FEATURED, FROM LEFT: Richard Sánchez, Associate Vice President for Governmental Relations, The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, and Verónica Gonzáles, Vice President for Governmental and Community Relations, the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, on Wednesday, December 7, 2016, presented a portrait of the inaugural class of students at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine in Edinburg to Hidalgo County Judge Ramón García and the Hidalgo County Commissioners Court in appreciation for the financial help from the county. The county pledged to support the medical school with annual contributions of $1 million for 10 years, beginning in 2014.
Photograph By EVANA VLECK
Gov. Abbott signs resolution by Rep. Canales, Sen. Hinojosa, and Sen. Lucio, Jr., honoring former Hidalgo County Judge Ramón García
They are political rivals: Gov. Greg Abbott, who is the highest-ranking Republican Party leader in Texas, and former Hidalgo County Judge Ramón García, who for decades has strongly supported the ideals and candidates of the Democratic Party.
But the governor’s respect for García’s personal, professional, public service, and statewide achievements is evidently more important than any philosophical disagreements between the two men.
On Monday, April 19, 2021, the governor approved House Concurrent Resolution 68, authored by Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, and sponsored by Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, and Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr., D-Brownsville, which praised the Valley native because “through his vision, leadership, and expertise, Ramón García has contributed immeasurably to his community, and in so doing, he has earned the lasting respect and appreciation of his fellow citizens.”
A concurrent resolution is a type of legislative measure that requires adoption by both chambers (House of Representatives and Senate) of the Legislature and generally requires action by the governor. A concurrent resolution is used to convey the sentiment of the legislature and may offer a commendation, a memorial, a statement of congratulations, a welcome, or a request for action by another governmental entity.
As author of House Concurrent Resolution 68, Canales is the legislator who filed the bill and guided it through the legislative process (also called the primary author).
As sponsors of House Concurrent Resolution 68, Hinojosa and Lucio are the legislators who guided the bill through the legislative process after the bill was passed to the originating chamber. The sponsor is a member of the opposite chamber of the one in which the bill was filed.
Based on García’s official biography, his life serves as a symbol of generations of South Texans who have risen from humble beginnings – and saw him become “a pillar of our community,” according to U.S. Congressman Vicente González, D-McAllen.
A Valley native, García is the eldest of eight children. He grew up on a little ranch in San Manuel, Texas, where at a young age, his parents taught him the invaluable lesson of hard work. When he was not in school, García spent his days working on farms with his younger siblings to help support the family, picking cotton, watermelons, and anything else that would grow out of the ground. It was in that environment that he developed a heart for helping others.
House Concurrent Resolution 68 is not the first statewide or national legislative acknowledgment of García’s extensive accomplishments.
On Wednesday, March 27, 2019, Congressman Vicente González, on the Floor of the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington, D.C., expressed his respect for García by highlighting García’s career and contributions to the 15th District of Texas, which includes Hidalgo County.
Addressing U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-California, and the rest of the U.S. House of Representatives, González provided a few of the many highlights of García’s public service and professional careers.
“There are many reasons to admire the work of Judge García. I personally thank the Judge for his exemplary work in government, but I most admire his trial and advocacy skills that he’s used to advocate for South Texas,” González said. “He’s challenged the status quo as a litigator and as our county judge to the benefit of South Texans, and it is a privilege to represent hard-working and resilient individuals like him.”
Both men are attorneys by profession.
House Concurrent Resolution 68 by Canales, Hinojosa, and Lucio, Jr., isn’t even the first time García has been recognized at the Texas Capitol in Austin.
On Thursday, April 5, 2007, Rep. Armando “Mando” Martínez, D-Weslaco, passed House Resolution 939, which included the following key points, as of that date, about García’s public service career.
• Elected county judge in 2002, García helped create a number of important new initiatives, including a public defender program, a risk management department, and two additional courts of law; in addition, Judge García was instrumental in Hidalgo County’s successful efforts to obtain four homeland security grants totaling more than $800,000, and his work to restructure the WorkFORCE Solutions Corporation aided area jobseekers and local businesses; and
• In his leadership role on the commissioner’s court, García also oversaw the successful bond election that approved $100 million in funds to provide Hidalgo County with better protection from flooding; other financing measures carried out during his term underwrote a variety of improvements to facilities and infrastructure, including road projects, health department equipment, and the creation of a sheriff’s department substation; moreover, the county moved toward completion of the new Mario Ramírez Juvenile Detention Facility, which will greatly increase its ability to house and rehabilitate young lawbreakers.
But by being a concurrent resolution, this praise of García by Canales/Hinojosa/Lucio, Jr. means the governor placed his signature on the legislative measure, drawing a higher level of attention and prestige to the statewide honor.
