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Edinburg City Attorney Omar Ochoa, champion of open government, to leave position in order to focus more on his successful private legal practice - Omar Ochoa - Titans of the Texas Legislature

FEATURED: Omar Ochoa, who has served as the Edinburg City Attorney for more than five years, will be leaving his position in the near future to dedicate his professional time as founding attorney of the Omar Ochoa Law Firm in McAllen. Reflecting on the longtime city attorney’s tenure, Mayor Ramiro Garza Jr. on Wednesday, April 3, 2024, expressed gratitude to Ochoa for his exemplary service to the city. “Omar’s leadership and legal expertise have been invaluable assets to the City of Edinburg. We are grateful for his unwavering dedication and wish him all the best in his future endeavors. The council will now explore the possibility of transitioning to an in-house full-time attorney, and this matter will be deliberated at our next city council meeting.”



Edinburg City Attorney Omar Ochoa, champion of open government, to leave position to focus more on his successful private legal practice

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Longtime Edinburg City Attorney Omar Ochoa, who has used his extensive legal expertise to provide ongoing reports to the public about state laws and policies that protect the people’s right-to-know about the activities of governments and elected and appointed leaders in Texas, is finishing up his more than five years of public service to focus more on his successful private legal practice.

As the city attorney, he serves as the chief legal advisor to the mayor and city councilmembers, city officials, and all city departments, offices, and advisory boards.

Ochoa’s commitment to government transparency in Texas has established his reputation as a champion of open government, as he has published on a regular basis news stories and sent free-of-charge to area mainstream and social media sites, along with more than 1,000 South Texas leaders, since March 2019.

The State of Texas has many open government laws to help make the work of state and local governments transparent to the government.

The main open government laws are the Texas Public Information Act and the Texas Open Meeting Act.,be%20available%20to%20the%20public

In addition, as city attorney, he has helped lead the city’s lobbying efforts before the Texas Legislature in 2023, 2021, and 2019, helping the mayor, city councilmembers, and state lobby teams secure millions of dollars in state funds for state and city projects in Edinburg.

Ochoa has been an integral part of the City of Edinburg, serving with distinction and commitment.

He was appointed interim city attorney on November 27, 2018, and subsequently assumed the role of permanent city attorney on January 23, 2019.

Following the successful completion of his initial term, Ochoa was reappointed on February 7, 2023.

Roots run deep in Texas

Born and raised in Edinburg, Ochoa’s roots run deep in the community.

A graduate of Edinburg North High School, he went on to earn a business degree, a master’s in accounting, and a law degree from the University of Texas at Austin.

Prior to joining the City of Edinburg, he worked at a prominent law firm in Houston before returning to the Rio Grande Valley in 2018 to establish the Omar Ochoa Law Firm, which is based in the Edinburg-McAllen-Mission metropolitan area of South Texas but practices nationally.

Mayor Ramiro Garza Jr. on Wednesday, April 3, 2024, expressed gratitude to Ochoa for his exemplary service to the city.

“Omar’s leadership and legal expertise have been invaluable assets to the City of Edinburg. We are grateful for his unwavering dedication and wish him all the best in his future endeavors,” Garza said. “The council will now explore the possibility of transitioning to an in-house full-time attorney, and this matter will be deliberated at our next city council meeting.”

Even though he has traveled and lived far away from Edinburg, Ochoa has never forgotten from where he came.

“I have a very special connection to the Rio Grande Valley. I was born and raised here, went to public school here. All along the way, my family was very civically involved (growing up) and (they) are still down here,” he said. “I love the Valley, and it is a very deep part of my personality and it always has been. So I knew I would make it back here at some point in my career. I just didn’t know when or how.”

His father, Joe Ochoa, a pharmacist who was Mayor of Edinburg from 1993 to 2003 and 2006 to 2009, and his mother, Lydia Ochoa, a certified public accountant (CPA), grew up as migrant laborers and went on to receive professional degrees from prestigious universities.

Like many parents in the Rio Grande Valley, they raised their children to value education and hard work.

On December 10, 2022, the Ochoa clan proudly welcomed another prominent South Texas attorney into their family with the marriage of Omar Ochoa and Leah Wise.

“It’s been an honor and a thrill to serve my hometown”

All of his life, Ochoa took his parents’ lessons to heart and excelled in his pursuits in hopes of making his family and community proud.

“It has been an honor and a thrill to serve my hometown and work alongside the dedicated professionals at the City of Edinburg. I am incredibly grateful for the trust placed in me by the mayors and city councilmembers, and for the support I received from the community,” he said. “Serving as city attorney has been a privilege, and I am proud of all that I’ve contributed to the progress of this great city.”

As Ochoa prepares to leave government service, the City of Edinburg will initiate the process of identifying a suitable replacement.

