SAN ANTONIO – Editor’s note: Find more races to watch on our Vote 2020 page.
San Antonians in House District 119 will have a new representative following the November election.
According to the 2010 Census, 69% of the people living in the district reside on San Antonio’s south and east sides.
The suburbs of Converse, Live Oak and Universal City in east and northeast Bexar County make up about 25% of the population in the district.
Hispanics make up the ethnic majority at 66%, followed by Anglo at 23% and Black people at 10%.
The last time a Republican ran in this left-leaning district was 2012 when Anna Campos (no relation to Liz) took 38% of the vote.
Garza grew up on the Southeast Side and is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran. He has worked as a barber and on a drilling rig and has earned a bachelor’s degree in business management.
The GOP candidate said his top priority is 50/50 parenting for children whose parents are divorced. The current standard of 30/70 in the state of Texas needs to be replaced, he said.
“I know that children have a better future if they have two parents working together to better their child. This is why I am such a proponent for 50/50 parenting when it comes to separated parents. There are many studies that support this cause and there are states that have already gone to this default judgment,” he said.
Garza is also an advocate of legalizing marijuana for medical and recreational use, saying it could be a great generator of income for a state that has lost millions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“CBD is on the rise, as well as the research showing the many benefits and little side effects associated with marijuana. With marijuana being legalized, we can see prescription pill use decline, do away with petty marijuana crimes and boost our economy,” he said. “I believe with Texas allowing for the production and sale of CBD, we are already taking the first steps into the right direction.”
Garza ran unopposed in the March Primary.
His Democratic challenger, Elizabeth “Liz” Campos, didn’t get on the November ballot as easily. Campos secured the Democratic nomination by defeating Jennifer Ramos in the July runoff by 923 votes, or 13%.
Campos is a plumbing business owner, has worked in the legal field and is a former chief of staff for ex-state Sen. Carlos Uresti. Uresti’s resignation from Senate District 19 opened the way for Gutierrez to seek that seat, which in turn left his House District 119 seat open.
Campos said her record in Austin speaks for itself.
“My reputation in the Texas Legislature is one of honesty and integrity. As Chief of Staff, I focused on constituent services and advancing legislation for cities and counties,” she said. “The excellent work in our office was recognized by leaders at the Capitol in Austin and voters back home in San Antonio. I ask voters to judge me on my record of proven experience, impeccable reputation, and legislative priorities: jobs, education, and healthcare.”
Campos said, if elected, her No. 1 priority in the next session of the Texas Legislature is to pass a budget that includes significant investments in public education, health care and social safety net programs. She said the possibility of a $12 billion shortfall in state revenues and an estimated $5 billion budget deficit will require tapping into creative sources of income.
“I will protect our investments in social programs by identifying additional sources of revenue (drawing down more federal money, closing tax loopholes for corporations that don’t pay taxes, decriminalizing and taxing marijuana, tapping the state’s rainy day fund, etc),” she said.
Two other candidates are also running against Garza and Campos. They include Libertarian Arthur Thomas, who has run for various offices in the past. Antonio Padro, the Green Party candidate, is an artist and a transit bus driver.