Ruben Gallego is the son of an immigrant mother from Colombia and an immigrant father from Mexico. He was raised in Chicago by his mother along with his three sisters and worked for most of his young adult life, including summer jobs at a hot dog joint and a meat packing plant.
After high school, Ruben Gallego went to Harvard where he cleaned other students’ bathrooms, worked at a meat packing plant and was a reservist during college to afford school. He later used his money saved while fighting in Iraq to pay off the $15,000 he had left in debt.
Ruben deployed to Iraq as a United States Marine Infantryman in 2005 where his company saw some of the worst fighting and the heaviest casualties of the Iraq War, losing 22 Marines and a Navy Corpsman in eight months. Ruben wrote a book about his time overseas titled They Called Us “Lucky” — a story about his time in Iraq and the people he served with from blue-collar towns, immigrant households and the Navajo Nation. It also detailed how he has dealt with PTSD since coming back from Iraq.
Ruben’s military service motivated him to seek public office, where he has worked tirelessly to ensure that members of the military are never again sent into harm’s way without a plan for winning the fight and caring for those service members when they return home.
Ruben got his start in politics working on ballot initiatives in Phoenix and went on to serve as a Chief of Staff for a member of the Phoenix City Council and Vice Chair of the Arizona Democratic Party.
Ruben was elected to the Arizona House of Representatives in 2010 where he eventually served as Minority Leader until 2014. While serving in the State House, Ruben led the fight for Medicaid expansion in Arizona and securing in-state tuition for veterans. He was also the leading voice against far-right Republicans and the extreme legislation they introduced to curb voting rights in Arizona.
Ruben resigned from the State House in order to run for Congress in 2014 where he won a five-way primary with nearly half the vote. He has been elected several times since and is running for re-election in Arizona’s new 3rd Congressional District.
Ruben Gallego lives in Phoenix with his wife Sydney and son Michael.