Candidates Vying For Congressional Seat Tell Us Why They Want to Represent El Paso

By Paula Diaz

The Democratic primary race for the Texas’ 16th Congressional District, which will be decided March 6. 2018, is an important one. The winner will probably be the representative for the El Paso area since only one Republican has ever won the seat in 114 years. A few of the candidates are women and if either win, they would make history.

City Beat asked the top three candidates in the race — Veronica Escobar, Dori Fenenbock and Enrique Garcia – to answer one question, “Why do they want to represent the El Paso area?”

Here are their answers. We also have included facts on the candidates.

Veronica Escobar

I love El Paso, and as a third generation El Pasoan, I am deeply connected to our community. Ever since moving back home after graduate school (I was in my early 20s), I committed my energies to giving back to the community that inspires me.

I first, spent time focused on teaching, activism and volunteering for various non-profits. Then, in 2006, I ran for office because I was frustrated with the status quo. I wanted to help create a place of opportunity for our children and grandchildren.

During my tenure in El Paso County government, I committed myself to reforming and rebuilding local government and focusing our organization on helping to build a thriving economy and better quality of life. I’m proud of my record and the success we’ve achieved during my administration at the county.

I am now running for congress for the same reasons I ran for county government: I’m frustrated with what’s happening in our nation’s capital; I’m committed to doing what I can to improve our economy; and I intend to stand up for our community.

There’s much work to do at the federal level to ensure our families have access to quality healthcare and education; to reform outdated immigration laws; to keep our promises to our veterans and senior citizens; and to promote our vibrant border economy and grow jobs and wages.

I’m inspired by the community that has always been a beacon of good will, strength and resilience, and I would be honored to be El Paso’s representative and Texas’ first Latina in Congress.

Facts on Veronica Escobar

  • Age: 48
  • Spouse: Michael Pleters
  • Children: Cristian, 20, and Eloisa, 19.
  • Education: Bachelor of Arts Degree from UTEP; Master of Arts Degree from New York University.
  • Latest occupation: El Paso County Judge.
  • What do you love about El Paso: Our strong, loving families and the incredible geography.
  • What will it mean to you if you win: It would be a privilege to continue to serve the community I love.

Dori Fenenbock

We are at a crucial point in history. Washington, D.C. is a mess and we are stuck in the mud of partisan politics. We are tired of flowery speeches and empty promises. We are ready for a political outsider.

I am running for Congress because I want to make progress that benefits the people of El Paso. I put myself through law school and ran a business as a single mom. I know what it is like to work hard, to take care of your family under the weight of bills and taxes and the ever-rising costs of health care. I love El Paso. We have an abundance of talent and are uniquely positioned for tremendous growth: our border, our base and the power of our people.

I see an El Paso where every child has access to a quality education, regardless of language barriers, regardless of poverty. I see an El Paso where no mother sees her children or aging parents suffer because they don’t have access to affordable health care. I see an El Paso where we live in harmony with our neighbors, valuing faith and family, with open hearts, open minds and open arms.

With the right vision and the right leadership, we will build better opportunities for our families. We will make history, electing the first female representative to Congress from El Paso. I want to inspire every little girl to lean in with me.

Facts on Dori Fenenbock

  • Age: 49
  • Spouse: Mark Fenenbock
  • Children: Lauren 36, Elysa 34, Carsen 20 and Jackson 18
  • Education: Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of Texas at Austin; Juris Doctorate from the University of Tulsa School of Law.
  • Occupation: Owner of packaging business, President of El Paso Independent School District Board.
  • What do you love about El Paso: The people!
  • What will it mean to you if you win: More importantly, what it will mean to El Paso is having a leader with the patience, the humility and the proven ability to get things done collaboratively, without fear and coercion, to improve the lives of El Pasoan men, women and children.

Enrique Garcia

The reason I want to represent our great community is because I believe El Paso is a hidden jewel where many cultures from all over the world come together and our differences disappear.

The people of El Paso are some of the hardest working people I have ever met. Many of these hard-working people all started off as immigrants, like my parents. It is very unfair that the Trump Administration constantly mischaracterizes our community. It negatively affects our community every day. I want to change the image of El Paso in Washington, but more importantly, I want to help shape the laws that affect us every day.

This upcoming election is very important because our values and way of life are constantly being challenged by the various special interest groups that dictate our laws today. I want people to know that I am NOT a political insider and I will NOT be controlled by special interest groups.

If elected, I will focus on: Immigration Reform, Healthcare for All, I will make sure that our veterans are taken care of and Fort Bliss remains as one of the top military installations in our country. I also will fight to make education affordable and to make sure that our college graduates have opportunities here in El Paso. The world needs to know that El Paso is the ideal city to establish their business. We are one of the safest cities in the world and we have some of the hardest working people in the world. My focus in Congress will always be to protect the interest of the people of El Paso.

Facts on Enrique Garcia

  • Age: 45
  • Spouse: Norma Garcia
  • Children: Enrique DJ, 15, and Julian, 13.
  • Education: Bachelor of Arts Degree and Master of Arts Degree from UTEP; Juris Doctorate from Capital Law School.
  • Occupation: Immigration Attorney
  • What do you love about El Paso: I love that El Paso is welcoming city, we are very friendly people who are always eager to help others and we have the best Mexican food in the country.
  • What will it mean to you if you win? It will be a great honor to win because I will have the opportunity to help shape our laws and protect the interest and values of our community.
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