“I was sitting down with a group of women and one of the older ladies says, ‘Who asked you to run?’ As in, ‘Who said it was your turn?,’ relates Gina Ortiz Jones, an LGBTQ Iraq war veteran running for Congress who wants to protect the rights of those marginalized in her district in Texas, in an interview with CNN.
Her strong reply: “No one needed to ask me.”
From the time she was a young girl, Jones knew she wanted to serve and give back to create a better future, a lesson she learned from her mother.
“My mother came to the U.S. 40 years ago to work as a domestic helper. She graduated in the number one school from the Philippines but came here chasing the American dream,” Jones relates in one of her interviews.
This openly gay daughter of a Filipino immigrant grew up knowing hard work. She remembers her mother always telling her and her sister to “work hard, study hard, anything is possible.”
Study hard she did. She graduated in the top 10 of her class from San Antonio’s John Jay High School, earning a four-year Air Force ROTC scholarship to attend Boston University.
As a cadet under the military’s “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, she says: “Every day of those four years, I lived in fear that if they’d found out I was gay, I would lose my scholarship.”
After graduating from Boston U, Jones entered the U.S. Air Force to work as an intelligence officer where she deployed to Iraq. What was it like serving in Iraq as a gay woman?
“It was stressful ‘cause you’re in a war zone and they added stress of having to serve under the ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ (policy),” she says.
Jones is running for Congress to bring her extensive experience, unique perspective, and the core values instilled in her by her mother while growing up in San Antonio to work in Washington.
She promises to figt every day to ensure all Americans are given the opportunities and promise of a better future.
“Our state and our country are worth fighting for. It’s why I’m running to serve Texas’ 23rd Congressional District,” Jones says.—idgc