Sunday, October 05, 2014

"Just a Thought" Column continues in La Prensa of SA, 10-5

Just a Thought: Hispanic Candidates pt. 3
By Steve Walker

As we continue to get closer to the November election, my third and final column on Hispanic candidates seems appropriate.

There is one week left in celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month and now is the time to address the issue. Numerous local Hispanic candidates have put themselves on the line by putting their name on the ballot to commit to public service in San Antonio.

Recently I wrote about the increase of already elected Hispanic female judges and again in a second column on the number of Hispanics, both male and female, running for judgeships in Bexar County.

Obviously other Hispanics are running for other offices as well, as many are running for re-election having served as many as 10 years in office.

Many San Antonio voters are familiar with the historic precedent that Chief Justice of the 4th Court of Appeals Alma Lopez set some years ago winning the seat and being the first Hispanic female to do so in the country.

Precinct 2 County Commissioner Paul Elizondo is currently running for his 9th consecutive term and is expected to win easily. As a former school teacher like myself, he is often considered an icon. The Commissioner’s Court building is named after him.

Commissioner Precinct 1 Chico Rodriguez is serving his third term, representing the Southside. His office ironically is down the street from McCollum High School where I taught for nine years. His brother Ciro Rodriguez served as a Congressman for a number of years and will be seated as a Southside Justice of the Peace in January.

While I served on a tour in the Army Public affairs office at the Pentagon as a Reservist, during my tenure in Harlandale ISD, the Congressman graciously procured a Congressional tour of the White House for me run by the Secret Service. That was awesome.

Another elected official, Senator Carlos Uresti now represents most of that area and additional counties. Having taught his son, Michael at McCollum, I have been privileged to have known him for a number of years.  He recruited me as a member of VFW Post 9186. We were also members of the Bexar County DemVets years ago.

Like the Rodriguez brothers, Senator Uresti’s older brother, Albert serves as the Bexar County Tax Assessor/Collector.

Bexar County also has a number of Hispanics who serve in the legislature. State Reps Jose Menendez, Trey Martinez Fischer, Mike Villarreal, Joe Farias, and Justin Rodriguez are all unopposed on the ballot while Philip Cortez is being challenged by Rick Galindo. I had the pleasure to teach the son of Rep. Joe Farias, Jaime, at McCollum and worked with his wife Angie there at the same time. He also served as a School Board Member in Harlandale while I was there.

Lastly, my own State Senator, Leticia van de Putte has a good chance in November to become the first Hispanic female to be elected Lt. Governor of the State of Texas. Van de Putte currently serves as the Senate Chair of the Veteran’s Committee. I have testified before that committee related to college tuition for veterans as well as campaigned with her and her mother knocking on doors seeking votes.

Come November we will see whether or not we have more representation by Hispanics for not just Hispanics, but for all Bexar County residents.

As I always, I write “Just a Thought.”

Steve Walker is a Vietnam Veteran, former Journalist and Justice of the Peace

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