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Single Mom Challenging Fellow Dems Who Want To Take On Rep. Pete Sessions

DALLAS (CBS11) - From now until the March 6 primary, CBS11 is taking a closer look at some key races across Texas and specifically in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

One race generating a lot of interest is for the 32nd Congressional District in Dallas and Collin Counties, long held by Republican Pete Sessions.

While this district has been historically Republican, it was one of three Republican Congressional districts in Texas in which Hillary Clinton won in the 2016 presidential election.

Even though it was a one-point victory, it is giving Democrats hope they can repeat the outcome in 2018.

As a result, there are seven candidates vying in the primary.

Lillian Salerno is the only woman in the race. "I think my story resonates with this district."

Lillian Salerno
Lillian Salerno (Jack Fink - CBS11)

Salerno worked on both of Barack Obama's presidential campaigns, served in his administration at the Department of Agriculture, and owns a small business.

But this single mother says she hasn't lost touch with everyday Texans.

"I'm somebody who understands what working families face," said Salerno. "I was that mom who sent her daughter to school with strep throat because I couldn't get out of a meeting."

In a recent campaign mailer, Salerno pointed out she's the lone woman running: "I once again find myself the only woman in a crowded field of men. But I'm not afraid to grab the mic, and I have something to say."

She referred to the #MeToo Movement against sexual harassment.

When asked how much of this message she thinks she'll be able to use to win the primary, Salerno said, "I joined the race in September before the #MeToo Movement. Any female that I've talked to when you look her in the eyes gets it. Women really do need to have representative government and especially from a place like Texas, where we haven't elected a new woman to Congress in 22 years. Yeah, the time is up."

But this issue isn't why Salerno says she jumped into the race:

Instead, she says it was Republicans' attempts to repeal Obamacare. "Pete Sessions doesn't fight for our values. He tried to kick 22 million people off of Obamacare. Over 30,000 of them were right here in this district and that's not acceptable."

And when it comes to immigration reform, for Salerno, it's personal.

She has three children including two daughters she adopted from Mexico.

Salerno rejects President Trump's proposal which offers a path to citizenship for DACA recipients, in exchange for an expanded border all, limits on migration, and ending the visa lottery program. "Those DACA kids are as American as you and I, and we have to stand strong on this issue."

She said Senate Democrats surrendered too quickly in their fight for a clean DACA bill.


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