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President Biden nominates Gina Ortiz Jones for Under Secretary of the Air Force


Gina Ortiz Jones ran two campaigns to represent Texas' 23rd District in Congress. - COURTESY PHOTO / GINA ORTIZ JONES
  • Courtesy Photo / Gina Ortiz Jones
  • Gina Ortiz Jones ran two campaigns to represent Texas' 23rd District in Congress.
President Joe Biden has nominated San Antonio native Gina Ortiz Jones for Under Secretary of the Air Force.

Jones is among 10 individuals nominated by Biden for national security positions on Tuesday. If confirmed, she’ll become the first out lesbian to serve as under secretary of a military branch.

Jones, a John Jay High School graduate, was raised by a single mom who came to U.S. from the Philippines. Jones earned a BA and MA in economics from Boston University which she attended on a four-year Air Force ROTC scholarship. She also has advance degrees from the University of Kansas and the U.S. Army School of Advanced Military Studies.

While in the Air Force, Jones was an intelligence officer who deployed to Iraq with the 18th Air Support Operations Group supporting close air support operations. Most recently, she was employed in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, where she worked until 2017 when she decided to move back to San Antonio and run for Congress.

In 2018, Jones, a Democrat, challenged Republican Rep. Will Hurd for his 23rd Congressional District seat but lost by fewer than 1,000 votes.

“While we came up short this time, we ran a race of which we can be proud,” she said in a written statement at the time. “I remain committed to serving my community and country, and I wish Will Hurd the courage to fight for TX-23 in the way in which our district deserves.”

In May 2019, Jones announced she would again challenge Hurd. However, Hurd didn't seek reelection. Instead, Jones faced off against now-U.S. Rep. Tony Gonzales, a Republican who won by a 4% margin.

Since the election, Jones has worked behind the scenes in support of gun control and anti-Asian racism.

“From deploying to Iraq to working hard for Texas families, Gina Ortiz Jones’s life of public service has consistently reflected the best of San Antonio," San Antonio Congressman Joaquin Castro wrote in a Facebook post. "I know she’ll continue to make our hometown proud in the United States Air Force leadership."

“Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), chair of the House Armed Services Committee, praised the selection of Jones as Air Force under secretary and said she ‘served her country both in and out of uniform," according to the Washington Blade.

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