House Concurrent Resolution 68 follows:
H.C.R. No. 68
HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION
WHEREAS, The Honorable Ramón García has contributed greatly to his fellow citizens through his long and dedicated service as Hidalgo County judge; and
WHEREAS, A native of McAllen, Mr. García knew from an early age that he wanted to pursue a career in law; after earning his bachelor’s degree from Pan American University in 1970, he graduated with honors from the Bates College of Law at the University of Houston in 1972, passing the State Bar exam that same year; and
WHEREAS, Early in his 40-year career, Mr. García earned a reputation as one of the best criminal defense attorneys in South Texas, and he went on to enjoy equal success as a personal injury attorney; over the years, he has tried more than 200 cases before juries and recovered hundreds of millions of dollars for plaintiffs across Texas; and
WHEREAS, In 2002, Mr. García was elected as Hidalgo County judge, and he donated his entire salary from his first term to charity; he held the position for a total of three terms until his retirement in December 2018, making him the longest-serving county judge in the county’s history; over the course of his tenure in office, he worked to increase the county’s reserve funds from $710,000 to $38 million, and he also led the effort to build a new Hidalgo County courthouse; and
WHEREAS, Judge García is the recipient of numerous honors, including the Valley Hispanic Award from The University of Texas-Pan American Library, the Golden Eagle Award from the McAllen Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Hispanic Exemplary Award from El Americano News, the Governor’s Humanitarian Achievement Award from Rio Grande Valley Humanities, and the Pillars of Success Award from The University of Texas-Pan American; in 2019, the law library of the new Hidalgo County Courthouse was dedicated in his honor; and
WHEREAS, Through his vision, leadership, and expertise, Ramón García has contributed immeasurably to his community, and in so doing, he has earned the lasting respect and appreciation of his fellow citizens; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That the 87th Legislature of the State of Texas hereby commend Ramón García for his service as Hidalgo County judge and extend to him sincere best wishes for the future; and, be it further
RESOLVED, That an official copy of this resolution, be prepared for Mr. García as an expression of high regard by the Texas House of Representatives and Senate.
ANALI ALANIS, ASSISTANT CITY MANAGER FOR PHARR, REAPPOINTED BY GOV. ABBOTT TO TEXAS MUNICIPAL RETIREMENT BOARD OF TRUSTEES
Governor Greg Abbott on Wednesday, April 14, 2021, reappointed Anali Alanis, Assistant City Manager for Pharr, to the Texas Municipal Retirement System Board of Trustees for a term that will expire on Monday, February 1, 2027.
The board oversees the Texas Municipal Retirement System, which is responsible for providing a secure retirement benefit plan for eligible employees of more than 800 cities.
As an Assistant City Manager for Pharr, with an estimated population of 80,000 residents, she oversees an employee base of approximately 781 individuals. With more than a decade of successful municipal experience, she manages eight departments out of 19 departments within the city.
Her role entails coordinating the policies and programs of a number of municipal departments, including Police, Fire, Innovation & Technology, Human Resources, and others. She serves as the immediate past chairperson of the Rio Grande Valley Human Resources Consortium and a member of the International City/County Management Association.
Through the city, she serves as Director for the Quality Texas Foundation Board of Directors, a statewide organization that assists both private and public entities to improve their organizational performance and efficacy, in order to become a nationally competitive Malcom Baldrige National Quality Award recipient.
On Tuesday, February 4, 2020, Abbott first appointed her to serve on the Texas Municipal Retirement System Board of Trustees, where she currently serves as the Chair of the budget and compensation committee.
Alanis received an Associates of Arts in Business Administration and a Bachelor of Applied Technology Management from South Texas College in McAllen and a Master of Public Affairs from The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.
This appointment is subject to Senate confirmation.
GOV. ABBOTT ISSUES PROCLAMATION RECOGNIZING APRIL 2021 AT SEXUAL ASSAULT AWARENESS MONTH
Gov. Greg Abbott on Thursday, April 8, 2021,issued a proclamation recognizing April 2021 as Sexual Assault Awareness Month in Texas. This month is a time for Texans to come together to build awareness around the issue of sexual assault and to recognize the courage of survivors throughout our nation and across the Lone Star State.
Texans are encouraged to honor survivors as the State of Texas continues its mission to encourage healing and empowerment for survivors of sexual violence. Texans can also use the hashtag
#TXSexualAssaultAwarenessMonth to share their support on social media.
“Texans are not overcome when faced with adversity; together, we can protect the vulnerable, help victims find healing, and bring offenders to justice,” reads the governor’s proclamation. “Our state is extremely grateful for the courage shown by survivors, who bravely share their stories and lend their voices to this cause, as well as for the many law enforcement officers, prosecutors, judges, and organizations like the Governor’s Sexual Assault Survivors’ Task Force, who continue to fight for the safety of all Texans. At this time, I encourage all Texans to join me in renewing our commitment to ending sexual assault and empowering survivors.”
The Governor’s Sexual Assault Survivors’ Task Force (SASTF) was established in 2019 to ensure a survivor-centered, trauma-informed, collaborative and coordinated response to sexual violence experienced by adults and children across the state.
The SASTF brings together various professionals and survivors who are singularly focused on delivering critical system improvements on behalf of Texas sexual assault survivors.
For more on this and other Texas legislative news stories that affect the Rio Grande Valley metropolitan region, please log on to Titans of the Texas Legislature (TitansoftheTexasLegislature.com).