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Ruben Gallego

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Ruben Gallego
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Arizona
Assumed office
January 3, 2015
Preceded byEd Pastor
Constituency7th district (2015–2023)
3rd district (2023–present)
Member of the
Arizona House of Representatives
In office
January 10, 2011 – March 14, 2014
Serving with Catherine Miranda
Preceded byCloves Campbell Jr.
Succeeded byNorma Muñoz
Constituency16th district (2011–2013)
27th district (2013–2014)
Personal details
Ruben Marinelarena

(1979-11-20) November 20, 1979 (age 44)
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
  • (m. 2010; div. 2017)
  • Sydney Barron
    (m. 2021)
Residence(s)Phoenix, Arizona, Washington D.C.[1]
EducationHarvard University (BA)
Military service
Branch/serviceUnited States Marine Corps
Years of service2000–2006
UnitUnited States Marine Corps Reserve
Battles/warsIraq War

Rubén Marinelarena Gallego (/ˈrbən ɡˈɛɡ/ ROO-bən gy-EH-goh; born November 20, 1979) is an American politician and former U.S. Marine serving as the U.S. representative for Arizona's 3rd congressional district. Gallego served and deployed as a USMCR Corporal in the US invasion of Iraq.

He is a member of the Democratic Party and was previously a member of the Arizona House of Representatives, where he was assistant minority leader from 2012 until he resigned to run for Congress. Gallego was first elected to Congress in 2014. His district includes most of southern, western, and downtown Phoenix, and part of Glendale. He served as the national chair of Eric Swalwell's 2020 presidential campaign.[2]

Considered a progressive politician, Gallego, who has been very critical of U.S. Senator Kyrsten Sinema, was encouraged by several left-wing organizations to run against her in the 2024 election.[3] He announced his candidacy on January 23, 2023.[4]

Early life and education[edit]

Gallego was born in Chicago,[5] and is a second-generation American, with a Colombian mother and a Mexican father.[6]

Along with his three sisters, he was raised by a single mother.[7] The family eventually moved to Evergreen Park, Illinois, and he graduated from Evergreen Park Community High School.[8]

Gallego attended Harvard University, where he became a member of Sigma Chi[9] and earned a Bachelor of Arts in international relations.[10]


Gallego in 2013

After college, Gallego joined the Marines. After completing training in the School of Infantry (SOI), he deployed to Iraq with Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 25th Marines. The 3/25 lost 46 Marines and one Navy Corpsman between January 2005 and January 2006. Gallego's best friend died during combat operations in Iraq.[7]

In 2009, Gallego served as the Chief of Staff for District 7 City Phoenix City Councilman Michael Nowakowski before he was elected vice chair of the Arizona Democratic Party. The next year, he was elected to the Arizona State House, representing Arizona District 16.[11]

In 2011, The Arizona Republic named Gallego a distinguished freshman lawmaker.[12] His first successful bill granted in-state tuition status to veterans residing in Arizona.[7] Gallego supported the repeal of Arizona SB 1070.[citation needed] In 2012, Gallego was elected assistant minority leader.[13]

Gallego founded the group Citizens for Professional Law Enforcement with the goal of recalling Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, citing Arpaio's immigration policies and his use of taxpayer money to investigate Barack Obama's citizenship.[14]

Gallego worked for Strategies 360 as Director of Latino and New Media operations. He also worked for Riester, one of Arizona's largest public relations firms.[15]

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]

Gallego during the 114th Congress


Gallego speaking at a rally for presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in 2016

On February 27, 2014, Gallego announced his candidacy for Congress in Arizona's 7th congressional district.[16] Although not required to give up his seat under Arizona's resign-to-run laws (since he was in the final year of his state House term), Gallego resigned from the Arizona House in March 2014.[17]

Mayday PAC, a super PAC seeking to reduce the role of money in politics, endorsed Gallego in 2014.[18]

