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Rep. Ruben Gallego: A game changer and difference maker in Arizona

KTAR News is celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month, paying tribute to the generations of Hispanic Americans who have influenced and enriched our community in a positive way. This week KTAR News presents profiles of five Arizonans who have become difference-makers in our state. This is part 1 of a 5 part series.

Arizonans are familiar with Ruben Gallego, the Assistant Minority Leader in the Arizona House of Representatives until his Congressional run. He’s a Marine who served in Iraq and has made it a priority to fight for our military veterans, not to mention he’s a Harvard graduate that wants young Hispanics to have the same opportunity. Gallego says that’s the best way to grow Arizona.

“I just want make sure these kids are able to go to good schools, elementary and high schools and then go on to receive degrees from college or a trade program,” he said.

Comprehensive immigration reform is a just a piece of that puzzle.

“We are really missing untapped potential. The dreamers of today could be the doctors, lawyers, business leaders of tomorrow. Some of them already are. That’s the great thing.”

One of his mentors is longtime Arizona Congressman Ed Pastor. Gallego says those are big shoes to fill.

“If you look at what we see as a modern Phoenix, a modern Arizona, it’s because his work on appropriations to bring the infrastructure dollars that we deserve as taxpayers. Him being gone leaves a big void for us.”

Gallego wants to see more investment in the Hispanic community because he says that’s Arizona’s future.

“They are going to be the majority. They’re having the population growth and if we want Arizona to be strong we need to make sure that the population is educated and skilled to bring the good jobs here.”

And when his political road ends, Gallego wants his legacy to be that he fought for the little guy.

“Not just the poor but your everyday middle class American working 9-5 and finding themselves unable to make a living.

Congressman Ruben Gallego is the son of Hispanic immigrants. He was named one of Phoenix’s 40 leaders under the age of 40 by the Phoenix Business Journal. Congressman Gallego was also named one of Chicanos Por La Causa’s 40 under 40 most influential Hispanic leaders. Additionally, Congressman Gallego has served on Blue Ribbon Commissions for veterans’ issues. Here’s what he hopes the future holds for Arizona. Not just for the Hispanic community but for all Arizonans.

“People realize that we’re all in the same boat together in Arizona. We have figure out how to live together and thrive together to make this a great state.”

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