Nov. 7, 2012 – 1:02 a.m.

113th Congress: Pete Gallego, D-Texas (23rd District)

Pete Gallego’s legislative priorities have been shaped by his life story. His first campaign ad in the general election talked of his father being unable to attend school until he was 10 but still graduating from college after returning from World War II.

“His sacrifices made sure that my life would be better than his,” Gallego said in the ad. And Gallego faced challenges of his own, working three jobs while completing college in two years.

As a state legislator he worked to boost education spending and provide more government services for those in need. He sponsored a law requiring insurance companies to cover multiple prostheses for disabled children as they grow. Previously, insurers had to pay for only one device over the course of the child’s life. Gallego wants to increase federal education funding, arguing that more education spending will boost jobs and the economy.

He emphasizes his support for immigration legislation known as the Dream Act, which would grant a path to citizenship for some young illegal immigrants if they attend college or join the military. He voted for a similar bill in Texas, and he advocates offering ballots and other government documents in Spanish.

Gallego broke a number of barriers while in the legislature. He was the first Hispanic to represent his border district, and he was the first freshman and first minority member elected chairman of the House Democratic Caucus.