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Guadalupe Valdez, popularly known as Lupe, was born in 1947 to migrant farm worker parents and raised in San Antonio, Texas. She worked in the Neighborhood Youth Corps and graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School in 1966. She earned her Bachelor's degree in Business Administration from Bethany Nazarene College in Bethany, Oklahoma in 1972 and her Master's degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Texas at Arlington. She served as a church youth director in Phoenix, Arizona and joined the Army National Guard before she entered the Women's Army Corps (WACS) for officer training prior to its merger with the United States Army, achieving the rank of captain. After military service, she worked in county prison systems outside of Texas, but returned to Texas in 1978 and worked at the Federal Correctional Institution in Seagoville. She became a federal agent working undercover investigations for the General Services Administration (GSA) Criminal Division in Georgia in 1980, then for the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture in Arkansas, and for the U.S. Bureau of Customs offices based in Dallas, Texas. She retired from federal service after twenty-six years, campaigned and won election as Dallas County Sheriff in 2004, and reelection to that office in 2008. She is a member of the Mexican American Democrats of Texas (MAD) and an avid supporter of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender (GLBT) rights.
Guadalupe Valdez begins with her family background and recalls her childhood in San Antonio, Texas. She touches on her neighborhood's inclusion of public housing, attending the project school, and working for the Neighborhood Youth Corps. She recounts taking public transportation to Thomas Jefferson High School, relates her experiences while attending Bethany Nazarene College in Bethany, Oklahoma, and adds the reasons her family converted from Catholicism to Protestantism through the Church of the Nazarene. She talks about the race discrimination she experienced when applying for a job in San Antonio, tells why she chose to attend school outside of Texas, and reports on her military service in the Army National Guard and the U.S. Women's Army Corps (WACS). She speaks of the discrimination she endured as a female employee at the Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) in Seagoville, Texas and details her opportunity to become a federal agent. She describes the undercover investigations she conducted for the General Services Administration (GSA) in Georgia and, particularly, that of food stamp fraud for the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Arkansas. She expresses her concern that her work schedule overshadows her personal life and reveals her solution in coming to work for the U.S. Customs offices based in Dallas. She shares that she is a lesbian, refers to her religious affiliation to the Metropolitan Community Church (MCC), and explains her decision to run for Dallas County sheriff. She mentions her conversation with Dallas County Democratic Chair Susan Hays and her friendship with José Plata, and provides her campaign strategy against Danny Chandler. She elaborates on the primary elections, her campaign, and winning the general election. She notes federal Judge Fred Berry who swore her into office and cites the national media attention she has received. She discusses the reactions of her new staff and states her expectations for the department. She relates her search for the right candidate, Jesse Flores, to serve as chief deputy and conveys her struggle to solve departmental problems. She comments on a number of prominent Dallasites, including former mayor Ron Kirk and her predecessor, Jim Bowles.
Locations of residence or activity:
Dallas, San Antonio