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Birth Place: Matamoros, , Mexico
Residence: Brownsville, TX
Jessica Puente Bradshaw was born in Matamoros, Mexico, and grew up in Brownsville, Texas, with her mother and two sisters. She graduated from South Texas High School for Health Professions in 1992 and enrolled, at age 19, at the University of Texas-Brownsville and Texas Southernmost College. She spent two years there and worked at the student newspaper, The Collegian, as a graphic and layout editor as well as a political editorial cartoonist.
Bradshaw married her husband, Jonathan, in 1995 and moved to his hometown of Salt Lake City. She taught Spanish to elementary students during their extracurricular periods and earned a bachelor's in fine arts from the University of Utah in 1988.
The family eventually moved to San Jose, Calif., where Bradshaw taught English, U.S. citizenship classes and computer skills as part of community service programs. She later taught reading, social studies, English and ESL classes at a middle school.
In 2003, the family moved to Austin, Texas, where Bradshaw built a real estate investment business. She and her husband have two children.
Jessica Puente Bradshaw was one of three Republicans seeking their party's nomination for Texas' new 34th Congressional District during the state's May 2012 primary. She finished second by about 200 votes to Adela Garza, who owns a pharmacy with her husband and is a first-term trustee at Texas Southmost College in Brownsville.
Bradshaw then defeated Garza in the July runoff to advance to the November general election. She faces attorney Filemon Vela, who emerged from a crowded primary field of eight Democrats and defeated Denise Saenz Blanchard in a runoff.
Texas' 34th District is one of four new seats in Congress the state received based on its booming population growth as measured in the 2010 census. Hispanics were responsible for nearly all that growth, however. The new district is anchored in Brownsville, in the area of what's usually a Democratic stronghold known as the Lower Rio Grande Valley _ one of the fastest growing areas in Texas.
Given the area's heavy Hispanic population the new seat has long been seen as a slam-dunk for Democrats. But Bradshaw is a Hispanic who embraces the tea party, saying it is a movement founded on opposing tax increases rather than on social issues like opposing illegal immigration.
Bradshaw ran as a tea party candidate in the Republican primary for Texas' 27th Congressional District in 2010, but finished last. Blake Farenthold won the party's nomination and upset long-serving Democratic U.S. Rep. Solomon P. Ortiz in a district that then stretched from Brownsville up to the Gulf Coast community of Corpus Christi.
Source: Associated Press
113th Congress on Twitter
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