Newly-elected lawmaker says she is ready to battle Gov. Perry - Houston weather, traffic, news | FOX 26 | MyFoxHouston

Newly-elected lawmaker says she is ready to battle Gov. Perry

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HOUSTON (FOX 26) -

The process of replacing departed State Senator Mario Gallegos required three elections and lasted 137 days.

Emerging as the new voice of Houston's mostly Hispanic, mostly Democratic east side is former Harris County Commissioner Sylvia Garcia whose promised to battle the state's Republican governor from the "get go."

"We got to find a way to make sure that Rick Perry and his Tea Party allies see the light and do what's right by Texas," said Garcia.

Topping the senator-elect's list of priorities is expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act - a proposal that would offer coverage to 2 million currently uninsured Texans.

In Garcia's district, one in four residents live in poverty and nearly half of all adults lack a high school diploma.

"Working families are working, but they just aren't working for an employer that provides insurance. The bottom-line is we are putting people at risk. I've seen cases and heard of cases of hospitals turning people away and hospitals literally kicking people out and leaving them at the door. That's not humane. That's not the great state that we are" said Garcia.

Of equal importance to Garcia is support for traditional public schools.

"I will fight any attempt to take money away from public schools to put in private schools and vouchers," said Garcia.

As for the loser in this race, State Representative Carol Alvarado, analysts are still puzzled by her risky strategy of accepting hundreds of thousands of high profile conservative dollars

"She made a gamble and she lost. I think it was counterproductive to take money that was so strongly associated with the Republican party and to be actively block walking with a member of the Tea Party caucus in a district that's overwhelmingly Democrat," said Mark Jones, Chairman of Political Science at Rice University.

"We are not going to like anybody coming into this district and trying to buy this seat," said Garcia.

"I think the voters are clear and they've spoken," she added.

Garcia won't be sworn in until the election is certified. By the time she takes the oath it will be too late to file her own bills, but still early enough to help senate Democrats block plenty of high profile Republican legislation.

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