Jessica Puente-Bradshaw made the decision to jump into the District 27 U.S. Representative race out of concern for the course of the country.
"It's just really scary, the direction we're headed," Puente-Bradshaw said. "At some point, I looked at what I was doing and it just didn't seem like I was doing enough. I felt I had to do more."
Puente-Bradshaw grew up in Brownsville, but moved away in her early 20s. She lived in Utah for a short time, and in California, before coming back to Texas. She, her husband and their two young children currently live in Austin, where she works in real estate. Although Austin is their home for most of the year, Puente-Bradshaw said they spend four months out of the year living at her family's home in Brownsville.
The issue of her residency is brought up often by her opponents, Puente-Bradshaw said, but she intends to move back to the district full-time if she is elected.
"I'm still tied to the district, because this is my home," Puente-Bradshaw said.
She believes the key issue for Nueces County voters is the economy.
"The economy is not thriving, so business owners - big and small - are losing money, are barely staying afloat," Puente-Bradshaw said. "Businesses are leaving our district to cities like San Antonio."
The first step to helping local businesses is to restrict the amount of money being sent to Washington D.C. in the form of taxes, she said.
Lowering federal taxes will give local entities more money to spend on local infrastructure and to attract businesses to their communities.
There are four candidates in the Republican primary for the District 27 U.S. Representative seat, but Puente-Bradshaw said the fact that she is a Hispanic woman separates her from the rest.
"I hate to put the labels on it, but that's what separates me. The fact that I'm bilingual, fluently, is what I think the Republican Party needs to reach out to the independent voter, and specifically the Democrat Hispanic voter," Puente-Bradshaw said.
Reaching Hispanic voters in South Texas has traditionally been a problem for the Republican Party, but Puente-Bradshaw said she believes she can make a difference.
"The Hispanic culture is based on - first and foremost - trust. And that trust is developed through open lines of communication," Puente-Bradshaw said. "I understand the culture enough to know that a lot of Hispanics are conservative. And I feel that I'm the best candidate to develop the trust with that voter so they will want to come here."