Lupe Valdez for governor

Photo by Marjorie Kamys Cotera for The Texas Tribune

Jolt, the civic engagement organization I founded following Donald Trump’s win for president, has endorsed Lupe Valdez for governor. In some ways, the decision was difficult because of her record on immigration. Her inability to explain her cooperation with ICE as Dallas Sheriff cost her our endorsement during the primary runoff in May. However, the choice between Valdez and Greg Abbott is not a tough one. When our community shows up to the polls in November, we’re going to cast our ballots for Valdez and against Abbott.

At Jolt, we don’t just endorse candidates, we also push them to do the right thing. In Valdez we see a candidate who we can push to protect the rights of all Latinos immigrants who call Texas home. This is certainly not the case with Abbott. Abbott is Trump’s candidate and has pushed Trump’s hateful and divisive agenda on our state. Abbott and his administration have fomented hate against the Latino community and championed policies that have caused our families great suffering and pain.

During the past year, Abbott took a page from Trump’s book and gleefully signed the country's harshest anti-immigrant and discriminatory law (Senate Bill 4) on Facebook Live. The law, which is being challenged in court, makes Latinos and people of color targets for racial profiling and could lead to countless deportations and tear our communities apart. Abbott has also remained quiet while our attorney general leads a seven-state effort to end the DACA program, putting nearly 800,000 Dreamers nationwide at risk of deportation.

The choice between Valdez and Abbott reminds me of the 2016 election. Throughout the primaries, I supported Bernie Sanders. His vision of an inclusive America that afforded all its citizens basic human rights of health care and education inspired me and countless other people across the country. But when Hillary Clinton won the Democratic nomination for president, the choice between Clinton and Trump was not a hard one to make. I proudly cast my ballot for Clinton. Trump launched his campaign calling immigrants rapists and criminals and Abbott supported Trump. While I may not see eye to eye with Valdez on all issues, the decision between Abbott and Valdez is not a hard one.

A vote for Valdez is a vote against Abbott and Trump. And at a time when the Trump administration has created modern-day internment camps for children in our very own state, the stakes couldn't be higher. With our vote we can defend our community. Will we sit by and let the government detain children in our name, or will we use our power to elect leaders who will work to defend basic human rights? To Jolt, the choice is clear — we must use our electoral power.

Young people are the most largest, most diverse and progressive voting bloc in Texas. Together, we have the power to decide who we are as a state and to change Texas. We have the power to win for our community and for all people of color the dignity and respect that we deserve by electing leaders who share our values. We will change Texas, and we will do it by voting for Valdez.

Cristina Tzintzun

Executive director, Jolt