Democrats have an easy choice in the May 27 runoff for U.S. Senate. My opponent, Kesha Rogers — whom I led with 47 percent of the vote in the March primary — doesn’t respect President Obama. Rogers says she wants to impeach him. In fact, she has campaigned with a picture of Obama with a Hitler mustache. She’s a fringe candidate with no support from Democratic activists or leaders.
I’m proud to be endorsed by gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis, lieutenant governor candidate Leticia Van de Putte and Democratic leaders across Texas.
After the runoff, however, we will begin the real battle — against Republican Sen. John Cornyn, and for true reform.
Beating Cornyn will be a tough challenge, but my story is one of fighting against the odds. I was born in Israel to a large Christian Lebanese family. I came to America when I was 20 years old, with $120 in my pocket and no prospects. I pumped gas and sometimes worked in the fields, picking strawberries and chilies. During that time I met Martha, my wife of 42 years.
I joined the U.S. Army to serve my new country, and I’m proud to be a veteran. Thanks to the GI Bill, I went on to receive a dental degree from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. Martha and I moved to Dallas and worked hard to build up an old dental practice. We had to start all over again financially. No one would lend to us, so we had to save every penny.
Most of our patients were working-class Hispanic families. Since Martha’s family is from Zacatecas, Mexico, she translated dental forms for patients and worked in the office.
As the Hispanic community grew, we grew with it and opened new clinics. We worked long hours, and our son, Mark, and daughter, Nadya, were practically raised in the office. Over 25 years, Jefferson Dental Clinics grew into a multimillion-dollar enterprise. I’m proud that Martha and I did that together while raising two wonderful children.
I am running for the U.S. Senate because America needs reform that benefits all families, not just those at the top. We need economic policies that benefit Main Street, but Washington serves the interests of the Wall Street status quo. Some people told me not to run. You can’t win, they said. But I’ve never ducked a challenge. We won’t get change if we don’t fight for it.
I want to raise the minimum wage. I want equal pay for equal work. We need to make corporations and giant banks pay their fair share of taxes. We need trade and tax policies that don’t ship American jobs to China. We need to finish bringing our troops home from Afghanistan and invest the billions we have been spending there here at home to rebuild our own economy.
The Founding Fathers believed in a balanced system, in which no faction or interest had too much power. Today the system is out of balance. Wall Street banks and corporate interests have too much influence over government policy. It’s not healthy for our economy or our country. We need to restore opportunity for small businesses and hard-working families.
Many Americans have begun to realize that the system is rigged. We need to unrig it. That’s why I’m running for U.S. Senate.
I am ready to fight Cornyn and be your next U.S. senator, and I want you to fight with me.