Gallego won a five-way Democratic primary—the real contest in this heavily Democratic, majority-Latino district—with 48.9% of the vote. He won the general election with 74% of the vote. He has been reelected three times, never dropping below 70% of the vote. He faced only a Green candidate in 2018, and defeated Republican challengers in 2016, 2020, and 2022. He is the second Colombian American elected to the U.S. House after Republican Scott Perry.[19]

Considered a progressive politician, Gallego, who has been very critical of U.S. Senator Kyrsten Sinema, was encouraged by several left-wing organizations to run against her in the 2024 election.[3] He announced his candidacy on January 23, 2023.[4]

Committee assignments[edit]

For the 118th Congress:[20]

Caucus memberships[edit]

Political positions[edit]

Gallego during a Natural Resources Committee meeting in 2020

In November 2020, the House of Representatives passed a bill introduced by Gallego and Markwayne Mullin that requires the federal government to reimburse healthcare provided for Native veterans, regardless of whether the healthcare was provided by, or referred by, the Indian Health Service or tribes.[23]

In May 2021, the House passed a bill Gallego sponsored, the Native VetSuccess at Tribal Colleges and Universities Pilot Program Act, that would have provided more government funding for Native American veterans. The Senate did not take up the bill.[24]

In July 2021, it was reported that a corporate lobbying group called the U.S.-Qatar Business Council paid for a $22,000 trip to Qatar for Gallego and his wife, who is a lobbyist for the National Association of Realtors.[25] Commentators noted that Gallego had previously criticized Senator Kyrsten Sinema for allegedly being too close to business lobbyists.[26]

Gallego opposed the 2022 overturning of Roe v. Wade.[27] He has called for enshrining abortion rights in the Constitution of Arizona.[28]

In February 2022, Gallego called for expelling Russian university students from the United States, prompting commentators to denounce these remarks as bigoted and xenophobic.[29]

On February 9, 2023, Gallego voted against overturning the Local Resident Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2022, which would allow noncitizens to vote in local elections in the District of Columbia.[30][31]

Gallego speaking to a U.S. Army officer in 2017
Gallego during the
114th Congress

In the 117th United States Congress, Gallego voted in line with Joe Biden's stated position 100% of the time.[32]

In September 2023, the House passed Gallego's bill, the Native American Child Protection Act, which aims to set up the National Indian Child Resource and Family Services Center to assist and train tribes, tribal organizations and urban Indian organizations, and also aims to come up with state-tribe agreements to prevent, investigate and prosecute family violence.[33][34]

Gallego voted to provide Israel with support following the 2023 Hamas attack on Israel.[35][36]

2024 U.S. Senate campaign[edit]

The logo for Gallego's Senate campaign.

On January 22, 2023, Gallego announced his candidacy for the United States Senate in 2024.[37] The seat is currently held by Kyrsten Sinema, an independent who was first elected as a Democrat in 2018, and who has angered some members of the party due to her opposition to filibuster reform and some Democratic legislation. Sinema is not seeking reelection. Gallego raised more money than Sinema in the first two quarters of 2023.[38]

In 2022, Gallego bought a home near Capitol Hill using a special mortgage loan program for military veterans. He claimed the District of Columbia home as his primary residence although his campaign maintains that he resides in his Phoenix home. Gallego receives a homeowner rebate in Arizona that lowers the tax burdens for residents who primarily live in the state. Politico noted that Gallego "may have to explain why he declared he was primarily a resident of the nation's capital."[1][39]

Gallego, who had previously embraced his progressive background as "a fierce liberal combatant", has sought to strike a moderate tone in his 2024 campaign in order to woo swing voters. He once called Donald Trump's border wall plans "stupid" and accused Trump of "scapegoating immigrants," but by 2024 Gallego was "delicately turning to the political center". The New York Times wrote, "Gallego has built a reputation as a blunt-spoken liberal who is politically in tune with young progressives and lacerates his opponents with profane social media posts." While Gallego seeks to move to the middle, Republicans in Arizona are highlighting his co-sponsorship of the Medicare for All Act, his support for ending the Senate filibuster, and his suggestion to "take a scalpel" to military spending.[40] In 2018 Gallego rallied alongside Bernie Sanders and in 2022 he called himself "a true progressive voice in Congress." By 2024, he no longer embraced the label "progressive". He let his membership in the Congressional Progressive Caucus lapse, which he claimed was a financial decision.[41]

