|U.S. House, Texas, District 34|
|January 3, 2013-Present|
|January 3, 2015|
|Years in position||1|
|Elections and appointments|
|Cost per vote||$8.62 in 2012|
|First elected||November 6, 2012|
|Next general||November 4, 2014|
|J.D.||University of Texas|
|Birthday||February 13, 1963|
|Place of birth||Harlingen, Texas|
- 1 Biography
- 2 Career
- 3 Committee assignments
- 4 Key votes
- 4.1 113th Congress
- 4.2 National security
- 4.3 Economy
- 4.4 Immigration
- 4.5 Healthcare
- 4.6 Social issues
- 5 Issues
- 6 Elections
- 7 Campaign donors
- 8 Personal Gain Index
- 9 Analysis
- 10 Personal
- 11 Recent news
- 12 See also
- 13 External links
- 14 References
Vela is running for re-election to the U.S. House in 2014. He ran unopposed in the Democratic primary on March 4, 2014. He will face Larry Smith (R) and Ryan Rowley (L) in the general election on November 4, 2014.
Based on analysis of multiple outside rankings, Vela is a more moderate left of center Democratic Party vote. As a result, he may break with the Democratic Party line more than his fellow members.
Vela was born in Harlingen, Texas. He graduated with a bachelor's degree from Georgetown University and his law degree from University of Texas. He has worked as an attorney since his graduation. He once considered running for Congress in the 1980s but his clients kept his focus until he decided to run in 2011.
- 1988-2012: Practicing lawyer
- 2013-present: U.S. House of Representatives from Texas
Vela serves on the following committees:
- Committee on Agriculture
- Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management
- Subcommittee on Livestock, Rural Development, and Credit
- Committee on Homeland Security
- Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Security Technologies
The 113th Congress has had 55 out of 5,401 introduced bills enacted into law (1 percent) as of November 30, 2013. Comparatively, the 112th Congress had 1.14 percent of introduced bills enacted into law in the first session. For more information pertaining to Vela's voting record in the 113th Congress, please see the below sections.
Vela voted for HR 1960 - the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014. The bill passed the House on June 14, 2013, with a vote of 315 - 108. Both parties were somewhat divided on the vote.
Vela voted against HR 2217 - the DHS Appropriations Act (2014) Act of 2014. The bill passed the House on June 6, 2013, with a vote of 245 - 182 that was largely along party lines.
Vela voted for HR 624 - the CISPA (2013). The bill passed the House on April 18, 2013, with a vote of 288 - 127. The bill would allow federal intelligence agencies to share cybersecurity intelligence and information with private entities and utilities. The bill was largely supported by Republicans, but divided the Democratic Party.
On January 29, 2014, the U.S. House approved the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013, H.R. 2642, also known as the Farm Bill. The bill passed by a vote of 251-166. The nearly 1,000-page bill reformed and continued various programs of the Department of Agriculture through 2018. The $1 trillion bill expanded crop insurance for farmers by $7 billion over the next decade and created new subsidies for rice and peanut growers that would kick in when prices drop. However, cuts to the food stamp program cut an average of $90 per month for 1.7 million people in 15 states. Vela voted with 88 other Democratic representatives in favor of the bill.
On January 15, 2014, the Republican-run House approved H.R. 3547, a $1.1 trillion spending bill to fund the government through September 30, 2014. The House voted 359-67 for the 1,582 page bill, with 64 Republicans and three Democrats voting against the bill. The omnibus package included 12 annual spending bills to fund federal operations. It included a 1 percent increase in the paychecks of federal workers and military personnel, a $1 billion increase in Head Start funding for early childhood education, reduced funding to the Internal Revenue Service and the Environmental Protection Agency and protected the Affordable Care Act from any drastic cuts. Vela joined with the majority of the Democratic party and voted in favor of the bill.
- See also: United States budget debate, 2013
On September 30, 2013, the House passed a final stopgap spending bill before the shutdown went into effect. The bill included a one-year delay of the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate and would have also stripped the bill of federal subsidies for congressional members and staff. It passed through the House with a vote of 228-201. At 1 a.m. on October 1, 2013, one hour after the shutdown officially began, the House voted to move forward with going to a conference. In short order, Sen. Harry Reid rejected the call to conference. Vela voted against the stopgap spending bill that would have delayed the individual mandate.
The shutdown ended on October 16, 2013, when the House took a vote on HR 2775 after it was approved by the Senate. The bill to reopen the government lifted the $16.7 trillion debt limit and funded the government through January 15, 2014. Federal employees also received retroactive pay for the shutdown period. The only concession made by Senate Democrats was to require income verification for Obamacare subsidies. The House passed the legislation shortly after the Senate, by a vote of 285-144, with all 144 votes against the legislation coming from Republican members. Vela voted for HR 2775.
