Immigration reform, job creation and public education.
Those should be among the top priorities for the person elected this year to represent the 33rd Congressional District, both candidates seeking the post agree.
But who that person should be is where U.S. Rep. Marc Veasey, D-Fort Worth, and Libertarian challenger Jason Reeves disagree.
“I am running for re-election to Congress so that I may continue to advocate on behalf of the residents of CD 33,” said Veasey, 43. “During my first year in Congress, I have fought hard on behalf of the people I represent.
“I have advocated for comprehensive immigration reform, for universal healthcare and for maintaining SNAP funding. I am running for Congress to continue the fight in Washington.”
Reeves, a 41-year-old security guard, said he wants to give voters a choice.
“I am running to be the candidate for those who favor less government interference in their lives and are for personal freedom,” said Reeves, of Grand Prairie. “Not being shackled to the two-party system will enable me to bring a unique voice to Congress.
“I am the better candidate because I do not have to be beholden to what the two major parties would mandate of me. I can act freely but with conjunction of either party. I can be the embodiment of true partisanship.”
The two are facing off in a quiet race for District 33, which stretches from the Fort Worth Stockyards to Oak Cliff in Dallas.
The district, one of four new districts Texas gained in recent years because of population growth, was created to give North Texas minority voters a chance to elect a U.S. representative of their choice. Veasey was that choice in 2012 and was the first person chosen to represent the district.
At stake is a two-year term that pays $174,000 a year.
Early voting runs from Oct. 20 to 31.
Veasey began his political career as a longtime aide to former U.S. Rep. Martin Frost, D-Arlington, before he was elected to the Texas House in 2004.
After serving five terms, he ran for the new 33rd District two years ago.
That 2012 race was one of the hottest and most controversial local races for Congress: It began with 11 candidates in the Democratic primary and ended with Veasey gaining the nomination over Dallas attorney and former state Rep. Domingo Garcia of Dallas in a runoff. Veasey went on to easily win the general election.
He is seeking a second term.
“My top priorities are job creation, strengthening our public schools, expanding access to affordable healthcare and comprehensive immigration reform,” he said.
Veasey raised nearly $140,000 for the race from April to June and has more than $200,000 cash on hand, according to July quarterly reports filed with the Federal Election Commission.
He has picked up a variety of endorsements from politicians including President Barack Obama, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, state Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, and Democratic state Reps. Chris Turner of Grand Prairie and Nicole Collier of Fort Worth.
“I want constituents to know that I am here to serve them,” he said. “I am working very hard to increase the accessibility of our congressional office by hosting events like Congress on Your Corner at local grocery stores and weekly Community Office Hours at local libraries to help constituents cut through our bureaucratic red tape so that they get the assistance and service they deserve.”
Reeves said he has run for office once before, seeking a seat in the Nevada State Assembly, the lower chamber in the Legislature there, in 2010 as a candidate for the Constitution Party.
He said he’s not a politician but wants to go to Washington to work for North Texans.
“I am a concerned citizen who has seen what politicians do to communities when driven by party ideology,” he wrote on his campaign website. “It’s time for a new vision, a new direction for District 33.
“I will be committed to the community and dedicated to progress for the people of my district. Job creation and immigration reform are my two main goals for the people of District 33.”
Reforming education is another of his top goals.
He lists no endorsements for this race, and he said he has raised $100 for his campaign. No report is available online for him through the federal Election Commission.
“I am a true candidate for the middle class and the blue-collar worker, not a politician,” Reeves said.