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Juez Susan Criss archivo para la Corte Suprema de Tejas, dice ella que va traer diversidad, justicia para todos los Tejanos


Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, featured second from right in this file photo, is hoping to get a new, four-year term to the Texas Senate if no one files against him by 5 p.m. Wednesday, January 2, the deadline for candidates who want to place their names on the ballot for the March 4 party primaries in Texas. As of Thursday, December 27, the veteran legislator, whose Senate District 20 includes Edinburg, remained unopposed, according to the Texas Democratic Party. Only those candidates whose constituency covers multiple counties are required to file with the Texas Democratic Party. If Hinojosa draws no opponents, his new four-year term will begin in January 2009. His district includes part of Hidalgo County, along with all of Brooks, Jim Wells, and Nueces counties. Local legislative races also up for grabs that affect Edinburg include the expected battle between two Democrats – Rep. Aaron Peña, D-Edinburg, and Eddie Sáenz – and next fall’s upcoming contest between Rep. Verónica Gonzáles, D-McAllen, and Javier Villalobos, a Republican. Gonzáles’ House District 41 includes southwest Edinburg.



Edinburg High School’s twin brother athletes Roberto (featured left) and Ricardo Vergara, 17, were honored recently by the Edinburg school board with a resolution recognizing their many accomplishments in race walking. Both young men are members of the South Texas Walking Club which promotes health and fitness through competitive walking. In addition to be outstanding in their academics, the brothers also have built international athletic reputations. Along with the Edinburg school board members featured in this portrait, the two brothers also were joined by their former elementary school – and now Edinburg High School – principal, Maria Luisa Guerra, shown here in the first row, second from right. A.C. Jaime, featured third row, first on left, has been the coach and mentor for the Vergara brothers. See story later in this posting.

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Judge Susan Criss files for Texas Supreme Court, says she will bring diversity, justice for all Texans


Former Hidalgo County Judge Ramón García takes his oath of office on Thursday, December 13, to become the newest member of the Hidalgo County Regional Mobility Authority, which met in Weslaco. “While I was county judge (2003-2006), I quickly realized that there are two very important issues that need to be addressed in this county: one was transportation, the other was drainage, not necessarily in that order,” he recalled. “To be able to serve on a board that I consider to be a meaningful board, I welcome that opportunity.” His oath of office was administered by Justice of the Peace Luis Garza of Mission. See story later in this posting.



South Texas College has earned a financial reporting award from North American government group for fourth consecutive year. From left are Rubén Moreno, CPA and partner with Long Chilton, LLP of McAllen; Diana Peña, vice president for finance and administrative services for STC; Irene García, chair of the South Texas College Board of Trustees; and Mary Elizondo, STC Business Office comptroller. See story later in this posting.



Rep. Juan García, III, D-Corpus Christi, featured center at the front podium of the House of Representatives last January in this file photo, is calling on a Texas to play a bigger role in deciding who the nominees will be for president. ” Last April I was part of an overwhelming majority of the State House of Representatives who voted to move our primary to the first Tuesday in February, giving Texans a say in who our next President will be,” García said. “However, the measure died in the Senate, with members arguing that the change would create a burden on election officials, who would have to conform to new dates (registration deadlines, sending new registration cards, filing dates for candidates, etc.), several of which would fall over the holidays.” García elaborates on his thoughts in his essay, featured later in this posting.

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Edinburg school board, by a 4-3 margin, increases power, changes election date from May to November


Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy, D-Rhode Island, a nephew of President Kennedy and the youngest member of the Kennedy family to be elected to office, on Monday, December 10, held himself out as an example of how mental health illnesses afflict everyone, including himself, as the keynote speaker for the ribbon-cutting of $53 million Renaissance Behavioral Center in Edinburg. Most Americans don’t have insurance to get the type of treatment Kennedy received, he noted, “and that, my friends, is a real tragedy, and that is why I am so committed to making sure we get insurance coverage for mental health.” See story later in this posting.



Dolia González of Edinburg, mother of American war hero Freddy González, who was killed in action during the Vietnam War, is featured here during the October 2003 grand opening of the Alfredo Gonzalez Veterans Home in McAllen, named in honor of her son. Last spring, the Texas Legislature voted to posthumously bestow the Texas Legislative Medal of Honor, but, according to a recent news report in the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram, Gov. Rick Perry hasn’t found the time yet to hold the major ceremony that has come to the previous recipient’s of the state’s highest award for valor in war time. The story is available at:



A simple majority of the Edinburg school board on Tuesday, December 11, agreed with concerns raised by Board Secretary Ciro Treviño, featured right, who was up for reelection next May, and approved a measure that changes the election date to November 2008, and extends the length of the terms of all board members to four years, from the current three-year length. Fellow trustee Robert Peña, Jr., featured left, disagreed, saying area voters, not the Legislature, should have the final say on whether the local school board trustees can make such dramatic changes in their power and election date. A new state law is behind the growing controvery. See story later in this posting.



