Progressive Austin Attorney Launches Congressional Campaign to Unseat Corporate-Backed, Climate-Change-Denying Lamar Smith


May 1, 2017

Austin, TX:

Today, Chris Perri, a criminal defense attorney in Austin, announced his run for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Congress (District 21), where Republican Lamar Smith has held the seat since 1987.

After earning his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law in 2005, Perri subsequently earned his master’s degree in economics from the University of Illinois-Chicago. Since 2009, Perri has owned and operated a successful criminal defense firm in Austin. As a community leader, Perri has served as supervising attorney for UT Law’s pro bono Texas Expunction Project since its inception in 2014. The Expunction Project has assisted hundreds of indigent Texans clear wrongful arrests from their criminal backgrounds so that they can better compete on the job market. In 2016, UT’s Texas Law Fellowships program awarded Chris the Excellence in Public Interest Award (EPIA) based on his pro bono work as a private-practicing attorney.

Regarding his decision to run for Congress in 2018, Perri said, “My wife and I are dismayed by the assaults on our basic rights from the current administration. Politicians just aren’t working for the people anymore. Instead, they’re more concerned about getting re-elected and serving their Big Money campaign donors. It’s time to end corruption in politics by electing fresh, progressive candidates who have the passion and energy to make government work for the people.”

Perri said that his campaign priorities are guaranteeing universal, affordable health coverage for all Americans, protecting the environment, reducing income inequality, immigration reform, criminal justice reform, and investing in education. “But the first step is to remove corruption from politics in 2018 by electing progressive candidates,” Perri said. “2018 will be a political revolution whereby waves of voters in districts throughout the country remove career politicians at the state and federal level. We need new, progressive leaders. That’s how we’re going to create real, lasting change.”

Perri plans to lead a grassroots effort to garner community support. He’ll visit voters throughout the district and enlist community experts to inform his policy proposals. “Winning isn’t just about who raises the most money,” he said. “It’s about creating excitement through the message of progress and change. With the tools of social media, we can reach voters without having to buy expensive TV ads. My campaign is about community engagement. We can’t be indifferent to politics any longer. I’m excited about bringing change to Washington, and excitement is contagious.”

Despite District 21 having been a Republican stronghold for the last thirty years, Perri is optimistic about his chances. “As a lifelong Texan, I know that we can move beyond the hateful rhetoric, as there’s plenty of common ground between Texas Democrats and Republicans,” Perri said. “Making government work for the people and obtaining actual benefits from our hard-earned tax dollars — those are bi-partisan goals. And if we focus on what unifies us instead of dividing us, we have a fighting chance.”

Perri released an online YouTube video announcing his candidacy, and his campaign website is located at

Perri will host a campaign launch event on May 17 at Green Pastures in Austin, Texas.