Michelle Vallejo is a small business owner and a fierce community advocate from South Texas.
She comes from a big family of farm workers, immigrants, and entrepreneurs. She believes that everyone, with integrity, hard work & dedication, deserves the opportunity to accomplish their American Dream.
Her parents, Maribel and Daniel, grew up in northern Mexico, from where they would eventually make their way to the Rio Grande Valley in search of opportunity to build a better life for themselves. Growing up, Michelle watched her parents have to work multiple jobs, often living paycheck to paycheck, in order to make ends meet. Her parent’s were successful and launched a business of their own during Michelle’s childhood years.
Along with economic development, Michelle deeply understands the importance of access to affordable healthcare in our country. Her mother, Maribel, passed away in 2010 after fighting Multiple Sclerosis for 15 years. Michelle would often have to travel with her mother, across the border into Mexico, for medical care due to the lack of options in South Texas. That experience has led Michelle to honor her mother’s legacy by fighting for a better future for working class families like hers.
Now, Michelle and her father own and operate Pulga Los Portales, a flea market in Alton. For nearly 25 years, the Pulga has been serving thousands of people weekly and has helped dozens of working-class entrepreneurs start and run their own businesses and provide for their families.
During the pandemic, Michelle saved people’s jobs by adapting to a drive-thru model and keeping the market open. Running Pulga Los Portales and serving the larger community has profoundly defined Michelle and her family values and work ethic to this day.
At the pulga, they like to say, “No somos pulgueros. Somos vecinos,” “We’re not just vendors. We’re neighbors.” It is this proud sense of community and work ethic that Michelle carries in all that she does.
Michelle is a proud product of the public school system in South Texas. She attended Veterans Memorial High School where she participated in student council, drama, debate, golf and the National Hispanic Institute (NHI). Michelle received the “Head of Class” award from the U.S. Border Patrol among many other accolades. Eventually, Michelle made it to Columbia University in New York City where she studied political science and history.
Michelle was the 2022 democratic nominee for TX15. She’s running for Congress to be an advocate for all South Texans, bring down healthcare costs, help small businesses grow, defend our seniors, stand up for our veterans, and to make quality education affordable for all.