Did your view of the world as a historian affect your decision to run for Congress? If so, how?
There is little doubt that my view of the world as a historian affected my decision to run for Congress. I believe my scholarly training of research, writing, and presentation positioned me to assess, evaluate, and critically think about the issues that uniquely impact our rural district. I always considered myself as a scholar activist and see my run for Congress as an evolution of my community involvement and investment.
How do you think that voters would respond to your background as a historian?
Voters have already responded positively to my background as a historian. The key reason is that I have been active in Lubbock and the surrounding region since I moved here in 2007 by giving talks, presentations, serving on panels, moderating forums, and other activities at Texas Tech and beyond.
How do you use your training as a historian to understand our current political moment?
As I prepare for my run for Congress, my critical research and thinking skills allow me to assess, evaluate, and present solutions to our issues and problems in the Texas South Plains. Moreover, my utilization of the rich intellectual resources at Texas Tech University, a Tier 1 research university, and others in the region support my ability to formulate ideas and solutions for our region. I have met with several experts and scholars in agricultural economics, health care delivery systems, immigration law, and others to build my position on various issues that affect our region.
You study the history of the U.S.-Mexico borderlands. How might you use your expertise in this area for your campaign?
I have spent my entire professional career researching the U.S.-Mexico borderlands and I am a product of the region. My personal and scholarly background positions me to understand the complexities of the border and the interdependent and bilateral context of the region. The border should not be treated as a politicized landscape but understood as a place with deeply committed and hard-working people who are bicultural and bilingual and all the richer for it. The border is not a danger zone but a culturally rich home for many. Moreover, my training in Mexican American Studies at The University of Texas at Austin’s Center for Mexican American Studies allows me to understand the interdisciplinary nature of the region and its complexities. I don’t approach my study of the border simply as a historian but as a scholar utilizing various disciplines to better understand the rich and colorful region. The border is personal for me because my parents, brother, and extended family all live in the El Paso area. It is where I was born and raised. It will always be a part of me.