Federal Pay Adjustment Act
Vela voted for HR 273 - Eliminates the 2013 Statutory Pay Adjustment for Federal Employees. The bill passed the House on February 15, 2013, with a vote of 261 - 154. The bill would prevent a 0.5% pay increase for all federal workers from taking effect, saving the federal government $11 billion over 10 years. Vela was 1 of 44 Democrats who supported the bill, while 144 voted against it.
Morton Memos Prohibition
Vela voted against House Amendment 136 - Prohibits the Enforcement of the Immigration Executive Order. The amendment was adopted by the House on June 6, 2013, with a vote of 224 - 201. The purpose of the amendment as stated on the official text is to "prohibit the use of funds to finalize, implement, administer, or enforce the Morton Memos." These memos would have granted administrative amnesty to certain illegal aliens residing in the United States. The vote largely followed party lines.
Healthcare Reform Rules
Vela voted for House Amendment 450 - Requires Congressional Approval for Any Rules Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The amendment was adopted by the House on August 2, 2013, with a vote of 227-185. The amendment requires that all changes to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act be approved by Congress before taking effect. The vote was largely along party lines.
Vela voted against HR 1797 - Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. The resolution passed the House on June 18, 2013, with a vote of 228 - 196 that largely followed party lines. The purpose of the bill is to ban abortions that would take place 20 or more weeks after fertilization.
On The Issues Vote Match
- See also: On The Issues Vote Match
On The Issues conducts a VoteMatch analysis of elected officials based on 20 issue areas. Rather than relying on incumbents to complete the quiz themselves, the VoteMatch analysis is conducted using voting records, statements to the media, debate transcripts or citations from books authored by or about the candidate. Based on the results of the quiz, Vela is a Moderate Liberal. Vela received a score of 60 percent on social issues and 36 percent on economic issues.
The table below contains the results of analysis compiled by staff at On The Issues.
|On The Issues Vote Quiz|
|Economic Issues||Social Issues|
|Legally require hiring women & minorities||Strongly Favors||Abortion is a woman's unrestricted right||Unknown|
|Expand ObamaCare||Unknown||Comfortable with same-sex marriage||Strongly Favors|
|Vouchers for school choice||Opposes||Keep God in the public sphere||Unknown|
|Absolute right to gun ownership||Unknown||Human needs over animal rights||Unknown|
|Higher taxes on the wealthy||Favors||Stricter punishment reduces crime||Unknown|
|Support & expand free trade||Unknown||Pathway to citizenship for illegal aliens||Strongly Favors|
|Stricter limits on political campaign funds||Unknown||Maintain US sovereignty from UN||Unknown|
|Prioritize green energy||Strongly Opposes||Expand the military||Unknown|
|Stimulus better than market-led recovery||Favors||Stay out of Iran||Unknown|
|Privatize Social Security||Strongly Opposes||Never legalize marijuana||Unknown|
|Note: Information last updated: 2014.|
Vela is running for re-election to the U.S. House in 2014. He won the Democratic nomination in the primary election on March 4, 2014, with no opposition. He will face Larry Smith (R) and Ryan Rowley (L) in the general election on November 4, 2014.
Vela won election in the 2012 election for the U.S. House, representing Texas' 34th District. He and Denise Saenz Blanchard defeated Elmo Aycock, Ramiro Garza, Jr., Juan Angel Guerra, Salomon Torres, Anthony Troiani and Armando Villalobos in the Democratic primary on May 29, 2012. He then defeated Blanchard in the July 31 runoff election. He went on to defeat Jessica Puente Bradshaw (D) and Steven Shanklin (L) in the general election on November 6.
|U.S. House, Texas District 34 General Election, 2012|
|Republican||Jessica Puente Bradshaw||36.2%||52,448|
|Source: Texas Secretary of State "Official Election Results, 2012 General Election"|
|U.S. House, Texas District 34 Runoff Democratic Primary, 2012|
|Denise Saenz Blanchard||33.4%||7,824|
The below chart from Find The Best tracks the fundraising events Vela attends.
