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Sergio Muñoz, Jr. continues momentum, draws big local support, raises about $100,000 at December 21 event

 

Sen. Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa, D-McAllen, featured left, has announced that he will be soon be posting key dates on his legislative calendar that will allow his constituents to began shaping legislative priorities in the coming year that will result in bills being filed when the Texas Legislature returns to work in January 2011. "I will be busy working on interim committee assignments and reviewing state agency efficiency reports as a member of the Texas Sunset Commission," said Hinojosa. "We are just over a year away from the start of the 82nd Legislative Session, and already ideas for legislation are starting to trickle in to my office. My offices will be working hard to prepare for another successful session in 2011." He invited constituents to contact him and his staff with any ideas they have regarding proposed legislation or issues facing the state agencies under Sunset Review. Hinojosa and his staff may be reached at 512/463-0120. Hinojosa is featured here during a major gathering of the U.S. 281 Coalition during a Tuesday, December 15 session at the McAllen County Club. Hinojosa and Deirdre Delisi, the chairwoman of the Texas Transportation Commission, were honored by the coalition for their vital work in helping secure $114.5 million during the 2009 legislative session for major improvements along U.S. 281. Featured, from left: Sen. Hinojosa; Rep. Verónica Gonzáles, D-McAllen; Texas Transportation Commission Chairwoman Delisi; and Hidalgo County Judge René A. Ramírez.  

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The state representative campaign for Sergio Muñoz, Jr. (featured second from right) on Monday, December 21, drew big names and generous contributions from House District 36 constituents during a fundraiser held that evening at Balli’s Social & Event Center in Mission. Almost 150 supporters, including Mission Mayor Norberto Salinas, Pharr Mayor Mayor Leo "Polo" Palacios, and Hidalgo City Commissioner Guillermo Ramírez, joined Muñoz, a Democrat, and his family during the rally. "Sergio will be the kind of person who will know what to do in the Texas Legislature, who will be able to withstand the pressure of the lobbyists in Austin," said the Mission mayor. "Sergio is known for his good family values that we hold so close, especially in the Mexican American community. He will be able to take care of our needs." Muñoz, Jr. is seeking the March 2, 2010 Democratic Party primary nomination. From left are: former Rep. Sergio Muñoz, Sr.; Mission Mayor Norberto Salinas; Julio Cerda, Mission city manager; Sergio Muñoz, Jr.; and former Rep. Roberto Gutiérrez, D-McAllen. See lead story in this posting. 

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Former Hidalgo County Judge Eloy Pulido, featured center, on Wednesday, December 23, announced his plan to seek a second four-year term as Hidalgo County Judge. Pulido, who served from 1998 to 2002, said his campaign will also incorporate a push to encourage Hidalgo County residents to fill out and return questionnaires they will soon be receiving from the U.S. Census Bureau in order to help generate millions of dollars in additional federal and state funding for a wide array of programs and projects in Hidalgo County. Pulido, who has family members who are well known in the area, said he will work with top musicians to get the word out at concerts and dances about the need for residents to participate in the census, which begins in a matter of weeks. Featured at his announcement are, from left: nephew Bobby Pulido; Michael Cano, who was recently appointed to the board of directors for the Hidalgo County Regional Mobility Authority; former County Judge Pulido; Pharr Mayor Leopoldo "Polo" Palacios; and brother Roberto Pulido. Eloy Pulido maintains a website at http://www.EloyforCountyJudge.com 

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Hidalgo County Precinct 2 Commissioner Héctor “Tito”  Palacios, featured left, on Tuesday, December 22,  unveiled plans and broke ground in San Juan for what will become the county’s first "green"-minded building, which promotes the protection of the environment. “Precinct 2 is committed to providing high-quality services to our residents, and having this building along with our other two community resource centers near where people live and work helps us to bring county government to the people. We are also working with the youth in our communities to educate them, get them ready for post-secondary education and the workforce. Having the energy of PSJA ISD next door will be good for everybody. I feel strongly that this is not just another building, but a commitment to learning and growing smartly,” said Commissioner Palacios. Wind turbines, solar panels, LED solar lighting, insulated concrete form exterior wall construction and several other exterior and interior green building components will respect not only the environment, but also taxpayer funds, because green buildings are shown to save on energy costs in the long term. Featured, from left: Commissioner Palacios; Rubén Cavazos, project manager for D. Wilson Construction Co.; and Pharr Mayor Leopoldo “Polo” Palacios. See story later in this posting. 

