos
Succeeded byRuben Vogt
Personal details
Born (1969-09-15) September 15, 1969 (age 50)
El Paso, Texas, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Michael Pleters
Children2
EducationUniversity of Texas at El Paso (BA)
New York University (MA)
WebsiteHouse website

Early life and educationEdit

Escobar is a native of El Paso, Texas, where she was born in 1969.[1] She grew up near her family's dairy farm with her parents and four brothers.[2] Escobar attended Loretto Academy and Burges High School, before getting her bachelor's degree at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) and her master's degree from New York University.[3]

Early political careerEdit

Escobar worked as a nonprofit executive and as Raymond Caballero's communications director when he was mayor of El Paso.[4] When Caballero failed to get reelected, Escobar—along with Susie Byrd, attorney Steve Ortega and businessman Beto O'Rourke—considered entering public service; they started to discuss grassroots strategies with the goals of improving urban planning, creating a more diversified economy with more highly skilled jobs, as well as ending systemic corruption among city leadership.[5]

Escobar was elected as a County Commissioner of El Paso County in 2006 and as the County Judge of El Paso County in 2010.[4] O’Rourke, Byrd and Ortega also all ran for office and won; they came to be collectively referred to as "The Progressives."[5] She also taught English and Chicano literature at UTEP and El Paso Community College.[4]

U.S. House of RepresentativesEdit

Escobar resigned from office in August 2017 to run full-time in the 2018 election to succeed Beto O'Rourke in the United States House of Representatives for Texas's 16th congressional district.[6] As the district is a solidly Democratic, majority-Hispanic district, whoever won the Democratic primary would be heavily favored in November.[2] She won the six-way Democratic primary with 61 percent of the vote.[7]

In June 2018, Escobar (along with O'Rourke) led protests in Tornillo, Texas, of the Trump administration family separation policy that involved the separation of children of immigrant families. The city is just miles from the Rio Grande, the river that forms the border of the United States and Mexico in the state of Texas.[8] The Trump administration had created a "tent-city" in Tornillo, where separated children were being held without their parents. O'Rourke called this practice "un-American" and the responsibility of all Americans.[9]

Escobar won the general election on November 6, defeating Republican Rick Seeberger. She became the first woman to represent the 16th. With her victory, Escobar and Sylvia Garcia became the first Latina congresswomen from Texas.[4][10][11] Although the 16th has long since become a majority-Hispanic district, Escobar is only the second Hispanic ever to represent it, the first being Silvestre Reyes, O'Rourke's predecessor.

On November 13, 2019, Escobar was elected as a freshman class representative in a secret ballot by her peers, filling the role of Katie Hill, who had resigned from Congress.[12]

Committee assignmentsEdit

Caucus membershipsEdit

Electoral historyEdit

Democratic primary results[13]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Veronica Escobar 30,630 61.4
Democratic Dori Fenenbock 10,992 22.0
Democratic Norma Chavez 3,325 6.7
Democratic Enrique Garcia 2,661 5.3
Democratic Jerome Tilghman 1,489 3.0
Democratic John Carrillo 771 1.6
Total votes 49,868 100.0
Texas's 16th congressional district
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Veronica Escobar 124,437 68.5
Republican Rick Seeberger 49,127 27.0
Independent Ben Mendoza 8,147 4.5
Independent Sam Williams (write-in) 43 0.0
Total votes 181,754 100.0
Democratic hold

Personal lifeEdit

Escobar and her husband, Michael Pleters, have two children.[4]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Perks, Ashley (November 15, 2018). "Texas New Members 2019". TheHill. Retrieved December 18, 2018.
  2. ^ a b Bassett, Laura (September 8, 2017). "Meet The Woman Who Could Be Texas' First Latina In Congress". Huffington Post. Retrieved October 25, 2018.
  3. ^ "County Judge Veronica Escobar | Q&A". elpasoinc.com. December 12, 2011. Retrieved April 27, 2018.(subscription required)
  4. ^ a b c d e "Veronica Escobar is closer to making House history in Texas". Elpasotimes.com. March 9, 2018. Retrieved April 27, 2018.
  5. ^ a b Benson, Eric (January 2018). "What Makes Beto Run?/Does Beto O'Rourke Stand a Chance Against Ted Cruz?". Texas Monthly. pp. 78–108.
  6. ^ SVITEK, PATRICK (August 25, 2017). "El Paso County Judge Veronica Escobar begins campaign for Congress". The Texas Tribune. Retrieved April 27, 2018.
  7. ^ "Our Campaigns - TX District 16 - D Primary Race - Mar 06, 2018". Our Campaigns. Retrieved October 25, 2018.
  8. ^ Aguilar, Julian; Garcia Hernandez, Juan Luis (June 17, 2018). "Beto O'Rourke, Veronica Escobar lead Father's Day march on tent city housing separated immigrant children". The Texas Tribune. Retrieved November 12, 2018.
  9. ^ González, María Cortés (June 17, 2018). "Beto O'Rourke leads Tornillo protest against separation of immigrant families". El Paso Times.
  10. ^ Flores, Aileen B. (March 12, 2018). "Veronica Escobar on path to make Latina, Texas history after Congress primary victory". KHOU. Retrieved April 27, 2018.
  11. ^ "Veronica Escobar, Sylvia Garcia win, will be first Texas Latinas in Congress". Nbcnews.com. Retrieved November 12, 2018.
  12. ^ "Rep. Veronica Escobar wins freshman leadership seat". Politico. January 1, 1970. Retrieved November 14, 2019.
  13. ^ "2018 Primary Election Official Results". Texas Secretary of State. Retrieved March 8, 2018.

External linksEdit