Personal life[edit]

On August 7, 2008, Gallego changed his name from Ruben Marinelarena to Ruben Marinelarena Gallego to honor his mother, Elisa Gallego, who raised him and his three siblings on her own after his father abandoned the family in his childhood.[42]

In 2010, Gallego married Kate Widland Gallego, who was later elected mayor of Phoenix. They divorced in 2017, just before the birth of their son.[43]

Gallego married Sydney Barron in 2021.[44][45] Barron is a lobbyist for the National Association of Realtors.[6] They have a daughter, who was born in July 2023.[46]

Gallego wrote They Called Us "Lucky": The Life and Afterlife of the Iraq War's Hardest Hit Unit, published in 2021, about his service in the Marines Third Battalion, Twenty-Fifth Marine Regiment, Lima Company, during the Iraq War.[47]

Electoral history[edit]


2010 Arizona House of Representatives Democratic primary, 16th district
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Ruben Gallego 4,149 26.12
Democratic Catherine Miranda 3,476 21.88
Democratic Cloves Campbell Jr. (incumbent) 3,182 20.03
Democratic Jim Munoz Jr. 2,281 14.36
Democratic Sandra Gonzales 1,955 12.31
Democratic Cristy Lopez 842 5.30
2010 Arizona House of Representatives election, 16th district
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Catherine Miranda 19,197 39.46
Democratic Ruben Gallego 18,365 37.75
Republican Michael Gular 8,551 17.58
Green Angel Torres 2,532 5.21


2012 Arizona House of Representatives election, 27th district
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Catherine Miranda (incumbent) 28,683 40.98
Democratic Ruben Gallego (incumbent) 27,522 39.32
Republican Daniel Coleman 10,088 14.41
Green Angel Torres 3,702 5.29


2014 U.S. House Democratic primary, Arizona's 7th congressional district
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Ruben Gallego 14,936 48.90
Democratic Mary Rose Wilcox 11,077 36.27
Democratic Randy Camacho 2,330 7.63
Democratic Jarrett Maupin 2,199 7.20
2014 U.S. House election, Arizona's 7th congressional district
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Ruben Gallego 54,235 74.85
Libertarian Joe Cobb 10,715 14.79
Americans Elect Rebecca DeWitt 3,858 5.32
Independent José Peñalosa 3,496 4.83
Write-in 150 0.21


2016 U.S. House election, Arizona's 7th congressional district
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Ruben Gallego (incumbent) 119,465 75.2
Republican Eve Nunez 39,286 24.7
Write-in 60 < 0.01


2018 U.S. House election, Arizona's 7th congressional district
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Ruben Gallego (incumbent) 113,044 85.6
Green Gary Swing 18,706 14.1
Write-in 301 < 0.01


2020 U.S. House election, Arizona's 7th congressional district
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Ruben Gallego (incumbent) 165,452 75.7%
Republican Josh Barnett 50,226 23.3%
Write-in 54 0.0%
Total votes 215,732 100%
Democratic hold


2022 U.S. House election, Arizona's 3rd congressional district
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Ruben Gallego (incumbent) 108,599 77.0%
Republican Jeff Zink 32,475 23.0%
Total votes 141,074 100%
Democratic hold

