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Featured: Janiece Longoria of Houston, a renowned attorney who was born in McAllen and grew up in Pharr, was one of three Texans appointed on Monday, January 23, 2017 by Gov. Greg Abbott to the University of Texas System Board of Regents, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced. If approved by the Texas Senate, she would serve on one of the most powerful state boards, which controls tens of billions of dollars for the UT System, including money for the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley and the School of Medicine campuses in Edinburg. Her term would begin on February 1, 2017 and end on February 1, 2023.

Photograph by: Scott Dalton

Janiece Longoria may soon be joining fellow attorney Ernest Aliseda of McAllen as a current UT System regent with deep roots in the Rio Grande Valley. Aliseda was appointed to a six-year term on the nine-member UT System Board of Regents by Gov. Rick Perry in February 2013. Longoria is a daughter of the late Sen. Raúl Longoria, D-Pharr, who was a civil rights activist in the Texas Legislature, both in the House of Representatives and then in the Senate, where he represented Hidalgo County. The Edinburg Mayor and the Edinburg City Council, along with the Edinburg EDC Board of Directors, lobby the Texas Legislature and the UT System Board of Regents on behalf of the UTRGV and School of Medicine campuses in Edinburg. Agustín García, Jr. is Executive Director for the Edinburg EDC, which is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg Mayor and Edinburg City Council. The Edinburg EDC Board of Directors is comprised of Mayor Richard García as President, Harvey Rodríguez, Jr. as Vice President, Elías Longoria, Jr. as Secretary/Treasurer, and Richard Rupert and Dr. Peter Dabrowski as Members. Agustín García, Jr. and Mayor Richard García are not related.

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Janiece Longoria, renowned Houston attorney who was raised in Hidalgo County, appointed to the UT System Board of Regents, announces Edinburg Economic Development Corporation

By DAVID A. DÍAZ
Legislativemedia@aol.com

Janiece Longoria of Houston, a renowned attorney who was born in McAllen and grew up in Pharr, was one of three Texans appointed on Monday, January 23, 2017 by Gov. Greg Abbott to the University of Texas System Board of Regents, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced.

If approved by the Texas Senate, she would serve on one of the most powerful state boards, which controls tens of billions of dollars for the UT System, including money for the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley and the School of Medicine campuses in Edinburg.

Agustín García, Jr. is Executive Director for the Edinburg EDC, which is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg Mayor and Edinburg City Council.

The Edinburg EDC Board of Directors is comprised of Mayor Richard García as President, Harvey Rodríguez, Jr. as Vice President, Elías Longoria, Jr. as Secretary/Treasurer, and Richard Rupert and Dr. Peter Dabrowski as Members.

Agustín García, Jr. and Mayor Richard García are not related.

The Edinburg Mayor and the Edinburg City Council, along with the Edinburg EDC Board of Directors, lobby the Texas Legislature and the UT System Board of Regents on behalf of the UTRGV and School of Medicine campuses in Edinburg.

Longoria, Rad Weaver of San Antonio and former Sen. Kevin Etlife, R-Tyler, were selected by the governor to succeed Wallace Hall, Brenda Pejovich and Alex Cranberg, whose terms had expired.

Longoria, Weaver and Etlife’s terms would begin on February 1, 2017 and expire on February 1, 2023.

The term for all regents of public universities in Texas is for six years.

Longoria would join fellow attorney Ernest Aliseda of McAllen as a current UT System regent with deep roots in the Rio Grande Valley. Aliseda was appointed to a six-year term on the nine-member UT System Board of Regents by Gov. Rick Perry in February 2013.

Longoria is a daughter of the late Sen. Raúl Longoria, D-Pharr, who was a civil rights activist in the Texas Legislature, both in the House of Representatives and then in the Senate, where he represented Hidalgo County.

Raúl Longoria was elected state representative in 1959, and elected state senator in 1972, before resigning in 1980, following his election as judge of the 139th Judicial District. He served on the bench until 1994, when he retired, according to records by Texas State Cemetery.

For Janiece Longoria, her selection to the UT System Board of Regents would would result in her second term as a regent. On February 1, 2008, she replaced Robert A. Estrada of Ft. Worth, to serve the remainder of his term, which expired on February 1, 2011.

Longoria, in a feature story published on October 9, 2014 by the Texas Medical Center, shared some of her memories of the Valley.

“When I was growing up there in the ‘50s and ‘60s, it was very different from how it appears now,” she recalled. “It was mostly agrarian and there were citrus groves as far as the eye could see. Much of the farmland is now gone, along with the citrus industry. Local-owned restaurants and businesses are now far and few, and the Valley is a bustling region that looks as homogeneous as the rest of the state.”

Longoria also acknowledged her image as a role model, not just for women, but for people from all walks of life.

“When I’m speaking to groups of younger people, I remind them that they are the architects of their future, and that their future is theirs to create I also suggest that they avoid any preconceived idea of what a mentor should look like. A mentor can be either gender, younger or older, and of any race or ethnicity,” she observed. “I have had many in my life, and still value the input that I get today from many people whose ideas I respect. You never know who might give a piece of advice that turns out to be helpful, so it pays to listen carefully to people that cross your path. That has happened throughout my life. There have been, and continue to be, generous people that have come into my life and helped me shape my future. I am very grateful.”

