FEATURED: Adam Hinojosa, R-Corpus Christi, and Morgan LaMantia, D-South Padre Island. Both candidates are seeking election to succeed longtime Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr. D-Brownsville, in Senate District 27, which includes Bee, Cameron, San Patricio, Kleberg, Kenedy, Willacy, and parts of Nueces and Hidalgo counties.
Photograph Courtesy, Respectively, ADAM HINOJOSA, MORGAN LAMANTIA
Videotaped forum – available on Futuro RGV’s Facebook – allows Senate District 27 voters to learn about Adam Hinojosa, R-Corpus Christi, and Morgan LaMantia, D-South Padre Island, in race to succeed retiring Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr., D-Brownsville
By DAVID A. DÍAZ
One of the more highly-watched Texas senate races is taking place in the Rio Grande Valley, as Adam Hinojosa, R-Corpus Christi, and Morgan LaMantia, D-South Padre Island, are approaching the final weeks of their campaign to succeed retiring Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr. D-Brownsville.
The winner would be sworn into office at the Texas Capitol in Austin on the opening day of the 88th Texas Legislature, which will take place on Tuesday, January 10, 2023.
The 88th Texas Legislature will meet for 140 days.
Election Day throughout Texas – which will include the local, county, regional and statewide races, including for governor and lt. governor – is Tuesday, November 8, 2022.
Early voting in person will begin on Monday, October 24, 2022 through Friday, November 4, 2022.
The last day for registered voters to request a mail-in ballot from their respective county election department is Friday, October 28, 2022.
To vote by mail in Texas, a person must meet one of the following requirements:
• 65 years of age or older on Election Day;
• Expecting to give birth within three weeks before or after Election Day;
• Absent from the county of registration during the Early Voting period and on Election Day;
• Civilly committed under Chapter 841 of the Texas Health and Safety Code; or
• Confined in jail, but otherwise eligible.
The forum between Hinojosa and Morgan LaMantia took place on Saturday, September 17, 2022, and was hosted by the Monitor newspaper at its facility in McAllen.
Naxiely López-Puente, the newspaper’s Metro Editor, and fellow Monitor journalist Matt Wilson, served as moderators.
Futuro RGV, League of Women Voters of Rio Grande Valley, and McAllen Citizen League were partners in organizing the forum.
Senate District 27 includes Bee, Cameron, San Patricio, Kleberg, Kenedy, Willacy, and parts of Nueces and Hidalgo counties.
Among the population centers in Senate District 27 are Alamo, Beeville, Brownsville, Combes, Donna, Harlingen, Kingsville, Los Fresnos, Los Indios, Mercedes, Port Aransas, Port Isabel, Portland, Progreso, Rancho Viejo, Raymondville, San Benito, San Juan, South Padre Island, Sinton, Taft, and Weslaco.
The entire forum – about 50 minutes in length – is available online at:
The questions presented to Hinojosa and López-Puente were, in the following order:
What would be your top three priorities be if voters choose you in November?
If elected, what would be the first piece of legislation that you would author/sponsor?
During the 87th Texas regular and special sessions (in 2021), there were a lot of controversies around Senate Bill 1, the bill that made changes to Texas’ election law. Republicans argued that Senate Bill 1 was needed to ensure the integrity of the elections. Democrats, on the other hand, countered that the bill is nothing but a voter suppression bill. What is your position on Senate Bill 1?
In the winter of 2021, Texas faced an unprecedented freeze, which was followed by this failure of our state’s electrical grid. Do you think the issues with our electrical grid have been addressed? If not, what do you think needs to be fixed?
There are estimates that Texas has spent between $10 million to $12 million busing (undocumented) migrants to sanctuary cities. What are your thoughts on that?
The summer, the U.S. inflation rate hit eight percent. It was a jarring spike. It affects everything from food, clothing, housing. What can the Legislature do to mitigate (reduce) the impact of inflation on Texas residents? If elected, what will you do to address inflation?
Our state and nation are plagued by labor shortages. We see it when we go eat at restaurants, we see it in schools, a lack of bus drivers, teachers. Why do you think that is and what policies would you support to address these shortages?
Our kindergarten to 12th grade education system is on the verge of a crisis. Lots of teachers are leaving the profession. They are talking about the pandemic, modern day stresses of being a teacher. If elected, what would you do to address teachers’ concerns and ensure that our schools have enough teachers to provide education to our children?
Tuition costs for higher education continue to rise, and they are outpacing inflation. If elected, what would your plan be to address the increasing for higher education?
Gov. (Greg) Abb0tt has signed a controversial bill that prescribes how Texas teachers can in the classroom talk about current events and America’s history of racism. His signature makes Texas one of a handful of states across the country that have passed similar legislation, which aims to ban the teaching of so-called critical race theory in public school classrooms. What are your thoughts on critical race theory and the bill signed by the governor?
Texas has the highest uninsured rate in the country at 18.4 percent (without health insurance). There are approximately 5.4 million people who are uninsured in the state. If elected, what would you do to address the high uninsured rate?
The Texas Heartbeat Bill (Senate Bill 8), passed this past legislation session (in 2021), restricted abortions the the heartbeat is detected, and created an avenue for private individual rights of action against health providers and anyone providing assistance in an abortion. How would you have voted on that bill?