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Lippman, Daniel (June 5, 2023). "Democratic Senate hopeful claims primary residence in Arizona — and D.C." Politico. Retrieved June 20, 2023.
  2. ^ Kling, Matt (April 15, 2019). "Arizona Rep. Ruben Gallego Joins Eric Swalwell's Presidential Campaign". KJZZ (FM). Archived from the original on April 16, 2019.
  3. ^ a b Carrasquillo, Adrian (September 30, 2021). "Draft Ruben Gallego effort launches as progressives seek to oust Kyrsten Sinema". Newsweek. Retrieved October 2, 2021.
  4. ^ a b Joan E Greve (January 23, 2023). "Ruben Gallego to run for Arizona Senate seat held by Kyrsten Sinema". The Guardian. Retrieved January 23, 2023.
  5. ^ "Guide to the New Congress" (PDF). Roll Call. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 3, 2018. Retrieved December 6, 2014.
  6. ^ a b Kavaler, Tara (November 30, 2021). "5 takeaways from Rep. Ruben Gallego's new book 'They Called Us 'Lucky". The Arizona Republic. Retrieved April 19, 2023.
  7. ^ a b c Lopatin, Shari (September 2011). "Marine Turned Politician". Phoenix Magazine. Archived from the original on November 22, 2014. Retrieved August 22, 2013.
  8. ^ "Evergreen Park Community High School: Hall of Fame Inductees" (PDF). evergreenpark.org. Archived (PDF) from the original on March 6, 2024. Retrieved April 19, 2023.
  9. ^ Avi-Yonah, Shera S. (June 10, 2019). "Bipartisan Group of Lawmakers Introduces Legislation That Could Endanger Harvard's Sanctions". The Harvard Crimson. Retrieved June 11, 2019.
  10. ^ "Ruben Gallego". Ballotpedia. Retrieved March 5, 2021.
  11. ^ "Ambition, Life Experience Driving State Representative". South Mountain District News. May 31, 2011. Archived from the original on March 28, 2014. Retrieved August 22, 2013.
  12. ^ Pitzl, Mary Jo (May 21, 2011). "Arizona House and Senate distinguished freshmen". The Arizona Republic. Retrieved August 22, 2013. [dead link]
  13. ^ "Democrats select leaders in Arizona House, Senate". My Fox Memphis. Associated Press. November 13, 2012. Archived from the original on July 14, 2014. Retrieved August 22, 2013.
  14. ^ Celock, John (September 25, 2012). "Joe Arpaio Opponents Form Super PAC To Unseat Arizona Sheriff". Huffington Post. Retrieved August 22, 2013.
  15. ^ "Ruben Gallego". Strategies 360. Archived from the original on July 9, 2013. Retrieved August 22, 2013.
  16. ^ Foley, Elise (February 27, 2014). "Ruben Gallego, Arizona State Rep., Announces Bid For Congress". HuffPost. Retrieved March 1, 2014.
  17. ^ "Rep. Gallego resigns from Arizona House". Arizona Capitol Times. Associated Press. March 14, 2014. Retrieved November 17, 2016.
  18. ^ Sullivan, Sean (August 11, 2014). "A leading 'anti-super PAC' just backed three more candidates for Congress". Washington Post. Retrieved August 11, 2014.
  19. ^ Reinhard, Beth; Alfaro, Mariana (December 22, 2021). "Long before embracing Trump's false election claims, Rep. Scott Perry promoted groundless theories". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved February 15, 2023.
  20. ^ "Ruben Gallego". Clerk of the United States House of Representatives. Retrieved April 22, 2023.
  21. ^ "Sinema's exit sparks rush to the center in Arizona Senate race". Politico.
  22. ^ "About Us". www.ccainstitute.org.
  23. ^ Jennings, Chris (January 2021). "Series of U.S. House votes aim to help Native American veterans" (PDF). Biskinik. Retrieved October 5, 2023.
  24. ^ Goldenberg, Karli (June 2, 2021). "Bill Would Provide Better Education Benefits to Native American Veterans". military.com. Retrieved October 5, 2023.
  25. ^ Leonard, Kimberly; Levinthal, Dave (July 10, 2021). "Photos show shirtless Democratic congressmen and their wives riding camels on a Qatar trip paid for by a special interest group". Business Insider.
  26. ^ Birle, Jack (February 24, 2023). "Ruben Gallego slammed Sinema for relationship with lobbyists, but he's married to one". Washington Examiner. Retrieved March 6, 2024.
