Filemón Vela Opts Out of Re-Election Bid
WASHINGTON – Rep. Filemón Vela, D-Texas, announced Monday he will not seek reelection in 2022, becoming the second House Democrat to announce their retirement in what could be a difficult cycle for the majority party.
Earlier this month, Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, D-Ariz. announced she too will retire after the 117th Congress.
Vela, whose majority Latino district spans from the eastern Rio Grande Valley up north toward San Antonio, had been identified as a potential GOP target in the midterm election.
While he remains popular in the district, winning 55% of the vote there last year, former President Donald Trump’s strong showing in the region, coupled with Republican control of the redistricting process in Texas, had many saying the incumbent could be at a decided disadvantage next time around.
“I will continue to focus on maintaining a Democratic House and Senate majority in my capacity as a member of Congress and vice chair of the Democratic National Committee, while working diligently for the people I am so grateful to represent,” Vela said in a statement Monday.
Vela, who is serving his fifth term, has close connections to the White House and was in contention for a Cabinet position.
President Biden appointed his wife, Rose Vela, a retired Texas state district judge and Texas appellate justice, to run the president’s Commission on White House Fellowships.
Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, the New York Democrat who heads the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the House Democrat’s campaign arm, called Vela “a tireless champion for South Texas families and a valued member of our House Democratic caucus.
“From his pivotal work on the Farm Bill to ensure children and families have access to nutrition, to advocating for early childhood education and college affordability, to his successful efforts to bring jobs to South Texas, Representative Vela leaves a legacy of public service that will continue to positively impact working families not just in his district, but across the country,” Maloney said.