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Candidates vie for position in larger District 34

By chirst
Oct. 20, 2012 at 5:20 a.m.

Jessica Puente Bradshaw

JESSICA PUENTE BRADSHAW

• POLITICAL PARTY: Republican

• AGE: 38

• CITY OF RESIDENCE: Brownsville

• OCCUPATION: Real estate investor

• EDUCATION: Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Utah

•  WEBSITE: http://www.texansforjessica.com/welcome.php

FILEMON VELA

• POLITICAL PARTY: Democrat

• AGE: 49

• CITY OF RESIDENCE: Brownsville

• OCCUPATION: Attorney

•  EDUCATION: Georgetown University; Juris Doctor from the University of Texas at Austin

•  WEBSITE: http://www.velaforcongress.com/index.html

After redistricting, staying connected with voters in a larger district is a priority for the candidates in District 34.

The recently defined Congressional district now includes Cameron, Hidalgo, Willacy, Kenedy, Kleberg, Jim Wells, San Patricio, Bee, Goliad, DeWitt and Gonzales counties.

Jessica Puente Bradshaw, the Republican candidate, and Filemon Vela, the Democratic candidate, have different plans to keep voters connected and informed.

Bradshaw has divided the larger district into two areas and plans to conduct quarterly town hall meetings in each area if elected. She also plans to coordinate a monthly teleconference for constituents to bring up suggestions as well as concerns about her voting.

Instead of dividing the district, Vela said he hopes to have a mobile command center to bring to voters.

"We haven't won yet, but what I am playing with is the idea of a mobile office. If not a mobile office, maybe an office in each county that staff visits once a week or something of that nature," Vela said.

In terms of issues, both candidates say they are concerned about education in their districts.

Vela said he is concerned about funding for education, especially for disabled children. He said he would help education and lower unemployment in the district by promoting the Eagle Ford Shale and supporting the construction of an LNG facility in Brownsville.

As a former educator in San Jose, Calif., Bradshaw said she is the best choice to help education in District 34.

"I am an educator and a teacher, and I understand what students require and that we have a Department of Education that is hurting more than helping," Bradshaw said.

Other issues at the top of the race is support for small businesses, unemployment and immigration.

"When it comes to the needs of the nation, they are great, but I think Americans now, and in this district especially, are ready to start making the sacrifices to invest in their own communities, their own counties, their own neighborhoods," Bradshaw said.

Vela wants to address the needs of the nation by cooperating across parties.

"I want to help break the gridlock in Washington and bring some bipartisan solutions to many of the issues that we are facing right now," Vela said.

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