Earlier this month former Austin City Council Member Gregorio “Greg” Eduardo Casar swapped his Texan boots out for an American Flag pin after his run for Texas’ 35 District Congressman was a resounding success. The Texas Tribune called the results “a landslide victory” as Greg Casar beat Republican Opponent Dan McQueen, earning over 74% of the votes. Throughout his campaign, Casar was endorsed by huge public figures such as Bernie Sanders, AOC, and Elizabeth Warren. He ran on a progressive platform that aimed to strengthen reproductive rights, prevent gun violence, and protect democracy with the tagline “let’s build an inclusive democracy for all”. Thanks to his seven years as a City Council Member, Casar had ample experience not only supporting these causes but making actual changes potential voters could reference.
Perhaps the issue closest to Casar’s heart is that of immigration. Casar is the son of two Mexican immigrants and grew up in Houston. One of the most, diverse cities in the country made up of over 44% Latinos. Growing up he attended the wealthy college preparatory school Strake Jesuit, before heading to the University of Virginia to study political science. It was there that he started honing in on the issues he cared most about, even fighting for workers on campus to receive living wages. From there Casar joined the Workers Defense Fund, and after that the Austin City Council. Immigration has always been a hot-button issue for the Congressman, as his website states, “When Trump initiated family separation raids in Texas, Greg established an immigrant legal defense fund, setting a model that was followed by San Antonio and Houston. Greg went on to coordinate the statewide lawsuit against SB4—Gov. Abbott’s discriminatory ‘Show Me Your Papers’ law.” He’s brought that dedication into the White House.
Just this past week Casar, along with other democrats, wrote an open letter to President Biden, voicing their disappointment after the Administration announced its plan to continue Title 42. The policy in question was enacted by former President Trump in 2020, and directly affects those looking to immigrate to the United States. Making it more difficult for those to get into the country, and exceptionally easier for the United States to deny entry without granting asylum. In the letter, Casar and others state, “Last year, we welcomed your administration’s announcement that it would move to end Title 42, and we continue to support your efforts in the courts to ensure a timely end to the policy. We are therefore distressed by the deeply inconsistent choice to expand restrictions on asylum seekers after your administration determined it was no longer necessary for public health.” A decision the Biden Administration announced earlier this month.
Casar has been touted as one of, if not the, most progressive Congressman Texas has ever had. And the barriers being broken don’t just stop there. Last year, according to the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Educational Fund there were 38 Latinos in Congress. However, since the elections that number has jumped to a record 45, 34 Democrats and 11 Republicans. As NBC states, “It will be the first time Hispanic legislators make up over 10% of the 435-member House of Representatives.” About time, considering Hispanics make up the largest minority group at 18.9%.
Casar’s election says a lot about the current state of the world. Texas voted for a vocal Brown Latino, Progressive Democrat to represent their 35th District. Casar is doing so much good in simply existing in such a space. Not to mention having another Hispanic person in the White House means having someone who is not onlysupporting causes like immigration but lives them. He isn’t a man in a fancy suit playing god with people’s lives. He knows how important immigration is to our country. He’s not just defending it because it’s trendy or right, he’s defending it because that’s his family’s reality. This is why we need representation. Because everyone in this country deserves to see themselves in their leaders and see their own life experiences reflected back at them. And as a Latina Texan, who also grew up in Houston, I couldn’t be more proud.