Gina Hinojosa, the Democratic candidate running unopposed for House District 49, spoke at a forum titled “Meet the New Guys” on Thursday for incoming members of the Texas House of Representatives. The event was hosted by the Texas Tribune and held downtown at The Austin Club.
Hinojosa won the Democratic primary in March with 58 percent of the vote in a seven-way race.
With no Republican running against Hinojosa in the solidly Democratic district, which includes all of West Campus, she took the opportunity at the forum to talk about some of her policy views and why she decided to run.
As a former member of the Austin ISD school board, Hinojosa said the lack of funding she saw at the district level was the reason she ran for the seat when she heard that current HD 49 representative Elliott Naishtat was stepping down.
“I’ve been on the school board for the last four years, and I love that work,” Hinojosa said. “It’s just an opportunity every day to make a difference for our kids and our community, but our biggest challenge is funding, and that’s a state decision.”
Hinojosa focused on education funding for much of her time at the forum, citing a broken finance system in need of a revamping.
Hinojosa’s family is already active in politics. Her father, Gilberto Hinojosa, is the chair of the Texas Democratic Party and her sister, Xochitl Hinojosa, works on Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
She said she never intended to go into politics and even made her husband swear to avoid the life of a politician.
“Before we got married, I made [my husband] promise to never run for office,” Hinojosa said. “I didn’t like the life of a politician. I just really have a knack for finding very hard jobs that don’t pay anything.”
Regarding the 2016 presidential election, Hinojosa said she believed Clinton could win in Texas if more people turned out to vote.
“Texas is not blue,” Hinojosa said. “Texas is not a Republican state. Texas is a non-voting state. If Texans turned out to vote, absolutely [Clinton] would win Texas.”
Hinojosa also spoke of an overhaul of the foster care system and her opposition to another tax cut on the state level.
Hinojosa will be sworn in at the beginning of the legislative session in January.