BY JOCELYN GONZALEZ
For a congressional district that’s been around since 1903, TX-16 has seen its share of national
exposure, especially now with debates about broken immigration policy and border security.
The district stretches from Anthony all along the Rio Grande down past Horizon City and includes Fort Bliss. Congresswoman Veronica Escobar has been representing the 16th for four years and the Democrat recently won re-election with an overwhelming 63% of the vote.
Escobar visited the El Paso Community College Valle Verde campus on Valentine’s Day for what was billed as an informative presentation on “Serving in the U.S. House of Representatives,” sponsored by EPCC’s Government Discipline. One could say that her visit was indeed a presentation… but informative? Not so much.
Most, if not all, of the information provided to the mix of students and faculty gathered in the ‘flexitorium” of the recently completed AST building at VV could be found on the
Congresswoman’s government campaign website. But answers to a few questions were simple cookie cutter responses culled from the same website.
One student asked, “Out of all of the experiences throughout your career, what has been one of the greatest? What have you learned from it? And how has it changed your person?”
Escobar answered with “Wow that’s a great question. That’s a tough question because I’ve been so fortunate to live through really wonderful experiences, but of course there have been some terrible experiences. You know I think the experience that has never left me and will never leave me is August 3rd…” a reference to the 2019 mass shooting at the Cielo Vista Walmart.
She proceeded to get emotional, talking about her frustration with Congress and its gun control debates, but also how El Paso is “full of love.”
Although her frustration is understandable, expressing it didn’t really answer the question. It’s a good view on how El Paso as a community responded but how is that her greatest experience?
But more troubling is she had already told the story of August 3 and El Paso’s loving response to the situation previously in her morning presentation and was not adding anything new.
Later, while being asked to describe El Paso in one word, she quickly interrupted to answer with “Love.”
All very touching and lovely to hear by her audience of El Pasoans, but it would have been more informative to hear her plans to actually help our “loving” community beyond just suggesting we volunteer by contacting Texas state representatives saying state laws need changing.
It would have been more helpful to learn what the congresswoman’s strategy is to move her co-sponsored Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019 off the dime and passed by the House four years ago, and now wallows in the Senate.
Unfortunately, with her overwhelming re-election victory this past November, Ms. Escobar may
be feeling pretty secure politically and not needing to push for significant change … at least not for another couple of years. It would be nice, though, to take some risks on our behalf.
Now that would surely demonstrate a love for El Paso.