Comprehensive donor history
Comprehensive donor information for Vela is available dating back to 2012. Based on available campaign finance records, Vela raised a total of $876,684 during that time period. This information was last updated on March 25, 2013.
|Filemon Vela's Campaign Contribution History|
|2012||US House (Texas, District 34)||$876,684|
|Grand Total Raised||$876,684|
|Filemon Vela (2014) Campaign Finance Reports|
|Report||Date Filed||Beginning Balance||Total Contributions|
for Reporting Period
|Expenditures||Cash on Hand|
|April Quarterly||April 15, 2013||$104,586.45||$38,539.16||$(75,312.67)||$67,812.94|
|July Quarterly||July 15, 2013||$67,812.94||$103,275.00||$(37,576.29)||$133,511.65|
|October Quarterly||October 15, 2013||$133,511.65||$121,255.07||$(162,554.49)||$92,212.23|
|Year-End||January 31, 2014||$92,212||$112,381||$(89,337)||$115,256|
|Pre-Primary||February 20, 2014||$115,256||$5,529||$(25,782)||$95,002|
|April Quarterly||April 15, 2014||$95,002||$58,108||$(28,681)||$124,429|
|July Quarterly||July 15, 2014||$124,429||$165,178||$(167,807)||$121,800|
Vela won election to the U.S. House in 2012. During that election cycle, Vela's campaign committee raised a total of $876,684 and spent $772,098. This is less than the average $1.5 million spent by House winners in 2012.
Cost per vote
Vela spent $8.62 per vote received in 2012.
|U.S. House, Texas District 34, 2012 - Filemon Vela Campaign Contributions|
|Total Raised by Election Runner-up||$95,019|
|Total Spent by Election Runner-up||$50,895|
|Top contributors to Filemon Vela's campaign committee|
|American Assn for Justice||$10,000|
|Committee for Hispanic Causes-BOLD PAC||$10,000|
|Top 5 industries that contributed to campaign committee|
To view the breakdown of campaign funding by type click [show] to expand the section.
Personal Gain Index
- See also: Personal Gain Index (U.S. Congress)
- See also: Personal Gain Index (U.S. Congress)
The Personal Gain Index (U.S. Congress) is a four-part measurement that illustrates the extent to which members of the U.S. Congress have prospered during their tenure as public servants.
It consists of four different metrics:
- Changes in Net Worth
- The K-Street Metric
- The Donation Concentration Metric
- The Stock Oversight and Trades Metric
PGI: Change in net worth
Based on congressional financial disclosure forms and calculations made available by OpenSecrets.org, Vela's net worth as of 2012 was estimated between $-1,301,979 and $10,096,001. That averages to $4,397,011, which is lower than the average net worth of Democratic representatives in 2012 of $5,700,168.36. Vela ranked as the 81st most wealthy representative in 2012. Between 2011 and 2012, Vela's calculated net worth decreased by an average of 50 percent per year. Between 2004 and 2012, the average annual percentage increase for a member of Congress was 15.4 percent.
|Filemon Vela Yearly Net Worth|
|Year||Average Net Worth|
|Growth from 2011 to 2012:||-50%|
|Average annual growth:||-50%|
|Comparatively, the American citizen experienced a median yearly decline in net worth of -0.94%.|
The website OpenCongress tracks the voting records of each member to determine with whom he or she votes most and least often. The results include a member from each party.
Vela most often votes with:
Vela least often votes with:
Lifetime voting record
According to the website GovTrack, Vela missed 28 of 1,072 roll call votes from January 2013 to July 2014. This amounts to 2.6 percent, which is worse than the median of 2.5 percent among current congressional representatives as of July 2014.
National Journal vote ratings
- See also: National Journal vote ratings
Each year National Journal publishes an analysis of how liberally or conservatively each member of Congress voted in the previous year. Click the link above for the full ratings of all members of Congress.
Vela ranked 182nd in the liberal rankings in 2013.
Voting with party
The website OpenCongress tracks how often members of Congress vote with the majority of the chamber caucus.
Vela voted with the Democratic Party 84 percent of the time, which ranked 179th among the 204 House Democratic members as of July 2014.
Vela voted with the Democratic Party 91.1 percent of the time, which ranked 168th among the 201 House Democratic members as of June 2013.
Vela is married to his wife, Rose.
This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the term Filemon + Vela + Texas + House
- All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.
