Pinoys in US come together to raise funds for Fil-Am congressional hopeful

TJ Manotoc, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 07 2019 03:34 PM | Updated as of Sep 08 2019 12:26 PM

(UPDATE) Filipina-American Texas congressional candidate Gina Ortiz Jones visited San Francisco on Thursday to meet with the Filipino community who wants to support her. 

The Bay Area Fil-Am Community led by Rodel Rodis of US Pinoys for Good Governance was eager to meet Jones. They say they cannot wait to get a Filipino-American woman in the US Congress. 

Although they are not from her 23rd district of Texas, they want to donate funds to Jones who narrowly lost in the last elections, when she was massively outspent.

In the November 2018 US midterm elections, Jones was defeated by incumbent Republican Will Hurd by only 926 votes.

In May, Jones announced her bid to run again. Just this August, Hurd announced he would not seek reelection. 

"Nine hundred twenty-six votes is all that separated us last time. And we were massively outspent. So I think you saw the writing on the wall. It was not going to get any easier. We were going to work just as hard. And look at 98 days, I raised a million dollars. So you know, we're working hard. That's what this district represents. And that's we're going to continue to bring until next November," Jones confidently declared.

Jones said she learned so much from the life sacrifices from her Filipino mother, Victorina Medenilla Ortiz.

"I am a first generation (Filipino) American. My mom is from Pangasinan, San Quentin. She graduated from UP Diliman. And so you know, I carry with her with me, her sacrifice, for example. And I look forward to making sure that our voices are heard. You know what? One of the fastest growing minority groups in the country and we still do not have a Filipino representative in Congress. So, you know, I look forward to bringing our life experiences," she said.

Jones touched on issues, such as calling for stricter gun laws and a more humane approach to immigration and border protection.

El Paso is one of the cities that is in the 23rd Congressional District where Jones is running. It was there that last month the US saw one of the deadliest mass shootings in history. 

Jones, being trained to use high powered weapons said stricter gun laws is a must. 

"I remain committed to making sure that we have a country that works for everybody on the topic of gun violence. 

She said four of the 10 deadliest mass shootings in the US happened in Texas, and Killeen in Austin, El Paso and in Sutherland Springs. 

"We have to lead on this issue as a veteran. I know exactly how dangerous these assault weapons can be. I trained in the M4. We have to take these weapons of war off the streets," she added.

Jones added that Congress must prioritize the lives of innocent kids over the funding they receive from the gun lobby. 

"This is a courage problem. We need people in Congress. They're going to make sure that we are fighting to make sure our kids are safe. And not being complicit and not being silent, because they're too busy cashing these checks from a gun lobby," she said.

When the Air Force veteran was asked who was her role model in her quest for public service in this phase of her life, without batting an eyelash she said it was her mother.

She said her mother came to the US as a domestic helper.

"You work hard, you make it happen. And that's the lesson that my mom instilled in my sister and I--that we were very lucky to be born here. And that we would have to give back to a country that gave us so much." 

"That's why I served. That's why my sister is still in the Navy. And that's why I'm running for this office because our country, the promise of our country is worth fighting for," she said.

Jones said she would be honored to be the first Filipino-American woman in the US Congress, but said what's more important is that she won’t be the last. 

If Jones wins the seat, she would make history as the first openly gay Congresswoman and first Filipina in US Congress. 

Her election will coincide with the US Presidential Election in November of 2020.

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