Political elections are always interesting. In any election, the good, the bad and even the ugly shows up and the issues often take a backseat to candidate mudslinging and bickering. Integrity loses center stage and residents of embattled districts are lost in the shuffle. In Dallas the winds of change have once again come with the creation of a new district, Congressional District-33, commonly known as CD-33.
CD-33 is the first district of its kind: featuring communities in Tarrant and Dallas County. The district encompasses large African American and integrated neighborhoods in the City of Fort Worth. It then extends east to include part of Arlington and then further east to include part of Grand Prairie, part of Irving and the north Oak Cliff area of Dallas (Lone Star Project, 2012). This includes the Stockyards as well. Typically, the DFW metro area was an expanding tale of two metro areas that remained as separate from the other as possible. Now with the creation of CD-33, residents of Tarrant and Dallas County must find common ground in an elected official who understands the needs of each community.
With 11 candidates vying for the spot to represent the combined residents, who stands out to represent the African American voice the best? Unfortunately, it does not appear that Fort Worth State Representative Marc Veasey, an African American, is ideal. Rather, Domingo Garcia, a Dallas resident, attorney and businessman is the answer.
Who is Domingo Garcia?
What do you get when you combine integrity, compassion and a regard for all people? You get a candidate who understands the importance of the community they serve. You get a candidate who cares for the people. You get a candidate who fights for the equality and justice regardless of socioeconomic status. You get, what many of the newly formed Congressional District 33 call a great leader, Domingo Garcia.
Garcia is an attorney and businessman who grew up in Dallas. He understands the issues impacting both Hispanics and African Americans throughout the metro areas. Garcia graduated from Texas Southern University Thurgood Marshall School of Law in Houston and serves the less fortunate residents of West Dallas.
His political career started in 1988 when he was elected to the Democratic National Committee serving eight years. Garcia has served Dallas residents several times. In 1991, he was elected to the Dallas City Council. During his four years of service, Garcia became the first Latino ever elected to Mayor Pro Tem for the City of Dallas. He has fought for the rights of minorities at a state level. In 1996, he served as a Texas State Representative, where he served on the Criminal Jurisprudence and Judicial Affairs Committees.
Garcia is passionate in his pursuit of justice for not only Hispanics but for African Americans. He was a part of the legislative team that worked to create single-member districts in Dallas in an effort to increase minority representation. During his tenure Garcia shepherded numerous bills to help students receive a quality college education. He is passionate about every child’s ability to learn. With his leadership, the Texas legislature passed the Top 10% Rule, which increases African American and Hispanic students’ ability to attend Texas public colleges and universities. Garcia has worked tirelessly to improve law enforcement interaction with citizens and the protection of civil rights of minority groups.
The issues Garcia plans to champion in Washington, D.C. include job creation in the Dallas/Fort Worth communities, resource sustainability, helping small businesses, fixing the embattled Fort Worth and Dallas Independent School Districts, availability of affordable college for all students pursuing higher education, protecting Health Care Reform, ensuring equal rights for all citizens, reforming immigration laws, protecting our country and its borders and taking the fight of financial equality for everyone to Wall Street.
Let’s not forget Garcia’s endorsement by Senator Royce West. However, does this mean he is the right candidate to capture the African American vote in CD-33?
African American public officials have failed us
With the shift in each district it appears African American elected officials are losing their edge for being the proverbial freedom fighter for their districts. It seems the African American candidates have let their communities down while not embracing Hispanics either. The once predominantly African American districts are now becoming a highly Hispanic community. The district is made up of 61 percent Hispanics of voting age. Unfortunately, only 39 percent of those voting age persons are citizens. African Americans are 25 percent of voting age residents.
According to the Texas House of Representatives website, the numbers show African American elected officials are no longer leading predominately African American districts. Representatives Eric Johnson, Stefani Carter, Helen Giddings and Barbara Mallory-Caraway have all lost considerable strength in numbers of African American voters.
In each congressional district in which these representatives won, the numbers are surprising:
- District 100 – Eric Johnson – African Americans account for 38.9 percent of residents, whereas Hispanics are 46.5 percent.
- District 102 – Stefani Carter – Hispanics outnumber African Americans by almost 20,000 residents or by at least 15 percent more than African Americans.
- District 109 – Helen Giddings – is one of the few districts where African Americans still possess a strong presence with 65.5 percent over the 17.7 percent Hispanics.
- District 110 – Barbara Mallory-Caraway, wife of former Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway holds a seat in a district where only 39.4 percent of its residents are African American. The other 47.5 percent is Hispanic.
The economic recovery in the African American community is still slow to get going and African Americans continue to lag behind other minority groups. Unfortunately, African Americans continue to dominate the unemployment rates and African American politicians have seemingly done nothing short of delivering empty promises that gain momentum during the election process. In this current election process for the new CD-33, which ends May 29, African American candidates are campaigning to merely decrease the gaps that continue to plague the African American community. Yet, disparity still lurks in these communities, and now African Americans are the second largest minority group.
Garcia has been successful at working with leaders and residents in both the African American and Hispanic communities to increase prosperity opportunities for both. While his platform mirrors many of the candidates of the CD-33, his desire to include all minorities, especially African Americans and Hispanics shows his ability to see beyond the division simmering between the two races.
The key to any political strategy is the development and implementation of a well thought out campaign, which is executed once elected. For far too long Dallas African American politicians have over promised and under-delivered.
The numbers don’t lie. Hispanics are now the majority in once predominantly communities. African American political figures have done little to reach across the color line to include Hispanics and vice versa. For CD-33 candidate Garcia, he plans to bring together just two counties for the greater good, but also both races in his fight in Washington.