Our nation faces a severe nursing shortage which has only been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. One recent study found that about a third of nurses are planning to leave the field, primarily because of burnout. Hospitals are struggling to staff COVID-19 units and to provide care for routine health issues like heart attacks, car accidents, and elective surgeries. What can be done to address the nursing shortage in Texas?
Every issue is becoming increasingly polarized. It feels like we’re fighting about everything in this country. The last legislative session (in 2021) was one of the most acrimonious (bitter) in recent history. I know it made for very entertaining reading. I don’t know if it was efficient. What do you think you would do to lower the temperature up there (Texas Legislature) because it feels like that pot in Austin might be about to boil over?
Is there anything you have in common with the other party that you would be willing to work together across aisle?
Both candidates provided opening statements and closing remarks during the forum. For their opening comments, they were asked the following question:
“Besides the people in District 27, what do you see as the biggest single asset and the single biggest concern in the area, and how would you address that concern?”
My name is Adam Hinojosa, the Republican nominee for State Senate in District 27. I was born in Brownsville, Texas, and I have lived and worked my entire life in this district.
Currently, I live in Corpus Christi, Texas, which is part of the district all the way up through Bee County, by the way. I live there with my wife and four beautiful children, ages 2 to 15. I’m a small business owner with my two brothers. We own businesses in retail, restaurants and some real estate.
I think that District 27 has tremendous economic opportunity, and that is one of its biggest assets. This district now combines the entire South Texas coast incorporating our two major (sea)ports, our farming and ranching industries, our manufacturing. We have so many great small businesses, and there is tremendous economic opportunity, but one of our greatest challenges is bad governmental policy in Washington, D.C.
The refusal to secure our border, the refusal to protect our children from sexualization and indoctrination in our schools, and the overspending and over-taxation that has created massive inflation and skyrocketing prices on everything.
I want to go to the Texas Senate because I want to work with our Texas leaders to secure our border, to protect our children, and to ensure that Texas remains the number one state to open and operate your small business. I ask for your vote so that I can go up there and get that work done so I can work for you.
D-SOUTH PADRE ISLAND
Your question acknowledges that our greatest assets is our people. So I would say our next greatest asset is one that supports our people. For me, that’s our public education system.
And to have a good education system, there’s two main components, and that’s the community that supports it and our professional public teachers.
We see industries growing up all around us. Space exploration, renewable energy, industry. We have modern agriculture, farming and food production. What all those industries have in common is that they require a skilled and educated workforce.
We also have one of the youngest workforces in the state of Texas, which means we’re going to have the future workforce for the entire state. So if we have that right, good education for our kids and if we’re able to train them to the highest level possible, we know that they will get those higher paying jobs.
You also asked about our greatest challenge, and I think that relates to our greatest asset, and that goes to teacher burnout, the learning gap, and also the fractionalization that we’re seeing in politics today. The partisanship fights.
What we need are leaders to come together, work together, to solve the problems in front of us, using common sense, not getting on soap boxes. And my agenda would be to work with Democrats and Republicans to fully fund our public schools, raise teacher pay, stop the pressureteacher tests, make sure our kids are educated so we can have strong working families that become the next and future leaders of our state.
My name is Adam Hinojosa, the Republican nominee for State Senate.
I trained in the policy academy. I’m a father of four beautiful children. I’m a business owner. So I understand the needs of our community. I was born in Brownsville, Texas. I have family all throughout the Rio Grande Valley. I’ve lived and worked my entire life in this district, so I understand our community. I’m well-entrenched in this entire region. And I understand our culture. So I want to go to Austin to fight for us.
I am one of you. I’m not an out-of-touch multi-millionaire. I’m a small business owner. I’m a family man, and we have real concerns. We have to get back to common sense. We’ve got to acknowledge that we’ve gone so far away from our principles: God. Family. Country.
We’ve got support our law enforcement. We’ve got to secure our border. We’ve got to fight to protect our children, and I feel that I am best qualified to go do that. I’m humbly asking for your support and your vote. Send me to Austin so I can go fight for you.
God bless you, and God bless the great state of Texas.
As I travel throughout this district, in talking with our neighbors, our businesses,our friends and family, it’s clear that they are frustrated with politics today, frustrated with the gridlock, frustrated with the arguing.
I think that’s what I bring that’s different. I’m a business woman. I come from a business background, and know what it takes to support 1,200 jobs. That’s 1,200 jobs with healthcare. When I talk about healthcare, it’s not figurative. I have hands-on experience in devising a company plan that has covered preventative issues 100 percent, lowered cost, and lower (health insurance) premiums, and given my(inaudible) access to a doctor, and helped them given the tools to manage those chronic diseases.
Having that preventative care is what is most important. The result becomes better care and lower premiums.
I’m not your typical politician. I like to get things done, and I know how to see it through.
As my grandfather taught me when he started the Star Scholarship program and as he built this company from the ground up, if you just give us the opportunity, if you just the tools we need, we will show what we can do, because South Texas is going to be the future of this state.
We have the strong South Texas families that are going to be the next leaders of this state. I want to go to Austin to be able to support those families, to be able to make sure we get what we need so we can show the rest of the state how great we are, and the opportunities that we are going to be able to accomplish.
My name is Morgan LaMantia, running for State Senate. Please remember to go out and vote, and thank you so much for your time.
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).