A champion for Texas working families
Lillian Salerno is an experienced leader and public servant running for Congress to expand economic opportunity for Texas working families. A native Texan, entrepreneur, attorney, and advocate for health care workers and patients, she has what it takes to fight for Texans and win. Lillian started her first company at the age of 25, helping people find jobs, and this experience inspired her life’s work of fighting for economic opportunity. When she was a graduate student at the University of North Texas, Lillian worked with inmates trying to re-enter the workforce — an experience that deepened her lifelong commitment to fighting for economic justice for all. She went on to earn her law degree from Southern Methodist University and opened a law practice serving her community. Lillian joined the fight against HIV/AIDS, advocating for better health care practices that prevent the spread of infection. She worked with talented engineers to develop and manufacture medical technology to prevent HIV transmission, and fought back against the lack of transparency in the health care market. Lillian organized nurses and unions to pass federal needle stick protection legislation that was signed into law and continued to fight to break down the barriers innovative small businesses face. She most recently served as deputy undersecretary for rural development at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), fighting for underserved communities in Texas and across the country. Lillian raised her son and two adopted daughters as a single mom, and is a proud aunt to 25 Texas nieces and nephews.
A fighter dedicated to expanding economic opportunity
Lillian, whose grandfather was an immigrant and small business owner, was the sixth of nine children and attended the University of Texas with the help of Pell grants and low-interest loans while waiting tables to make ends meet. She is determined to help all Texas students access a quality, affordable education that gives them the opportunity to thrive in tomorrow’s economy. As deputy undersecretary for rural development for the USDA, Lillian worked tirelessly to ensure that rural communities had access to safe drinking water, affordable housing, and broadband internet access. “I’ve defended family farmers, forgotten communities, and small businesses decimated by corporate takeover,” she has said. Lillian is a champion for small businesses and entrepreneurs, the engines that drive innovation and grow our economy. “When government fails, it lets the monopolies run wild and the elite call the shots,” Lillian has said. When elected she will fight tirelessly for policies that fight back against special interests that stand in the way of innovation.
An opportunity to flip a seat
Lillian is taking on vulnerable incumbent Congressman Pete Sessions, an extremist whose top priority is advancing the GOP’s dangerous agenda that hurts the working families he was elected to serve. Now in his 11th term in Congress, Sessions is out of touch with the hardworking Texas families he is supposed to represent. Hillary Clinton narrowly outperformed Donald Trump in Texas’ 32nd District in 2016, and the path to taking back the House runs right through districts just like this one. Let’s show Lillian the full support of the EMILY’s List community and help this hardworking champion for Texas flip a seat from red to blue.