Other stories filed under Features
Henry Cuellar discusses topics he advocates for his platform
February 23, 2018
Photo: Congressman Henry Cuellar speaks to farmers in his congressional district. https://cuellar.house.gov
Since 2006, Henry Cuellar has been in office as a U.S Representative for Texas 28th Congressional District and is known to be hardworking and a great voice in politics, according to The Wall Street Journal. He was the first person from his hometown in over 20 years to become a representative and has been a known advocate for better government, border security, commerce, trade, and small business.
This congressman was elected to represent a very diverse area that goes all the way down to McAllen and up to San Antonio.
“My job is basically to fight for the good legislation that we think is good for the area. Then if its bad, fight against that,” he said in a recent telephone interview.
In addition, Cuellar sits on the appropriation committee, which handles the country’s money equally. While doing his job, he makes sure that South Texas gets its share of money, as well.
“I want to make sure that South Texas and the border area is given its fair distribution of federal funding,” he said.
Cuellar is from Laredo, Texas, and has come a long way but sees his hometown as an impact to better understand political issues.
“We know the border is very dynamic; therefore, since we are born there, live there, we understand the border. So in Washington, it is important that whenever we make decisions about the border that we’re involved in those conversations,” Cuellar said.
He lives his life as a congressman but has not forgotten where he comes from.
“The Hispanic community provides a lot of energy, knowledge, and work,” Cuellar said.
Not only has being a Hispanic impacted his viewpoints but rather how strong he feels in politics. Cuellar said he believes that “having diversity is what makes our country so strong.”
A firm disagreement that he has with the administration is the removal of the immigration policy called the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Cuellar is highly determined to be the voice that changes the future of this policy.
“These are almost 800,000 young people that over 90 percent of them are working, going to school, or are in the military. Those are the type of immigrants we want. They are good and productive citizens, people that will contribute to our country. I am doing everything to fight for them here,” he said.
Besides this contradiction, Cuellar does not approve of the Trump’s executive order to build a wall along the U.S Mexico border. The president has been targeting to fulfill this goal since his campaign. The objective of this wall is to prevent immigrants from entering the U.S illegally.
However, Cuellar gave his view on Trump’s intentions. The representative was invited to a meeting along with 22 members of Congress in order to discuss DACA, border security, and immigration.
“It was a give and take. I had an opportunity to present my side. I basically said, ‘hey I’m from the border and this is how we should provide sensible border security,’” he said.
Cuellar mentions his lack of interest in the wall and how it would not be a rational answer to his problems. He believes that technology and better people on the job would be a reasonable solution for border security to be resolved by ways other than the wall.
“Using cameras, sensors, drones, aerostats, that can provide what we call situational awareness; that is, knowing what’s coming in. We need to do that, make sure we use technology and make sure we have the right personnel,” Cuellar said.
In addition, he knows the U.S benefits from Mexico’s contributions in matters of trade.
“We do understand that right across the river there is a neighbor called Mexico, where everywhere we have 1.3 billion dollars of trade,” he said.
Cuellar advises the residents to keep an active voice and keep fighting for what is right, just as he is.
“Stand up and say something. There are many times (Trump) will attack the Hispanic community and people don’t say anything. They might say something to their friends, or amongst a group of people, but they need to make sure they let the senators and congressmen know how they feel about this,” Cuellar said.
“You got to make sure you stand up and say something when you disagree. We all have to contribute to society,” he added.
Cuellar is very strong on education just as his family is. He first attended Buenos Aires Elementary and graduated from J.W Nixon High School. Afterwards, he decided to stay in town and attend Laredo Community College to earn his associates degree. Georgetown University in Washington, D.C was Cuellar’s next stop. There he learned what hard work was about; he had to get a job in order to pay for college. Furthermore, he returned to his hometown and attended Texas A&M International University and got a master’s degree in international trade.
However, this was not the end of Cuellar’s education. Next, he moved a few hours away from Laredo and graduated from The University of Texas in Austin with a law degree and a Ph.D. in government.
Nowadays, students from certain areas including Laredo are underestimated because of where they come from. Cuellar encourages students to focus on their education no matter what community they are being raised in and to set high standards for themselves as he did for himself.
“Get a good education, work hard, and as you’re working make sure you set long and short-term goals for yourself. You got to know where you are headed to,” he said.
“Remember with a good education it is not where you’ve come from but where you are going,” Cuellar added.
Video (below): Congressman Henry Cuellar speaks on connecting DACA legislation to the proposed border wall.