With political tensions getting more heated in Texas, Sema Hernandez—former nursing assistant, mother, and baseball coach— is campaigning against Ted Cruz for US Senate.
Hernandez decided to run against Cruz after watching the healthcare debate between the Texas Senator and Senator Bernie Sanders on CNN in February.
“Cruz has single-handedly tried to bring down healthcare,” Hernandez told Truth Against The Machine. “He may represent Texas, but he doesn’t represent me and countless other Texans.”
Hernandez’s platform includes raising the minimum wage to $15, universal basic income, environmental justice, Medicare for All, College for All, Immigration Reform, and Net Neutrality.
“I have a background in the medical industry and I have a background in being a human,” Hernandez said.
Where’s the Texas Democratic Party?
About a week before Beto O’Rourke, US Representative for Texas’s 16th congressional district in his native El Paso, Texas, announced his candidacy, Hernandez called the Texas Democratic Party to ask who they were going to run against Cruz. At that time the party wasn’t sure and O’Rourke and Texas Congressman Joaquin Castro were being discussed to see if it was “feasible.”
“I informed [the Texas Democratic Party]: With all due respect, while they are deciding if it’s feasible, I’m calling to let you know I’m running against Ted Cruz; I don’t need a team of advisors to tell me we need better representation in the Senate,” Hernandez said.
Hernandez has not heard from the party since.
What about Beto O’Rourke?
Robert Francis O’Rourke calls himself “Beto” to be more relatable to the largely Hispanic El Paso community he represents, but couldn’t join a Hispanic caucus in El Paso back in 2013 because he lacks a Hispanic heritage.
Aside from trying to cater to the Hispanic vote by using a nickname, O’Rourke has a history of not showing up to vote on federal issues; has an internet services company; has telecom industries as his sixth-highest donor; and his top individual contributors and industries are sketchy.
While O’Rourke has adopted Bernie’s fundraising strategy for his Texas US Senate campaign, focusing only on voters and not big money, his record shows that he campaigned with Obama to support the TPP, was a super delegate for Hillary Clinton in the primaries, and currently hasn’t co-sponsored HR 676 (Medicare for All Act) or HR 608 (Stop Arming Terrorists Act).
“Just because you take [Bernie’s fundraising strategy] to campaign doesn’t make you a progressive,” Hernandez said. “If he’s a true progressive, why hasn’t he co-sponsored HR676 or HR 608? Even if these bills don’t do enough, co-sponsor it, and fight to make it better for the people.”
Hernandez’s time as a nursing assistant and her time in nursing school exposed her to harsh circumstances surrounding the medical field.
“The most traumatic experience I had was putting a five-hour newborn in the morgue,” she said. “And the most memorable was holding the hand of a patient while waiting for his family to get there before he passed.”
Before working in the medical field, Hernandez was raised by her single mother who immigrated here illegally as a 14-year-old. Most of her childhood was spent in orchards watching her mom and grandmother pick oranges and apples.
“We were those second-class people in the shadows no one ever talks about,” she said. “I never saw the pickers as illegal – they were just people – certainly just people.”
Because Hernandez’s mother was single and lacking opportunities, she juggled adult duties at a very early age and thus became a bully and was also bullied in school.
“The only person who could reach me was my friend in high school who eventually became my husband,” Hernandez said. “We were four months pregnant before graduating high school.”
Despite this, Hernandez and her husband worked hard to go to college. At the time, nursing school didn’t require an associate’s degree, so she went towards that.
“I didn’t want to become a statistic or let that stereotype bring me down,” she said.
Hernandez was not able to finish nursing school as juggling kids, work, and college delayed her for one semester. When she went back to finish, the nursing program required an associate’s and another year of college, which was not feasible for Hernandez. She was not able to finish her Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) Degree. Because she didn’t want that to be her story, she went on to become a nursing assistant.
“No matter what you choose, you’re shamed,” Hernandez said. “How are you supposed to lift yourself up? This is why I’m running for Senate, to free people from oppressive policies.”
To learn more about Sema Hernandez and her campaign, click here.
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