  27. ^ Fischer, Morgan (January 22, 2024). "Roe vs. Wade: Here's what Sinema and Gallego said about anniversary". Arizona Republic. Retrieved April 23, 2024.
  28. ^ Vargas, Ramon Antonio (April 15, 2024). "Arizona Democrat says enshrining abortion rights in constitution best remedy to 1864 ban". The Guardian. Retrieved April 23, 2024.
  29. ^ Jones, Sarah (February 28, 2022). "Xenophobia Is the Wrong Response to Russia". Intelligencer. Retrieved March 6, 2024.
  30. ^ Dinan, Stephen (February 9, 2023). "House votes to overturn D.C.'s illegal immigrant voting plan". The Washington Times.
  31. ^ "H.J.Res.24 - Disapproving the action of the District of Columbia Council in approving the Local Resident Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2022". Congress.gov. February 9, 2023.
  32. ^ Bycoffe, Anna Wiederkehr and Aaron (October 22, 2021). "Does Your Member Of Congress Vote With Or Against Biden?". FiveThirtyEight. Retrieved October 28, 2021.
  33. ^ Randazzo, Ryan (September 19, 2023). "House passes Rep. Ruben Gallego's Native American Child Protection Act". Arizona Republic. Archived from the original on September 21, 2023. Retrieved October 5, 2023.
  34. ^ "Native American Child Protect Act passes U.S. House". KNAU. September 19, 2023. Retrieved October 5, 2023.
  35. ^ Demirjian, Karoun (October 25, 2023). "House Declares Solidarity With Israel in First Legislation Under New Speaker". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved October 30, 2023.
  36. ^ "Roll Call 528 Roll Call 528, Bill Number: H. Res. 771, 118th Congress, 1st Session". Office of the Clerk, U.S. House of Representatives. October 25, 2023. Retrieved October 30, 2023.
  37. ^ Altimari, Daniela; Weiss, Laura (January 23, 2023). "Rep. Ruben Gallego jumps into Arizona Senate race". Roll Call. Retrieved April 19, 2023.
  38. ^ Mutnick, Ally (July 15, 2023). "Sinema outraised by Gallego again, further clouding her future". Politico. Retrieved July 31, 2023.
  39. ^ Hansen, Ronald; Reagor, Catherine (June 6, 2023). "Rep. Ruben Gallego faces questions over terms of D.C. home purchase". The Arizona Republic. Retrieved June 20, 2023.
  40. ^ Browning, Kellen (April 10, 2024). "In Arizona's Crucial Senate Race, a Liberal Fighter Courts the Center". The New York Times. Retrieved April 23, 2024.
  41. ^ Tabet, Alex; Hillyard, Vaughn (April 8, 2024). "Ruben Gallego redefines himself as he seeks Senate promotion in Arizona". NBC News. Retrieved April 23, 2024.
  42. ^ Fuller, Jaime (June 12, 2014). "This Arizona candidate changed his name. His opponent wasn't happy about it". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 17, 2016.
  43. ^ Gardiner, Dustin (December 21, 2016). "Phoenix Vice Mayor Kate Gallego and Rep. Ruben Gallego to divorce". The Arizona Republic. Retrieved January 18, 2019.
  44. ^ Kurtz, Judy (February 18, 2020). "One lawmaker gets engaged, another married around Valentine's Day". The Hill. Retrieved March 6, 2024.
  45. ^ Wu, Nicholas (June 7, 2021). "Schumer's jam-packed June". Politico. Retrieved March 6, 2024.
  46. ^ Kavaler, Tara (July 7, 2023). "Meet Isla Jean Gallego: Rep. Ruben Gallego announces birth of daughter". The Arizona Republic. Retrieved August 14, 2023.
  47. ^ "They Called Us Lucky". HarperCollins. Retrieved March 6, 2024.

External links[edit]

Arizona House of Representatives
Preceded by Member of the Arizona House of Representatives
from the 16th district

Succeeded by
Preceded by Member of the Arizona House of Representatives
from the 27th district

Succeeded by
Norma Muñoz
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Arizona's 7th congressional district

Succeeded by
Raúl Grijalva
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Arizona's 3rd congressional district

U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by United States representatives by seniority
Succeeded by