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      Valley native officially enters U.S. Senate race

      Ricardo Sanchez File Photo

      Retired Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez has officially entered the race for the United States Senate.

      The Starr County native made the announcement on Wednesday morning.

      Sanchez is running as a Democrat and seeking to take over the seat being vacated by Republican U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison.

      The 59-year-old Sanchez currently lives in San Antonio but is from the Rio Grande Valley.

      Sancehz was the former commander of coalition forces in Iraq. An Army report exonerated Sanchez of wrongdoing in the Abu Ghraib scandal.

      Sanchez released the following statement on Wednesday morning: I want to speak plainly about why I am running. Here in Texas, too many families are struggling to get ahead. Jobs are hard to find, our schools simply aren TMt good enough and increasing food and gas prices are breaking household budgets. We need to make sure small businesses that drive the economy can grow and prosper. Unfortunately, Washington is mostly focused on scoring partisan points and winning elections. I believe Texas needs a strong, independent voice to address the enormous challenges we are facing -- leadership that focuses on results rather than politics. I TMve spent my entire career serving our country. I can think of no better way to continue my record of public service than to represent Texas in the Senate. Today I filed the paperwork necessary to build a campaign to help change the political environment in Washington, and I will make a more formal announcement in the coming weeks. As long as exploiting political opportunity for a few in Washington is more important than protecting and expanding opportunity for all, we will not achieve our God-given rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I believe that men and women of good character must work together to build and grow a nation that is secure and at peace and remains dedicated to democratic ideals.