Rep. Sylvia Garcia, a 69-year-old freshman congresswoman from Houston, has cemented her place on Team Biden. She endorsed the former vice-president Wednesday.
Up until the circus came to town by way of the Senate impeachment trial, Garcia was just another freshman back-bencher. She was plucked from obscurity by Speaker Pelosi when she was named a House impeachment manager. At the time Garcia seemed an odd choice but then Pelosi’s thinking became clear – Garcia and another freshman, Rep. Jason Crow, were chosen because Pelosi’s top priority was to choose a team that spotlighted diversity, both geographic and in demographics. The Democrats really want to flip Texas in 2020 and they need to secure Colorado, Crow’s state, as a blue state.
Here’s a little background on her – Sylvia Garcia is one of the first two Latina congresswomen from Texas. She has a resume that qualified her to be an impeachment manager but not the years of experience as some of the others in the House. She’s an attorney and former state senator, as well as a former Houston city controller. Former Houston Mayor Kathryn Whitmire appointed Garcia as presiding judge of the Houston Municipal System. She served for an unprecedented five terms under two mayors. Garcia was elected to Harris County Commissioner’s Court in 2002, the first woman and first Latina elected to that post. So, she had plenty of local and state experience in Texas. She currently serves on the House Judiciary Committee.
Identity politics trumps all else in today’s Democrat Party. Garcia had a reputation as a more moderate Democrat when she served in the various positions in Houston and then when she served in the Texas Senate. Her election in her Congressional district on the east side of Houston wasn’t a surprise. It has been a bit of a surprise, though, for many of us observing her transition from the state government to the Washington swamp. She’s acclimated rather effortlessly it seems. I’ve had several conversations with Houstonians about Garcia’s willingness to be under the thumb of Speaker Pelosi. Whether it is obeying the order to wear white clothing to the State of the Union addresses or to stand behind Pelosi and nod in approval at the appropriate times, Garcia is a willing participant.
The Texas primary is coming up soon – Super Tuesday is March 3 and that is when Texas votes. Garcia announced her endorsement of Biden on Wednesday, the day of the Las Vegas debate. Clearly she wanted to get her endorsement on the record as a way to garner attention and show her support at the same time. The endorsement, when acknowledged by the Biden campaign, didn’t tout her role in Trump’s impeachment. Why? Because Texas Independent voters didn’t support the impeachment. Democrats can’t turn Texas into a blue state without Independent voters and some disenfranchised Republicans, too. She is an important endorsement for the Hispanic vote in Texas. The Biden campaign did acknowledge her membership in the Hispanic Caucus.
That makes six Texas Democrats in Congress who support Biden for president, out of 13.
The list includes two other Hispanic caucus members, South Texan Reps. Filemon Vela and Vicente Gonzalez, and three members of the Congressional Black Caucus whose districts include Dallas and Fort Worth: Reps. Eddie Bernice Johnson, Colin Allred and Marc Veasey.
Biden also touts backing from Texas’ Tejano Democrats and Hispanic state lawmakers such as Dallas’ Rafael Anchia, chairman of the Mexican American Legislative Caucus.
The Castro twins support Elizabeth Warren. Another Hispanic public official, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, endorsed Warren this week. The battle is on for the Hispanic vote in Texas. Team Biden must be panicked that Bernie Sanders leads the Real Clear Politics average in Texas by 2.5 points. Biden, who once had a solid lead in Texas, is now in second place with Elizabeth Warren in third place.
Garcia comes from humble beginnings. She’s the eighth of 10 children in a Mexican-American family. She played to the Lunch Bucket Joe crowd when she announced her support.
“As the eighth of 10 children who grew up poor in rural South Texas, I know what it’s like to pick cotton under the hot Texas sun. I know what it’s like to eat commodity cheese and peanut butter because my family couldn’t afford anything else. And I know what it’s like to wait in line for hours at a welfare health clinic to get a shot because my family didn’t have health insurance,” Garcia said in a statement announcing her support for Biden. “My parents always taught me that with hard work, a good education, and faith in God, I could accomplish anything. I wish it were still that way today.
“Our current President has made so many promises to hard working Americans that he has failed to deliver on. The American dream is slipping further and further away for many families and leaving behind many children. Vice President Biden has never forgotten his roots and has worked to deliver on the issues that hard working families care about from his time on City Council, all the way to the Senate and the White House. He understands that a quality education, access to affordable health care, and economic opportunities are essential in creating a pathway to the middle-class. I know as president he will ensure that no one is left behind — and that’s why I’m proud to endorse him for President.”
Garcia sounds like Speaker Pelosi in her statement, doesn’t she? She says President Trump “has failed to deliver on” campaign promises made to the middle class yet all economic indicators prove her wrong. Employment is at record levels across the board – for the middle-class worker, minorities, women, and young people. There are endless feel-good stories from middle-class families about the benefits they’ve seen from Trump’s tax cuts. Joe Biden wants to go back to the bad old days of the status quo of higher taxes and fewer opportunities for those looking for work.
Pelosi made an appearance with Garcia Friday in Houston. Garcia led a roundtable discussion with local officials and industry leaders at the Port of Houston Authority. It was the first time in ten years that Pelosi has visited that area of Houston. The infrastructure plan she touts isn’t in the form of a bill yet, though, and Pelosi gave no indication when the House would present it for consideration. In other words, it was a nice photo-op for Democrats to look as though they are working to support the largest port on the Gulf Coast with ideas about infrastructure.
U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Friday said she sees potential for Republican support on parts of Congressional Democrats’ $760 billion infrastructure package related to flood control and speeding up Army Corps of Engineers projects.
“Historically, infrastructure has been a bipartisan issue. Really, the communities come together,” Pelosi told reporters after a roundtable with local officials and industry leaders at the Port of Houston Authority. “That gives us a real opportunity to move forward because, just to use an expression, when we decide on a project that’s going to get resources, we want dirt to fly. We want it to happen.”
Port Houston Commission, leadership and staff welcome U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi with U.S. House Reps Sylvia Garcia and Sheila Jackson Lee for #infrastructure roundtable. #Houston #PortHOU pic.twitter.com/GTAYD7IGlY
— Port Houston (@Port_Houston) February 21, 2020
Flashbacks to shovel-ready jobs promise from Biden and Obama, anyone?
The @Port_Houston is important to our regional economy. Proud that @SpeakerPelosi joined us to learn more about the role the Port of Houston Authority plays in trade and how the #MovingForward Infrastructure bill will help it remain a leader in trade for the next century. pic.twitter.com/9zHg2FTOJr
— Rep. Sylvia Garcia (@RepSylviaGarcia) February 21, 2020
.@SpeakerPelosi thank you for joining us in Houston to discuss how the @HouseDemocrats’ #MovingForward infrastructure proposal will benefit Houston, USMCA, and the role that @Port_Houston plays in our regional economy.
Fue un placer tenerte en Houston. ¡Muchísimas gracias! https://t.co/0ePbE2fOru
— Rep. Sylvia Garcia (@RepSylviaGarcia) February 22, 2020