Nov 18, 2021
The Sunrise Movement announced Thursday its endorsement of progressive Jessica Cisneros in her primary challenge to oust Democratic Congressman Henry Cuellar and represent Texas' 28th Congressional District.
"She knows that it takes bold solutions to solve the crises we face."
Human rights and immigration attorney Cisneros in August launched her campaign to primary Cuellar for a second time after she narrowly lost to the establishment-backed incumbent in the 2020 primary election, though newly redrawn maps mean the district now has different boundaries.
Cuellar, who's represented the South Texas district since 2005, has a 47% lifetime score from the League of Conservation Voters, has been described by the Texas AFL-CIO as "not on working people's side," and was recently criticized by NARAL Pro-Choice America for being "the last anti-choice Democrat in the House."
The contrast between the two Democrats, Sunrise executive director Varshini Prakash said in a statement, is stark.
"As Texans froze to death during the Texas Freeze last winter, Henry Cuellar spent his winter cozying up to the people responsible for the climate disaster: fossil fuel corporations, while he left communities to fend for themselves," said Prakash, whereas "Cisneros fought for her community through that freeze."
"She understands the crises we face," Prakash added, "and she is ready to take power from corporate Democrats like Cuellar and give it back to her community."
\u201cI am beyond proud to be the @sunrisemvmt's first U.S. House endorsement this cycle. Sunrise backed our campaign 2 years ago & helped us come within 3K votes from defeating \u201cBig Oil's Favorite Democrat\u201d. \n\nI\u2019m honored that they\u2019re joining us to finish what we started together.\u201d— Jessica Cisneros (@Jessica Cisneros) 1637248762
Prakash said her group is "excited to endorse and put the power of our movement behind Cisneros because she knows that it takes bold solutions to solve the crises we face--that means passing a Green New Deal, Medicare for All, fighting for a pathway to citizenship, and more."
The declaration of support for Cisneros--the Sunrise Movement's first House endorsement of the 2022 campaign cycle--followed previous endorsements Cisneros received from progressive groups including Indivisible, NARAL, and Working Families Party.
In an email to supporters Thursday, Justice Democrats called Sunrise's endorsement a sign of growing momentum in a "fight against corporate Democrat Henry Cuellar," who "has received more than $800,000 from the fossil fuel industry. He's one the most conservative Democrats in the House, especially when it comes to climate change. We need to elect Jessica and defeat him."
"The Democratic Party isn't taking the bold action we need to solve the climate crisis," the group wrote. "The answer is right there in front of us: a Green New Deal. But lawmakers like Henry Cuellar and the rest of the corporate Democrats are holding us back. Cuellar doesn't even want to take incremental steps on climate. That's how bad he is."
Cisneros, for her part, also criticized the campaign cash Cuellar has received from oil and gas interests and accused him of "consistently support[ing] policies that roll back protections that keep our water drinkable, our air breathable, and our communities safe from environmental threats."
In her statement vowing to "fight for our families like our lives and planet depend on it" and welcoming Sunrise's endoresment, Cisneros added: "I know that our future depends on bold leaders and organizers who will step up to meet the moment and protect our planet, so I'm honored that they're joining us to finish what we started together."
The primary is scheduled for March 1, 2022.
Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.
We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.