For U.S. Congress
I was born in Louisiana, but I grew up in Houston so I consider myself a native Houstonian. I grew up in South Park on the southside of Houston in a neighborhood where a lot of folks didn’t make it out. Many people served time, there were a lot of teenage mothers -- it was a tough place to grow up and if you made it out, you were one of the lucky ones.
My mom had only a 10th grade education when she moved to Houston. She left the family farm in Louisiana where she would pick cotton and grow corn. My dad grew up in East Texas around Piney Woods. He only had a 6th grade education but was able to find work as a car attendant with the Houston Police Department. My mom later found work as a maid and a nanny.
"I grew up in a time where the American Dream was real, if you worked hard and got a good education you could make it."
I grew up in a time where the American Dream was real, if you worked hard and got a good education you could make it. Even though they never finished school, my parents were able to find good work and help my brother, sister and I find better opportunities. I got my first job when I was 13, and did a bit of everything along the way. I went to work for Southwestern Bell, where I stayed for 30 years.
Because my parents never got to finish their education, I knew how important it was for me to finish mine. It wasn’t easy as a single mother, working full time, and it took me a long time. But today I’m proud to say my children and I are all first generation college graduates. In fact, I graduated with my Bachelor’s degree in Business Management the same time as my son.
But I was hungry for more, so I chased my dream and pursued my Masters in Education. Today I work for the largest school district in Texas and I am currently working on my PhD in Education Administration. I believe education is how we bring opportunity within anyone’s grasp -- and my life has proven it.
"I believe education is how we bring opportunity within anyone’s grasp -- and my life has proven it."
But there are other obstacles now, and things are different for working families today than when I came up. My kids don’t have the same job opportunities that I had, and the jobs they get don’t pay as much as I used to make. When I was their age I was able to own a home, but my son and daughter can’t afford to. I want to create a better life for my children and my children’s children, like my parents did for me.
I’m running for office because there is power in politics -- power that can be used for good or for bad, for selfish or selfless reasons. I want to be someone who wields the power of government to help regular people. I want to be a voice for the voiceless, the people ignored by our current political climate.
I have actively been on the political scene since 2012, when I joined the Obama staff, organizing the Houston area. Since then I served as the Community Outreach Director for Sylvia Garcia's successful Senate campaign. In 2013, I brought the Battleground Texas vision to the Houston/Gulf Coast area, serving as the Deputy Field Director, with responsibility for a 13 county area. Most recently, I ran for Pearland City Council in 2015 and 2016.
Organizing is a great fit for me. I love knocking on doors, talking to people and finding out what moves them. I see the goodness in people, no matter their circumstances, and I want to help those who are struggling to get ahead. I want them to have the same opportunities I had -- things like access to good healthcare, job opportunities, and the chance to get an education no matter how much (or how little) their family makes.
Texas’s 14th district has also been hit with significant job losses in recent years. Now it’s hard for many, especially around Beaumont, to find reliable employment that pays people enough to live. The manufacturing industry that dominated Beaumont has largely shut down, taking thousands of strong middle income jobs with it.
"When I look around our district, I see a lot of people hurting, but I also see tremendous possibility."
When I look around our district, I see a lot of people hurting, but I also see tremendous possibility. I have a plan for $100 billion in federal grants and investments for these communities, a strategy to bring back jobs through new industry and infrastructure development. Texas has one of the most robust economies in the country -- even the world. There’s no reason the 14th shouldn’t be an economic leader.
But at the end of the day, you can’t work if you’re sick and can’t afford treatment. That’s why I believe healthcare is a human right. I know Texas is ready for single payer even if Rep. Randy Weber doesn’t agree. Weber joined his Republican colleagues in voting for American Health Care Act, but I’m watching these town halls and I’m talking to voters in our area -- I see Republicans and Democrats alike demanding better options. I am ready to fight for Medicare for All so that everyone can get the treatment they need.
Everyone has a right to health care, a good education, and the opportunity to succeed. That’s what I will fight for as your Representative.
To support Adrienne Bell for Congress.