Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez met with about 35 people at Square One Downtown in Bryan Tuesday evening and shared her self-described progressive vision for Texas at an event hosted by Young Dems BCS.
According to recent polls, Tzintzún Ramirez is one of the leading candidates among the 12 Democrats in the primary race as the party hopes to defeat Republican U.S. Sen. John Cornyn in November. She outlined a number of organizations that have endorsed her, including the Working Families Party.
Ramirez is a co-founder of the Workers Defense Project and Jolt, an organization mobilizing the Latino vote in Texas. During her Bryan visit, she discussed her experience leading progressive organizations and “building progressive coalitions.”
“At a very young age, I learned how to bring people together and help make government work for them — and tackle issues like raising wages, making jobs safer for people in our state, and tackling issues like student debt and climate change,” she said.
Tzintzún Ramirez, who described her economic message as a populist one, said she favors publicly financed elections and called for an “opt-out” voter registration system. She also wants to see elections held on a federal holiday.
“We are so close to flipping Texas [blue], and we want to make sure that there is a real progressive at the top of the ticket so that we can address the multiple issues that we all care about,” she said. “Many of the counties in Texas that people think of as red, after 2018 people discovered a whole network of people that care about many of the same things that we care about.”
Attendees asked Tzintzún Ramirez a variety of questions, from concerns about voter suppression to criminal justice reform topics.
Tzintzún Ramirez was born in Moxahala, Ohio. Her parents operated a jewelry business and their family lived in Ohio and in the Dallas neighborhood of Oak Cliff. She graduated from the University of Texas, and also attended Austin Community College.
Tzintzún Ramirez announced her candidacy last August. Other candidates include Air Force veteran MJ Hegar; former Houston congressman Chris Bell; Sema Hernandez; former Houston City Councilwoman Amanda Edwards; ; and state Sen. Royce West of Dallas.
Brazos County Precinct 4 Justice of the Peace Celina Vasquez attended the event, as did local attorney Freddie Medina, who is a Democrat running for Brazos County Attorney.
Stephanie Koithan, president and founder of host group Young Dems BCS, said the group has not officially endorsed a candidate. Koithan described Sen. Cornyn as “a proxy of Trump” and said “we need someone in that office who actually represents what the people of Texas are about and what our values are.”
“I was hoping to get some of the candidates for the Senate race, and was especially keen to get a frontrunner to speak here in Brazos County,” Koithan said. “We want to hear from everybody.”
Tzintzún Ramirez asked attendees to raise their hands if they are under 30, and most people raised their hands. Two such attendees, 21-year-old Jaycee Jones and Aya Bridgeland, 23, are graduate students at Texas A&M. Jones and Bridgeland said they appreciated learning about Tzintzún Ramirez’s organizing background and progressive values.
“I liked everything she said — there were no red flags,” said Bridgeland, who lifted up the candidate’s support of Medicare For All as a particular positive for her.
“I like that she has a strong grassroots background, because getting youth out to vote — I feel like that’s very important for how she understands what it takes,” Jones said.
Early voting begins for the March 3 primary on Feb. 18.