Democratic Texas House challenger Eddie Sáenz, featured centure, is calling on his opponent, Rep. Aaron Peña, D-Edinburg, to forcefully reject a proposal put forward by Peña’s political allies in Austin to impose the state’s sales tax on basic food items, visits to doctors, hospital stays, medicines for senior citizens, professional realtors, and a long list of other services. “This plan by my opponent’s allies would raise taxes on every family and small business in our community and push our public schools to the brink of bankruptcy,” Sáenz said. “For once, I hope my opponent will stand up for his constituents against these typical politicians in Austin who bankroll his political career.” Sáenz said a plan unveiled on December 5 by Rep. Phil King, R-Weatherford, a key lieutenant of Texas House Speaker Tom Craddick, R-Midland, and other Austin leaders supported by Peña, would impose at least $5.2 billion a year in new taxes, according to an initial analysis. See story later in this posting.

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Texas Supreme Court candidate Susan Criss says UT System should build law school in the Valley


Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, featured here on Tuesday, November 27, after endorsing the reelection of Rep. Verónica Gonzáles, D-McAllen, has been appointed to the Joint Interim Committee on State Water Funding by Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst. The legislative committee will focus on key issues for state water funding for future planning projects. The committee was created as part of SB 3, a comprehensive statewide water bill that was passed during the last legislative session. Hinojosa said water will remain a top issue for Texas for many generations to come. “SB 3 was a key piece of legislation for the future of water use in Texas,” Hinojosa said. “I look forward to working with the committee on one of the state’s most important natural resources.” While it appears that Hinojosa may not draw an opponent for his Texas Senate seat, Gonzáles is facing a challenge from fellow McAllen attorney Javier Villalobos, who is seeking the Republican Party nomination. Gonzáles laid out her platform during her campaign rally, held in McAllen. See story about her political rally, along with a transcript of her speech, later in this posting



Two of the area’s more well-known political leaders, La Joya Mayor Billy Leo, featured left, and Rep. Aaron Peña, D-Edinburg, strike a pose for a portrait shot during the November 27 campaign kick-off of Rep. Verónica Gonzáles, D-McAllen. Although the two men share the Democratic Party designation, Leo favors the election of a Democrat to be Speaker of the House of Representatives in Austin in January 2009, while Peña has pledged his support to the incumbent Speaker of the House, Tom Craddick, a Republican from Midland. The Speaker of the House is arguably the most powerful position in the Texas Legislature, with the power of life and death over all measures considered in the 150-member House of Representatives. The speaker is elected every two years by the House members. Peña’s opponent for the March 4 Democratic Party primary nomination is Eddie Sáenz, also of Edinburg, who has promised to vote for a Democrat for Speaker if Sáenz defeats Peña. See story on Peña filing for reelection and story on Sáenz opposing a voter I.D. bill, both included later in this posting.



Stephen López of Edinburg belts out a patriotic song on Tuesday, November 27, with an image of Rep. Verónica Gonzáles, D-McAllen, appearing to look on in approval. López, a gifted singer whose talents have put him in demand at political and social gatherings in the Valley, continues to take the region by storm with his dynamic voice and stage presence. This latest performance helped kick off the campaign reelection bid for Gonzáles, who is facing a challenge from fellow McAllen attorney Javier Villalobos, a candidate for the Republican Party nomination.



The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio on Tuesday, October 30, held a formal ceremony to dedicate the Mario E. Ramírez, M.D., Library at the Regional Academic Health Center (RAHC) in Harlingen. Ramírez, who practiced family medicine in Starr County for 43 years, served on the UT System Board of Regents from 1989 to 1995. At its August meeting, the board approved a request by the Health Science Center to name the library for Ramírez. In this portrait, Ramírez, featured left, stands near a plaque that was to be posted outside of the Mario E. Ramírez, M.D., Library at The UT Health Science Center at San Antonio/Regional Academic Health Center/Harlingen Campus. With Ramírez are his wife, Sarah; son, Roberto L. Ramírez; daughter, Patsy Kittleman; and daughter-in-law, Liza Ramírez. See story later in this posting.


Titans of the Texas Legislature