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Candidate Forum: Roland Gutierrez Aims To Unseat GOP Incumbent Pete Flores In Texas Senate District 19

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Democrat Roland Gutierrez (left) vacated his seat in the Texas House to challenge GOP incumbent Sen. Pete Flores (right) to represent Senate District 19.

Come November, San Antonians will vote to fill statewide positions including in the Texas Senate. Democrat Roland Gutierrez vacated his seat in the Texas House to challenge GOP incumbent Sen. Pete Flores to represent Senate District 19.

The district — which stretches across 17 counties, including parts of Bexar and Atascosa, and south along the U.S.-Mexico border — was reliably blue until a 2018 special election upset following Carlos Uresti's resignation amid felony corruption charges.

Former game warden and then political newcomer Flores was the first Republican to win in SD-19 since the 1870s.

Gutierrez has represented District 119 in the Texas House of Representatives since 2008. Prior to that, he occupied the District 3 seat on San Antonio City Council.
When it comes to how the state handled the COVID-19 crisis, Gutierrez said he feels Gov. Greg Abbott allowed the situation to become too partisan.

“Where I do fault the governor is, is taking down going down this road of partisanship, not having people wear masks, not indicating that that was an important thing to do. Clearly, the science was on our side on that, clearly wearing a mask makes a difference. And we could have avoided so many deaths in Texas and so many deaths in the United States. Had we simply done the minimum,” Gutierrez said.

In a time where many are questioning the justice system and law enforcement, Gutierrez said there needs to be reform, such as banning no-knock warrants and chokeholds.

“We need to uphold the Constitution in the right way. We need to keep out bad police officers that have a history of violence. And yet, the rules say that we can only have a six month and a two year look back that needs to change. And so none of us nobody I know wants to defund the police,” Gutierrez said.

What are the candidates' priorities for this expansive district and Texas' fast-approaching 2021 legislative session?

What issues matter most to SD-19 residents? How would candidates support constituents impacted by COVID-19?

Incumbent Sen. Pete Flores (R) declined to take part in this candidate forum. Libertarian candidate Jo-Anne Valdivia did not meet TPR's qualifications to participate.

Early voting in Bexar County is Oct. 13-30. Election Day is Nov. 3. More information here.

Guest: Roland Gutierrez (D)

"The Source" is a live call-in program airing Mondays through Thursdays from 12-1 p.m. Leave a message before the program at (210) 615-8982. During the live show, call  833-877-8255, email thesource@tpr.org  or tweet @TPRSource.

*This interview was recorded on Tuesday, October 13.

Kathleen Creedon can be reached at kathleen@tpr.org or on Twitter at @Kath_Creedon