|Montgomery County Commissioner-elect Tommy Vallejos, with wife and grandchildren|
photo used with permission
"I am proud to be the first Latino to be elected as a county commissioner in Montgomery County"
"I am a Chicano and proud of who I am and am as American as you can get"
"Celebrating my culture is not being un-American; it is the American way"
Clarksville resident Tommy J. Vallejos, Sr. has won his race for the District 14 seat on the Montgomery County Commission. Election results were posted by businessclarksville.com and clarksvilleonline.com
According to Vallejos, he is the first Hispanic commissioner of Montgomery County. Vallejos was born near Roswell, New Mexico, and his family roots in America trace back to 1598.
The 2010 County Commission election is not Vallejos' first foray into politics. In 2006, Vallejos opposed a trio of local immigration-focused ordinances.
Vallejos granted an interview to HispanicNashville.com following his election night victory this year, and he cites those 2006 ordinances as the impetus for his candidacy:
We were successful in stopping these ordinances from being passed. The success of this ordeal gave H.O.P.E new found respect among politicians. From this experience I knew I would one day ran for office.Vallejos credits his win on his shoe-leather ground campaign, and also his community service:
My success was that I went door to door and made it personal. So many knew me or had heard of me and my involvement in the community. I founded a homeless shelter that today houses 41 men fighting drug and alcohol addiction. So my community-minded actions were one big plus.About being Hispanic in this race, how Hispanics are treated in politics in general, and identity in America, Vallejos had this to say:
My race or ethnicity never came up nor was a issue. Still, I am proud to be the first Latino to be elected as a county commissioner in Montgomery County. I believe the likelihood of more Hispanic men and women being elected to office is possible because we are all Americans and should dream and dream big. So many politicians are using Latinos as a political piñatas. I never allowed that to be a determining factor in my decision to run for office. I am a Chicano and proud of who I am and am as American as you can get. I will never deny my culture or where I came from. We must all be Americans and stand as Americans, but don't be hating because I have my culture. Celebrating my culture is not being un-American; it is the American way.Commissioner-elect Vallejos is a pastor of Faith Outreach Church and Director of the Hispanic Organization for Progress & Education ("H.O.P.E.")
For more about Vallejos, read his interview with the Leaf-Chronicle, which covers Vallejos' reason for running for office, his goals in office, and his platform. See also Vallejos' campaign bio below, which tells his personal story:
Tommy Vallejos was born in the barrios of Roswell, NM. His upbringing was filled with gang violence’s losing two brothers and a stepfather to the streets. Tommy’s only out was to enter the US Army in 1980. He has been married to his bride of 27 years Caroline Vallejos.
Tommy’s lifestyle continued to change when he became a Christian in 1987. As a Staff Sergeant in the US Army he fought in the first Gulf War leading an infantry platoon from the 101st Airborne Division into combat. He was award the Bronze Star for actions in the Gulf War. As a Sergeant First Class he served three years as a Drill Sgt at Ft Knox, Ky turning civilians into soldiers. His overseas tours included tours in Panama and Germany.
He retired with over 21 years of service to his country. Today he serves in two capacities one as a care pastor over a 2200 member church in Clarksville, Tn, also he is the Director of H.O.P.E. (Hispanic Organization for Progress & Education.
He is active in community services and travels the country and world spreading the word as an Evangelist or as a Gang Awareness facilitator (www.clarksvillesecure.net). His travels take him into the prison system, school and business community several times a month. Because of his influence, he has the ears of the community and politicians’ alike. He is instrumental in assisting communities to fight back against gangs and the violence’s it brings.
Tommy is a graduate of the North Tennessee Bible Institute and Seminary with a Bachelor in Practical Theology.