MY NAME IS MARCOS J. URREA

I’m running to represent Arizona’s Second District in Congress so that I can give back to the community that I have always considered my home.

My parents immigrated to the United States from Mexico in the late eighties and eventually settled in Tucson shortly after I was born: it’s truly the only home I’ve ever known. I am a graduate of Santa Rita High School, located on the Southeast side of Tucson. While I was a student there, I fell in love with performing music and decided to enroll at the University of Arizona as a music education major.

 

Unfortunately, it soon became clear to me that I was at a significant disadvantage compared to many of my peers. I was surrounded by students who had the privilege to be able to devote themselves entirely to music, while I struggled to find enough time both to practice and to work so that I could earn the income I needed to survive. Over the years, I worked various jobs in fast food at the mall, in retail sales, and as a server and bartender. I was also trying to come to terms with my sexual orientation. I was afraid that my friends and my family would reject me and that I would never be able to have a serious career, and I worried about how I would be perceived as a gay man from an immigrant family. I did manage to accomplish many things that I am proud of, including serving as the drum major of the Pride of Arizona marching band in 2010, but in the end, I was unable to perform at a level that would allow me to enter the music education field and was academically disqualified from the university in 2011. 

Following my disqualification, I enrolled at Pima Community College and was eventually able to meet the criteria for my reinstatement to the university. At that point, I reassessed my career goals and decided that the politics that had prevented me from being successful in my first attempt at my degree were a reason to study political science itself. I reenrolled at the university in 2014 and graduated in the summer of 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, with a focus in international relations, and a minor in sociology. I was able to finish my final four semesters with a 4.0 GPA and was awarded the highest academic distinction in my final year.

I started my career after college with an internship in the Tucson office of the International Rescue Committee (IRC), one of the largest refugee resettlement agencies in the country, working with the Center for Well Being’s Survivors of Torture program. That internship then turned into an AmeriCorps State placement. We ensured clients had the ability to be successful in navigating the medical system and had access to the social services they were entitled to. While I was with this organization, the 2016 election occurred, and due to Trump’s potent rhetoric against refugees, a hiring freeze was implemented that eliminated the possibility of remaining with the IRC team as my AmeriCorps term came to an end. I wanted to continue working in the field and was hired at the Center for Victims of Torture (CVT) in St. Paul, Minnesota. I worked as the insurance coordinator, assisting clients with the bureaucratic system of state health insurance and Medicaid and eventually also overseeing a team of interpreters. The majority of CVT’s clients are asylum seekers, and I began to take an interest in the legal process of asylum. That interest eventually led me to work as a paralegal with Immigration Equality, a legal organization that specializes in helping LGBTQ and HIV+ asylum seekers, where I still work today.

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