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D23 Candidate Jay Hulings Talks Public Service and His Decision to Enter Politics

Jay Hulings, a former federal prosecutor, is one of the democratic candidates for District 23.

Jay Hulings is one of the democratic candidates running for Texas' 23rd congressional district. The district spreads from San Antonio out to El Paso and and includes the Big Bend region. Like his opponents, Hulings is touring the district talking to constituents. In this interview he talks about why he leaft behind a career as a federal prosecutor to enter politics jump into a crowded primary field.

Hulings, a former prosecutor, says he decided to join the race for District 23 because he "believe[s] in public service."

"If you believe in public service like I do, you have to step up to the plate and get in the fight sometimes," says Hulings. "Right now we don't have a congress that works at all."

District 23 is one of the most competitive congressional districts in the state and a target seat for Democrats in 2018. The district is currently held by Helotes Republican Will Hurd.

Hulings lives in San Antonio, but says his time spent with the U.S. Attorney's office in Del Rio gave him perspective on the Texas' smaller, more rural communities. "We really learned to appreciate what it's like to live in a smaller city," says Hulings, adding the sense of community he found in places like Del Rio has become a central theme of his campaign.


The democratic primary for the district has quickly filled: former Obama and Clinton appointee Judy Canales, Rick Treviño, a former teacher and Bernie Sanders delegate in last year’s Democratic National Convention, Gina Ortiz Jones, a former Air Force intelligence officer, Uvalde resident Angela "Angie" Villescaz.

While it's been argued that successful District 23 candidates have a more moderate approach, Huings says he believes that's a mistake. "I think to succeed in a district like this you have to have clearly articulated points of view," says Hulings. "You still have to have policy ideas and be able to talk about a vision and be able to defend a vision."

In the rest of this interview Jay Hulings talks about what he thinks about the talk of a border wall, and how he thinks he will be "hard to categorize."




Carlos Morales is Marfa Public Radio's News Director.