Carrillo hopes for development in U.S. Congressional race

Christian Vasquez, Web Editor

KTEP’s director of development, John Carrillo, is throwing his hat into the U.S. Congressional race for the 16th seat.

“The political landscape changed when Trump became president. We’ve seen a rise in racism and white supremacist. We’ve seen an assault on the environmental control that was put in place by former President Obama, and we’ve seen a blatant disregard for ethical behavior. Those are certainly some of the things that drove me to run,” Carrillo said.

Carrillo grew up in El Paso and was a first-generation college graduate when he got his master’s in communication studies at UTEP in 2014, where he is also a lecturer.

Carrillo is best known for being one of two El Pasoans who has won the George Foster Peabody award, which he won in 1995 for his work with National Public Radio as a project engineer and technical producer in the jazz series “Making the Music with Wynton Marsalis.”

While he is running as a Democrat, Carrillo said that he wants people to keep in mind that he is not a political partisan, but more importantly to him, he is a leader.

“I think that for too long people have settled for candidates that are part of the good old boy/good old girl network. I have not come to challenge my opponents, I’ve come to engage a community and try to make them see that there are options between politics as usual,” Carrillo said.

Carrillo says that he intends to focus on immigration reform, education and taking better care of veterans if he wins.

“When you look at those statistics—20 veterans committing suicide on a daily basis—that tells me that more work needs to be done,” Carrillo said.

On immigration, Carrillo said that DREAMers—immigrants who were illegally brought to the U.S. as children and are now under the protection of the Differed Action for Childhood Arrivals program—should not be punished for actions that their parents made and wishes for a compromise that allows them to stay.

“Those young people have never, in many cases, known any other country but this country. To them, this country is as much home to them as it is to me and I was born here,” Carrillo said.

So far Carrillo has raised $3,200 in individual contributions, compared to Veronica Escobar’s $332,836 and Dori Fenenbock’s $599,262. Both are considered the two Democratic frontrunners in the upcoming 2018 election.

“More than anything else, it really is about engaging the community. Ultimately, it’s the voters who are going to decide who wins the election and not the money,” Carrillo said when asked about his campaign plans to overcome the monetary difference.“Is money important? Sure, it’s important, you can’t deny that. But ultimately, it’s the voters. So that’s my goal, it’s to engage. To engage the community and engage the voters.”

The other candidates besides Escobar and Fenenbock running for office under the Democratic Party are Enrique Garcia, Nicole LeClaire and Jerome Tilghman.