AUSTIN, Texas -- The Democratic candidate in the race to replace longtime Republican Congressman Lamar Smith has called immigration "one of the defining issues of our time."

Responding to news that the U.S. House will vote on competing immigration bills next week, Joseph Kopser said real immigration reform is needed quickly.

“Let's make a path to legalization and then citizenship so that we can not only do what's right by families and the American people, but let's add new workers to the American workforce because as I travel around the ten counties of this district, there are help wanted signs that are fading in the sun and we need more people in this country to do that," Kopser said.

Kopser is an army veteran and tech entrepreneur. He's up against Chip Roy, a former senior staffer for Sen. Ted Cruz, in November.

The district is drawn to ensure smooth sailing for Republicans. But Kopser believes his biography can get GOP voters and Republican-leaning Independents tired of President Donald Trump to cross-over.

“Where I believe we have more in common is issues of jobs and education,” Kopser said. “And everywhere I travel in the district, whether it's Democrats, Republicans or Independents, they respond to what's best for them, their kids and their future and that's what I want to keep talking about.”

Click the video link above to watch Kopser’s full interview including his push for jobs and health care for all.