• Chito Vela

    Progressive Democrat for State Representative

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Post #156

Meet Chito

Jose “Chito” Vela III is an immigration attorney, workers’ rights advocate and City of Austin planning commissioner. Chito is married to Fabiola Flores, an attorney in the Austin office of Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid. A former president of the Blanton Elementary PTA, Chito has two children who attend AISD schools: Josue, age 12, and Perla, age 10. A longtime advocate for working families in Austin, Vela is the former board chair of the nonprofit Workers Defense Project and is a partner in Walker Gates Vela PLLC, a law firm dedicated to serving immigrants. Vela also currently serves on the City of Austin Planning Commission, where he advocates for solutions to the Austin area’s affordability crisis that create opportunities for people of all income levels to find housing. Prior to beginning his own law practice, Vela served as General Counsel for a Democratic member of the Texas House of Representatives and was an Assistant Attorney General in the Open Records Division of the Texas Attorney General’s Office.

Chito Vela

Chito's Agenda


As a father of two children in Austin ISD schools and a former PTA president, Chito Vela has seen the lack of resources in our public schools. Texas needs to provide more funding to its schools so our children can get the education they need to be good citizens and build a modern economy. We need to stop teaching to the test and allow our professional educators the flexibility and creativity they need to work with a diverse student body.

Health Care

Texas is eligible for billions in federal Medicaid funding under the Affordable Care Act that could provide health care coverage for 800,000 Texans. Sadly, our state government and its Republican leadership have refused to expand health care coverage for purely political reasons. Even as other conservative, Republican states like Louisiana, Kentucky, and Arkansas have expanded their Medicaid programs, Texas Republicans would rather have a political talking point than provide health insurance for working class Texas families. Texas could quickly and easily expand health care coverage and Chito will fight to make this happen.

Criminal Justice

Texas has too many people in its county jails and state prisons. Many of the Texans in jail and prison are there because of mental health and drug problems. Many more are there because they cannot pay their bond or could not afford good legal representation. Texas needs to legalize and tax marijuana and reduce all other drug possession offenses to misdemeanors. And we need to make sure that the people in our prisons and jails are there because they are a threat to public safety, not just because they are poor and can’t afford an attorney.


Immigrants from all over the world came to Texas and built this great state. Today, immigrants form critical parts of our agriculture, construction, and restaurant industries. Yet too many of our political leaders continue to demonize and scapegoat immigrants. As an immigration attorney, Chito Vela knows our immigrant community and will fight for them in the Texas Legislature.


Urban areas in Texas are increasingly struggling with traffic and transportation issues. Austin’s population has grown tremendously and we are seeing serious traffic congestion and delays. However, experience has shown that we cannot continue just adding lanes to our highways and expect that to solve the problem. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner has called for a multi-modal approach that includes bike lanes, buses, rail, and better sidewalks so that people don’t always have to drive. But investing in our transportation infrastructure will cost money. To pay for these needed investments in Austin and other cities, Chito supports allowing cities to levy a modest gas tax dedicated to urban transportation needs.

Women's Health and Reproductive Justice

Women’s health and freedoms are under attack and Texas needs strong, outspoken advocates at the Capitol. Chito Vela will fight the numerous attacks on women’s health and freedoms coming from Texas’ Republican-led state government.

Just recently, the Texas Health and Human Services agency announced it would cut Planned Parenthood off from the $3.1 million a year in Medicaid funds Texas provides the nonprofit for family planning and women’s health services. Planned Parenthood uses its Medicaid funding to provide essential well-woman services - including birth control and cancer screenings - to about 11,000 low-income women. Texas cut off Planned Parenthood’s Medicaid funding based on last year’s smear campaign by a conservative group that secretly filmed a meetings with Planned Parenthood employees and released a misleading and highly edited video. Texas does not even allege that Planned Parenthood in Texas provides anything but quality medical services. The funding cut is nothing but a political attack.

In addition, the Texas Department of State Health Services recently passed an onerous rule requiring the cremation or burial of fetal remains after a miscarriage or abortion. Texas Republicans also recently filed bills banning all abortions after 20 weeks and banning fetal tissue donation in the state. Other bills ban procedures that are already illegal under federal law or will be needlessly costly and burdensome to patients, doctors, and hospitals. Democrats will need to be unified and strong to prevent these bills from becoming law.

Families in House District 46 will be hurt by these Republican proposals, which do nothing to protect pregnant women and their babies and put a significant and undue burden on low-income and minority families. Chito will fight these attempts to hurt women’s health and reproductive freedom.

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1407 Ridgemont Dr., Austin TX. 78723
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Pol. Adv. Paid by the Vela for Texas House Campaign