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The Hidalgo County District Clerk staff, led by District Clerk Laura Hinojosa, featured front row to the right, helping hold up check, on Tuesday, December 22, presented a contribution of $2,500 to the Palm Valley Animal  Center as part of their Blues for Bucks Workplace Fundraising Campaign to benefit local charitable organizations. The Palm Valley Animal Center is a private, non-profit, open-door animal welfare agency serving the needs of animals, pet owners and the community at large and is the only animal shelter serving Hidalgo County. “Our staff is pleased to be able to give back to the community through our workplace fundraising campaign. Although our staff contributions are small, we recognize their significant affect on many of the nonprofit organizations that rely solely on the local support of their community,” said Hinojosa. See story later in this posting. 

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Sergio Muñoz, Jr. says he will work closely with new UTPA president on key legislation

Sen. Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa, D-McAllen, receives two Senate proclamations from his colleague, Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, establishing a scholarship in his honor at the University of Texas-Pan American and honoring the longtime state lawmaker for his many contributions to his constituents and all Texans.  The presentations, including a proclamation from the McAllen City Commission, were made on Thursday, October 15, at La Quinta Mazatlán in McAllen as part of an appreciation event hosted on his behalf by the McAllen City Commission, the McAllen Public Utilities Board, the McAllen Economic Development Corporation, and the McAllen Chamber of Commerce. See story later in this posting entitled Best of the Texas Legislature – 2009. 

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Former Rep. Roberto Gutiérrez, D-McAllen, featured right, is congratulated by Sen. Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa, D-McAllen, on Thursday, October 15, for Gutiérrez’ role in 2001 in passing legislation that allows the University of Texas-Pan American to establish the Starr County Upper-Level Center in Rio Grande City. Earlier that day, Gutiérrez, along with other area legislators and city and county officials, participated in the groundbreaking ceremony for the planned facility. When complete, this structure will provide students in the western Rio Grande Valley with a state-of-the-art educational center. The new building will have approximately 21,000 square feet of computer labs, classrooms, office space, math and science labs, smart or technology-enhanced classrooms and a resource center. UTPA’s temporary center in Rio Grande City consists of four portable buildings with a total area of approximately 2,000 square feet. See story later in this posting. 

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The Wells Fargo Foundation recently donated $5,000 to South Texas College’s Valley Scholars Program to provide scholarships for deserving students. “STC is a vital part of the Rio Grande Valley community, offering students a solid foundation upon which to build their careers and lives,” said Alma Ortega Johnson, president for the Upper Rio Grande Valley Division of Wells Fargo. “We are proud to increase our support of the program and look forward to seeing the program flourish and grow, especially as more and more families recognize the importance and value of a college education.” Featured, from left: Roberto Gutiérrez, STC fundraising associate; Anahid Petrosian, STC assistant to the vice president for academic affairs; Alma Ortega Johnson, president for the Upper Rio Grande Valley Division of Wells Fargo; and Marie Olivarez, STC Valley Scholars Program coordinator.  See story later in this posting. 

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The University of Texas System Board of Regents on Monday, October 12, named Dr. Robert S. Nelsen as the sole finalist for the presidency of The University of Texas – Pan American. The board announced Nelsen, currently the associate vice president for academic affairs at Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi, after considering recommendations of an advisory committee that reviewed nominations and applications for the position. "The search advisory committee worked diligently to find these exceptional candidates, all of whom possess impressive credentials and experience in administration at leading universities," said Regent Janiece Longoria, a Houston lawyer who is formerly from Pharr. "We are confident Dr. Nelsen has the mix of skills that will make him the right fit to push UT Pan American to the next level of excellence.” Under state law, university governing boards must name finalists for a presidency at least 21 days before making an appointment. In a related development, Sergio Muñoz, Jr., D-Palmview, a Democratic state representative candidate for House District 36, has pledged to work closely with Dr. Robert S. Nelson, to protect and promote the legislative interests of one of South Texas’ largest public higher education systems. "I have some big plans in store in the Texas Legislature for UT-Pan American, South Texas College, and Texas A&M," said Muñoz. "The bottom line is that I won’t be satisfied until the Valley has all of the resources, from undergraduate degrees to law and medical degrees, now available to the people who live in Austin and San Antonio." See lead story later in this posting. 

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