The full interview is available online at: http://www.tmc.edu/news/2014/10/janiece-longoria/

According to the governor’s office:

Longoria is Chairman of the Port of Houston Authority. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of CenterPoint Energy, Superior Energy Services, the M.D. Anderson Board of Visitors, and the Texas Medical Center Board. Formerly, she was a named partner at the law firm of Ogden Gibson Broocks Longoria & Hall LLP in Houston. She is also a former Vice Chairman of The University of Texas System Board of Regents and former board member of The University of Texas Investment Management Company.

Longoria has received the Distinguished Alumnus Award for the University of Texas, the Sandra Day O’Connor Award For Board Excellence, the Female Executive of the Year Award from the Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and has been recognized as a “breakthrough woman” and inducted into the Hall of Fame by the Greater Houston Women’s Chamber of Commerce.

Longoria received a Bachelor of Arts from The University of Texas at Austin and a Juris Doctor from The University of Texas School of Law.

Eltife, who resides in Tyler, is owner of Eltife Properties, Ltd.

He formerly served as Senator for Texas Senate District 1, as the Mayor of Tyler, and on the Tyler City Council. He is also a former gubernatorial appointee to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

During his career in the Texas Senate, he was elected President Pro Tempore and served as Chairman of the Business and Commerce Committee and Administration Committee. He also served as a member of the Senate Committees on Finance, Natural Resources, International Relations, Open Government, Redistricting, and Facilities. He is a director at Citizens 1st Bank and board member of the Tyler Police Foundation.

Eltife has received numerous recognitions, including the Texas Public Policy Foundation Champion of Limited Government Award and the Texas Press Association Friend of the 1st Amendment Award.

Eltife received a Bachelor of Business Administration from The University of Texas at Austin.

Weaver, of San Antonio, is CEO of McCombs Partners.

He was previously appointed by Abbott as presiding officer of the Alamo Regional Mobility Authority.

He is Chairman-Elect of the San Antonio Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank, Chairman of the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce and is a director for several private enterprises including Cox Enterprises. He is also a member of the Young Presidents’ Organization and is a member of several councils and boards for The University of Texas, including the Business School Advisory Council, Development Board and the Chancellor’s Council.

Weaver received a Bachelor of Business Administration from The University of Texas at Austin.

The University of Texas System is one of the largest public university systems in the United States. With 14 institutions and an enrollment of more than 228,000, the UT System confers more than one-third of the state’s undergraduate degrees, educates almost two-thirds of the state’s health care professionals annually and accounts for almost 70 percent of all research funds awarded to public institutions in Texas.

The UT System’s operating budget for FY 2017 is $17.9 billion, including $3 billion in sponsored programs funded by federal, state, local and private sources.

With more than 20,000 faculty – including Nobel laureates and many members of the National Academies – and nearly 80,000 health care professionals, researchers, student advisors and support staff, the UT System is one of the largest employers in the state.

SEN. HINOJOSA APPOINTED TO SENATE SCHOOL FINANCE WORKSHOP

In another development relating to education, Sen. Jane Nelson, Chair of the Senate Committee on Finance, on Monday, March 23, 2017 appointed Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa , D-McAllen, to the School Finance Workgroup.

“Education is the best equalizer. We must give our school children the best resources we can for them to succeed and to simultaneously ensure our state’s future,” Hinojosa said.

The workgroup will submit recommendations to the Committee regarding proposals to replace the school finance funding structure with a less complicated and innovative system that meets the needs of students.

“Our current school finance funding system remains inadequate. We cannot expect to succeed as a state if we do not make smart investments in our students, teachers, and schools,” said Hinojosa, whose Senate District 20 includes Edinburg. “The state’s funding formula fails to provide adequate funding or distribute it fairly among school districts in wealthy and poor areas. Our children and families should not be penalized or restricted because of the neighborhood they live in. Texas must provide an equal playing field to ensure similar access to educational funds for every public school system regardless of wealth or location.”

Nelson, R-Flower Mound, added, “There is no issue more important to the future of our state than public education. We have an opportunity to improve our school finance system without a court order, and this workgroup will recommend ways to make the system less complicated, more innovative and, most importantly, more successful in meeting the needs of students.”

In addition to Hinojosa, the other members of the School Finance Workgroup are Senators Larry Taylor (Chair), Paul Bettencourt, Brian Birdwell, Kelly Hancock, Kel Seliger, and Royce West.

Nelson also created another legislative panel, the Health Care Costs Workgroup, which is responsible for coming up with solutions to pending financial crises in numerous state health care programs.

“Everyone always thinks of Medicaid when we talk about our rising health care costs, but health care for our teachers, state employees and our prison population is also driving up the costs significantly. The numbers are staggering. This workgroup will identify ways to contain these costs, which – if nothing changes – will continue to consume more of the budget and crowd out our ability to meet other needs,” she said.

The Health Care Costs Workgroup features Senators Charles Schwertner (Chair), Joan Huffman, Lois Kolkhorst, Robert Nichols, Carlos Uresti, Kirk Watson, and John Whitmire.

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Jennifer Sáenz contributed to this article. For more information on the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation and the City of Edinburg, please log on to http://edinburgedc.com or to http://www.facebook.com/edinburgedc

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