Iâ€™ve always loved public service because I care about people and their well-being. I want to make the world a better place. I want to be sure that the opportunity to live the American Dream is there for our children and our grandchildren and their grandchildren.
Each Monday, I work on a weekly column. The column serves as one of the ways that I communicate with you about whatâ€™s going on in Washington, how Iâ€™m working for you and your family, what my congressional priorities are and whatâ€™s important to me personally.
Most people know that my family owned a small restaurant. That restaurant got my family into the middle-class. It was hard work and my father was always at the restaurant. When I wanted to see my dad, I went to the restaurant because thatâ€™s where he was. And, because the restaurant was a family business, my mom, my sisters and I spent a lot of time there, too.
This week, NicolÃ¡s gets to see where I work. He and MarÃa Elena are here in D.C. as they enjoy their summer break. When NicolÃ¡s is in school, I get to spend only limited time with him on some weekends. On many occasions the only time we get is when he and MarÃa Elena get in the car with me as we visit with people throughout the 23rd District of Texas.
While they are here, I get to see them in between votes, or after I attend meetings or hearings. Part of the time, MarÃa Elena and NicolÃ¡s are out visiting museums. Part of the time, NicolÃ¡s is in the office or giving constituents guided tours of the Capitol. I now think he knows more about the history of the building than I do. It is good to get a little time together as a family.
As I said, I use this column to focus on things that are important to me. This week, the focus of my column is family. For each of you out there who is a parent, Iâ€™m sure you will relate to this: every parent wants to give their kids more than they had and to perhaps do a better job of parenting than their parents did. (In my case, Iâ€™d be satisfied to be even half the parent that my parents were.
Yet, for every parent, the key to success or failure is contained in one word: balance. Balancing the job and putting food on the table while spending enough quality time with your kids. Balance is hard to find, but it is extremely important. Jackie Onassis once said that her proudest accomplishment was raising “normalâ€ children. “If you donâ€™t,â€ she said, “nothing else matters.â€
I strive to be a good husband, father, son, brother, congressman, public servant, boss, friend, apprentice, mentor and person. At the same time, I strive to be the voice for over 700,000 people with widely divergent views, opinions and philosophies. It is always a challenge.
However, the challenge is what keeps me going. My work allows me to build a better future for all. Knowing that gives me an added boost of hope and strength that makes me work even harder. I donâ€™t want to be part of the first generation of Americans who leaves their country worse off than our fathers and mothers left it to us â€“ our children deserve better.
So, while I am carving out time to spend with my wife and son while they are in D.C., I wonâ€™t stop working for you. And, I hope each and every one of you reading this column also carves out time to be a better son, daughter, spouse, mom or dad. Find a good balance. Remember, in the end, family is our most precious possession.
U.S. Representative Pete P. Gallego, D-Alpine, represents the 23rd District of Texas, which includes all or parts of 29 counties in southwest Texas, stretching from San Antonio to El Paso. He serves on the House Armed Services and House Agriculture Committees.