- United States House of Representatives
- United States congressional delegations from Texas
- Texas' 34th Congressional District elections, 2014
- Texas' 34th Congressional District
- Social media:
- Political profiles:
- Financial (federal level):
- Interest group ratings:
- Issue positions:
- Public statements:
- Voting record:
- Media appearances:
- Media coverage:
- Politico, "2012 Election Map, Texas," November 6, 2012
- National Journal, "Texas, 34th House District: Filemon Vela (D)," November 6, 2012
- CQ.com, "House Committee Rosters for the 113th Congress," accessed March 3, 2013
- Congressional Record, "Resume of Congressional Activity, First Session of the 112th Congress," accessed September 5, 2013
- Congressional Record, "Resume of Congressional Activity, Second Session of the 113th Congress," accessed March 4, 2014
- Project Vote Smart, "HR 1960 - National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014 - Voting Record," accessed September 16, 2013
- Project Vote Smart, "HR 2217 - DHS Appropriations Act (2014) Act of 2014 - Voting Record," accessed September 16, 2013
- Project Vote Smart, "HR 624 - CISPA (2013) - Voting Record," accessed September 16, 2013
- Clerk of U.S. House, "Roll Call Vote 31: H.R. 2642," accessed February 12, 2014
- Politico, "House clears farm bill," accessed February 12, 2014
- NY Times, "Senate Passes Long-Stalled Farm Bill, With Clear Winners and Losers," accessed February 12, 2014
- CNN.com, "House passes compromise $1.1 trillion budget for 2014," accessed January 20, 2014
- U.S. House, "Roll Call Vote 21," accessed January 20, 2014
- Roll Call, "House passes $1.1 trillion omnibus," accessed January 20, 2014
- Clerk of the U.S. House, "Final vote results for Roll Call 504," accessed October 31, 2013
- Buzzfeed, "Government Shutdown: How We Got Here," accessed October 1, 2013
- Clerk of the U.S. House, "Final vote results for Roll Call 504," accessed October 31, 2013
- The Washington Post, "Reid, McConnell propose bipartisan Senate bill to end shutdown, extend borrowing," accessed October 16, 2013
- U.S. House, "Final vote results for Roll Call 550," accessed October 31, 2013
- Project Vote Smart, "HR 273 - Eliminates the 2013 Statutory Pay Adjustment for Federal Employees - Voting Record," accessed September 16, 2013
- The Library of Congress, "H.AMDT.136," accessed September 16, 2013
- Project Vote Smart, "H Amdt 136 - Prohibits the Enforcement of the Immigration Executive Order - Voting Record," accessed September 16, 2013
- Project Vote Smart, "H Amdt 450 - Requires Congressional Approval for Any Rules Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act - Voting Record," accessed September 16, 2013
- Project Vote Smart, "HR 1797 - Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act - Voting Record," accessed September 16, 2013
- On The Issues, "Filemon Vela Vote Match," accessed June 19, 2014
- The questions in the quiz are broken down into two sections -- social and economic. In social questions, liberals and libertarians agree in choosing the less-government answers, while conservatives and populists agree in choosing the more-restrictive answers. For the economic questions, conservatives and libertarians agree in choosing the less-government answers, while liberals and populists agree in choosing the more-restrictive answers.
- Texas Secretary of State, "Race Summary Report-2012 Democratic Party Primary Runoff," accessed August 30, 2012
- Texas Democrats, "2012 Candidate list," accessed May 10, 2012
- Texas Secretary of State, "Unofficial Democratic primary results," May 29, 2012
- Associated Press, Primary runoff results," accessed August 31, 2012
- Open Secrets, "Career Fundraising for Filemon Vela," accessed March 25, 2013
- Federal Election Commission, "Filemon Vela Summary Report," accessed July 24, 2013
- Federal Election Commission, "Filemon Vela April Quarterly," accessed July 24, 2013
- Federal Election Commission, "Filemon Vela July Quarterly," accessed July 24, 2013
- Federal Election Commission, "Filemon Vela October Quarterly," accessed October 22, 2013
- Federal Election Commission, "Filemon Vela Year-End," accessed February 6, 2014
- Federal Election Commission, "Filemon Vela Pre-Primary," accessed April 20, 2014
- Federal Election Commission, "Filemon Vela April Quarterly," accessed April 20, 2014
- Federal Election Commission, "Filemon Vela July Quarterly," accessed July 23, 2014
- Open Secrets, "Filemon Vela 2012 Election Cycle," accessed March 5, 2013
- Open Secrets, "Election 2012: The Big Picture Shows Record Cost of Winning a Seat in Congress," accessed June 19, 2013
- OpenSecrets, "Filemon Vela (D-Texas), 2012," accessed February 18, 2014
- This figure represents the total percentage growth from either 2004 (if the member entered office in 2004 or earlier) or their first year in office (as noted in the chart below).
- This number was found by dividing each member's total net worth growth percentage by the number of years included in the calculation.
- This figure represents the total percentage growth divided by the number of years for which there are net worth figures for each member.
- This figure was calculated using median asset data from the Census Bureau. Please see the Congressional Net Worth data for Ballotpedia spreadsheet for more information on this calculation.
- OpenCongress, "Filemon Vela," accessed July 18, 2014
- GovTrack, "Filemon Vela," accessed July 21, 2014
- National Journal, "2013 Congressional Vote Ratings," accessed July 18, 2014
- OpenCongress, "Voting With Party," accessed July 2014
- OpenCongress, "Voting With Party," accessed July 2014
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