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Filemon Vela Jr.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Filemon Vela
Filemon Vela, Official Portrait, 113th Congress.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Texas's 34th district
Assumed office
January 3, 2013
Preceded byConstituency established
Vice Chair of the Democratic National Committee
Assumed office
January 21, 2021
ChairJaime Harrison
Preceded byGrace Meng
Vice Chair of the United States House Committee on Agriculture
In office
January 3, 2017 – January 3, 2019
Preceded byPosition Established
Succeeded byAlma Adams
Personal details
Filemon Bartolome Vela Jr.

(1963-02-13) February 13, 1963 (age 58)
Harlingen, Texas, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Rose Rivera
(m. 1990)
RelativesBlanca Vela (mother)
Filemon Vela Sr. (father)
EducationGeorgetown University (BA)
University of Texas at Austin (JD)
WebsiteHouse website

Filemón Bartolomé Vela Jr. (/ˈfɪləˌmɒnˈvɛlə/ FILL-ə-monn VELL; born February 13, 1963)[1] is an American lawyer and politician who has served as the U.S. Representative for Texas's 34th congressional district since 2013. He is a member of the Democratic Party. Vela is also vice chair of the Democratic National Committee, having been nominated by President Joe Biden.[2]

Early life and education

Vela was born in Harlingen, Texas, and raised in nearby Brownsville. His father, Filemon Vela Sr., was a long-serving United States federal judge. The Reynaldo G. Garza–Filemon B. Vela United States Courthouse in Brownsville is named in Judge Vela's honor. His mother, Blanca Sanchez Vela, served as Brownsville's first female mayor from 1999 to 2003.[3][4][5]

Filemon attended Saint Joseph Academy in Brownsville, and earned his Bachelor of Arts from Georgetown University in 1985. During his time at Georgetown, he served as an intern at the Federal Judicial Center, the research and education agency of the federal judicial system. He also served as an intern in Solomon P. Ortiz's office in Washington, D.C. Vela earned his Juris Doctor from the University of Texas at Austin School of Law in 1987.[3]


In Edinburg School District v. Landmark, Vela represented Edinburg to fight for more funding. In Pharr-San Juan-Alamo Independent School District v. Landmark, he represented the district in fighting contractors accused of building a poorly constructed school facility.[6][better source needed]

U.S. House of Representatives



Vela ran in the newly created 34th congressional district as a Democrat. In the May 29 primary, he ranked first in an eight-candidate field with 40% of the vote.[7] In the July 31 runoff, Vela defeated Denise Saenz Blanchard, 67% to 33%.[8][9]

In the general election, Vela defeated Republican Jessica Bradshaw, 62% to 36%.[10]


In July 2013, Vela quit the Congressional Hispanic Caucus because of his opposition to the Hoeven-Corker Amendment that tied border security to a pathway to citizenship. He said "erecting more border fence drives a wedge between border communities which are culturally united".[11][12]

On March 22, 2021, Vela announced that he would not seek reelection in the 2022 United States House of Representatives elections.[13]

In August 2021, Vela joined a group of conservative Democrats, dubbed "The Unbreakable Nine", who threatened to derail the Biden administration's $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package meant to tackle the nation's infrastructure.[14][15]

Committee assignments[16]

Caucus memberships

Personal life

Vela's wife, Rose, was a Republican justice on Texas's 13th Court of Appeals from 2007 to 2012.[21]

See also


  1. ^ Hopkins, Christopher Snow. "Texas, 34th House District". Archived from the original on November 7, 2012. Retrieved November 8, 2012.
  2. ^ Thomas, Ken (January 15, 2021). "Biden Taps Jaime Harrison, Former Senate Candidate, to Lead DNC". Wall Street Journal.
  3. ^ a b
  4. ^ Johnson, Ty (February 18, 2014). "Former Brownsville mayor, feminist 'trailblazer' Blanca Vela dies at 78". The Monitor (Texas). Retrieved March 13, 2014.
  5. ^ "Brownsville's former and only female mayor, Blanca Vela, passes away". KVEO. February 19, 2014. Retrieved March 13, 2014.
  6. ^ "Full Biography". Archived from the original on August 19, 2014. Retrieved August 19, 2014.
  7. ^ "". Retrieved August 19, 2014.
  8. ^ "". Retrieved August 19, 2014.
  9. ^
  10. ^ "TX-TopRaces-Glance-Sum". Retrieved November 8, 2012.[permanent dead link]
  11. ^ Martin, Gary (July 2, 2013). "Rep. Filemon Vela quits Congressional Hispanic Caucus to protest lawmakers' acceptance of border 'militarization' - Texas on the Potomac". Retrieved August 19, 2014.
  12. ^ "Filemon Vela quits Hispanic caucus over border surge - Seung Min Kim". Politico.Com. July 2, 2013. Retrieved August 19, 2014.
  13. ^ Nichols, Hans. "Rep. Filemon Vela to retire from House ahead of Texas redistricting". Axios. Retrieved March 22, 2021.
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^ "About". Congressman Filemon Vela. Retrieved February 1, 2021.
  17. ^ "Members". Congressional Hispanic Caucus. Archived from the original on May 15, 2018. Retrieved May 15, 2018.
  18. ^ "Members". Congressional NextGen 9-1-1 Caucus. Retrieved June 14, 2018.
  19. ^ "Members of the Veterinary Medicine Caucus". Veterinary Medicine Caucus. Retrieved October 12, 2018.
  20. ^ "Members". U.S. - Japan Caucus. Retrieved January 9, 2019.
  21. ^ Sanchez, Humberto. "113th Congress: Filemon Vela, D-Texas (34th District)". Congressional Quarterly, Inc. Retrieved November 8, 2012.

External links

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
New constituency
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Texas's 34th congressional district

U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Marc Veasey
United States representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Ann Wagner
This page was last edited on 27 August 2021, at 00:59
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