Born on November 20, 1979, Ruben Gallego graduated from Harvard University in 2004 with an A.B. in international relations. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 2002-06; worked as a public affairs consultant during 2007-08; was vice chair of the Arizona Democratic Party in 2009; held a seat in the Arizona House of Representatives from 2011-14; …
Born on November 20, 1979, Ruben Gallego graduated from Harvard University in 2004 with an A.B. in international relations. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 2002-06; worked as a public affairs consultant during 2007-08; was vice chair of the Arizona Democratic Party in 2009; held a seat in the Arizona House of Representatives from 2011-14; and was elected in 2014 to represent Arizona’s 7th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives, where he is a member of both the Congressional Progressive Caucus and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.
Gallego has long been a staunch advocate of unfettered abortion rights. During his tenure in the Arizona state legislature, he voted:
- against a 2012 proposal to exempt “religiously affiliated employers” from being required to provide their workers with health insurance plans covering contraception and abortifacients;
- against a 2012 proposal to bar physicians from performing abortions on fetuses after 20 weeks of gestation, except in cases of a mother’s medical emergency;
- against a 2012 bill prohibiting state taxpayer funds from being given to abortion providers in the form of grants or contracts;
- against a 2011 bill prohibiting abortions from being performed based on the sex or race of a baby, or the race of a prospective parent; and
- against a 2011 bill preventing taxpayer money from being used for abortion-related services.
State Rep. Gallego also voted:
- against a 2014 bill requiring able-bodied Medicaid recipients to either be employed, actively seek employment, or attend a job training program; and
- against a 2012 proposal to require recipients of unemployment benefits to actively look for a job and pass a drug test.
For an overview of how Gallego has voted on a wider variety of key issues as a U.S. congressman, click here.
Gallego supports the repeal of SB-1070, a 2010 Arizona law deputizing state police to check with federal authorities on the immigration status of criminal suspects whose status seems questionable. He calls it a “racist” law rooted in “xenophobia” and “anti-illegal immigrant rhetoric”—particularly against the “Latino population.”
In 2012 Gallego helped lead Citizens for Professional Law Enforcement, a coalition of Phoenix-area political leaders, in an effort to oust Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona, because of the latter’s tough stance on immigration-law enforcement.
Gallego at one time served as the Arizona chair of VoteVets.org, a group that promotes, in the name of military veterans, left-wing agendas in such areas as foreign policy, energy security, and veterans’ affairs. In 2014, the VoteVets Political Action Comittee endorsed Gallego for Congress.
Gallego’s 2014 congressional run was endorsed by the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, an organization that promotes leftist agendas in areas like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Wall Street regulations, student loans, gun control, health care, and taxes.
In April 2015, Gallego inserted into the FY 2016 National Defense Authorization Act an amendment encouraging the Secretary of Defense to consider allowing young illegal aliens affected by President Barack Obama’s recent executive actions protecting them from deportation, to serve in the U.S. military—on the premise that “enabling the best and brightest in our nation to serve in uniform, including DREAMers, is clearly ‘vital to the national interest.’”
In July 2015, Gallego and Rep. William Lacy Clay co-sponsored a bill banning the Confederate flag from all Virginia cemeteries. Gallego characterized that flag as “a symbol of hate and intolerance” that “will forever be associated with the injustices of slavery and Jim Crow,” and “a painful reminder of a terrible time in our history when we treated human beings as less than.”
That same month, Gallego was special guest speaker at a Netroots Nation conference in Phoenix, Arizona.
In August 2015 Gallego and fellow congressman Tony Cárdenas co-authored a letter stating that the Washington, D.C. City Council should prevent Republican presidential candidate and longtime real-estate developer Donald Trump from putting his name on a new DC hotel—in light of Trump’s recent “insulting,” “repulsive,” “hateful,” “racist,” “divisive,” and “reprehensible” assertion that many illegal immigrants to the U.S. were criminals who should be deported. Asserting that “the Trump name is now inextricably linked to the anti-immigrant, anti-Latino and anti-woman sentiments,” Gallego and Cárdenas maintained that the Trump name should be kept from the public eye because the government has “a responsibility to ensure that public lands are welcoming places.” In a separate statement, Gallego said: “To prominently display Mr. Trump’s last name over the old post office building would send a message of exclusion and intolerance to millions of Latinos and women in the district and across the country.”
In an August 2017 radio interview regarding a recent bomb attack on a Minneapolis mosque, Gallego, noting that the Trump administration had not yet issued a public statement on the incident, said: “At the core, we just have to admit Donald Trump himself is a racist. He is an absolute racist.” A few days later, Gallego described Trump as “just one big shameful blot on the history of the United States,” and he characterized White House staffers Dr. Sebastian Gorka and Stephen Miller as “neo-Nazis.” In February 2018 Gallego portrayed Trump as a “psychopath,” adding that “America will regret the day you [Trump] were ever born.”
In response to a Washington Post story that examined how the U.S. government had denied passports to some Hispanics who had obtained American citizenship but were suspected of possibly having fraudulent birth certificates, Gallego tweeted in August 2018: “If you are a US government official and you are deporting Americans be warned. When the worm turns [i.e., when Trump is no longer president] you will not be safe because you were just following orders. You do not have to take part in illegal acts ordered by this President’s administration.”
In March 2020, while the coronavirus pandemic was gaining steam across the United States and around the world, Gallego said of President Trump: “He just talks out of his ass. And he just hopes that things land in the right way like everything has happened to him in the past. You know, the biggest problem is what he wants to do is to manage the stock market; he doesn’t want to try to manage the health problem that we have right now, the medical problem we have right now.” Adding that Trump did not merit the same type of “profound trust” that previous presidents inspired, Gallego continued: “I don’t believe anything that comes out of his mouth. I’d rather hear it from [Dr. Anthony] Fauci [of the White House Coronavirus Task Force] or some other governmental official. It’s sad that the word of the President of the United States cannot be trusted.”
Further Reading: “Ruben Gallego” (Votesmart.org, Ballotpedia.org, Keywiki.org); Ruben Gallego’s Voting Records As a State Legislator (his votes on abortion 2012, abortion 2011-12, and Medicaid/unemployment benefits); “House Democrats Speak out on SB 1070 Ruling” (6-25-29012); “Arizona’s SB 1070 May Now Help Latinos Turn State Blue” (by Ruben Gallego, 12-6-2011); “Joe Arpaio Opponents Form Super PAC To Unseat Arizona Sheriff” (by Joe Celock, 9-25-2012); “Rep. Gallego Introduces ‘Enable DREAMers to Serve in Uniform’ Amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act” (4-29-2015); “Democrat Introduces Bill Banning Confederate Flag from VA Cemeteries” (by Awr Hawkins, 7-10-2015); “Democrats Oppose Putting Donald Trump’s ‘Racist’ Name on D.C. Hotel” (by Warner Todd Huston, 8-19-2015); “Arizona Congressman Looks to Keep Donald Trump’s Name off Washington Hotel” (by Mike Sunnucks, 8-17-2015); “Dem Rep Warns Immigration Officers Following ‘Illegal’ Trump Orders: ‘You Will Not Be Safe’” (by Alex Pappas, 8-30-2018).