Ochoa will continue to serve until a successor is appointed, ensuring a seamless transition for the city.

A small farewell gathering will be planned to honor Ochoa’s time with the city.

“Although I’m stepping down from this position, I intend to stay engaged in the community and to support Edinburg in any way I can. I also look forward to focusing on my law firm’s growth and contributing to the legal profession,” he said.

Prior to establishing the Omar Ochoa Law Firm in January 2018, Ochoa was an attorney at Susman Godfrey L.L.P. in Houston and Dallas.

He is a trial lawyer highly experienced in a wide range of complex litigation for businesses and individuals, including antitrust, class actions, Qui Tam and whistleblower actions, employment law, and breaches of contract.

He has been recognized nationally for his legal work, including for his role in the recovery of over $1 billion for car buyers who suffered from a global conspiracy within the automotive parts industry.

But his public service achievements on behalf of his hometown – including in the area of open government – bring equal pride and satisfaction as do his many other professional accomplishments.

Edinburg officials and residents are leaders in open government

Edinburg, he emphasizes, has been a leader in open government, going back to the administrations of Edinburg mayors since the early 1990s, beginning with his father, Mayor Joe Ochoa, and continuing with Mayor Richard García, Mayor Richard Molina, and Mayor Ramiro Garza, Jr.

During the past three decades, Edinburg’s city leadership – just like the residents they serve – have been strong supporters of the people’s right to know about what their local city government is doing, he noted.

“From publicizing in advance, then recording, broadcasting, and saving the videos of the public meetings of the Edinburg City Council and its jobs-creation arm, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, to making easily available the full agenda packets of those public sessions, anyone can know what their city government is planning to do, and has done, in the name of its citizens,” he emphasized.

Those government transparency actions were taken by the city’s leadership without being required to do so by any state law, through its website –

– which features the full agenda packets and unedited videos of the Edinburg City Council during its meetings.

The full agenda packets of the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation (EEDC) – which is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council – along with the unedited videos of the EEDC’s meetings, are available at:

“Often, the city’s agenda meeting packets are hundreds of pages in length, but any person can see all of the information and materials that are being reviewed, discussed, and proposed to be acted upon by the mayor and city councilmembers,” Ochoa noted. “Just as important, through the Internet, there is no charge to anyone to access this public information, and without the person who is seeking this information having their identity requested or known.”

As city attorney for Edinburg, Ochoa had provided a wide variety of legal services, such as:

• Serving as chief legal advisor for the City Council, city officials, advisory boards, commissions and staff to protect the interests of the staff and citizens;

• Preparing and reviewing ordinances, resolutions and contracts;

• Advising the city in employment matters and other legal issues;

• Representing the city in civil litigation matters by defending the city in civil lawsuits and prosecuting civil claims;

• Prosecuting misdemeanor and infraction offenses occurring within the jurisdictional limits of the city’s municipal court;

• Issuing training on various rules, laws, and regulation such as open government and city employment policies; and

• Reviewing public information requests and responses.

Ochoa’s open government reports available online

As for his reports on government transparency and open government, those articles are online and may be accessed by taking the headline of each of his reports and place them in the Internet search bar.

Those articles, by headline, are:

• 2023 Local Newspaper Study looks at changing ways that different generations of Americans get their information;

• Congressional debate building over a federal proposal, the “AM for Every Vehicle Act”, as major automakers plan to eliminate AM radio in vehicles in the coming years;

• Birth dates of political candidates, and of all adults with criminal arrests and convictions by Texas entities, would become public record under House Bill 2309 by Rep. Todd Hunter, R-Corpus Christi;

• “Focus report – Topics for the 88th Legislature” provides Texans with easy-to-understand guide to 61 top issues, from abortion to water, facing the Texas Legislature;

• Freedom of Speech and Expression policy at University of Texas Rio Grande Valley and all other UT campuses approved by UT System Board of Regents;

• News media owners and public access groups battle in Congress over proposal Senate bill – S. 673 – also known as the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act;

• Lobby team for 88th Texas Legislature could be selected by Edinburg mayor and city council on Tuesday, October 18, 2022;

• 2022 Barbara Jordan Media Awards winners selected for respectful, accurate portrayal of Texas with disabilities – more than 5.4 million people;

• Misinformation, disinformation and conspiracy theories student on social, global landscapes by the Center for Media Engagement at the University of Texas;

• Prominent media attorney Thomas Williams to highlight Open Government seminar in Edinburg on Monday, June 13 2022;

• “Texas Privacy Act” overturned after judge rules it is an unconstitutional violation of the First Amendment;

• KRGV-TV News named “Finalist for Overall Texas Excellence” by Texas Association of Broadcasters, and earns four other journalism honors;

• “Public Information Act Handbook 2022”, authored by Attorney General Ken Paxton, now available online;

• Texas social media law, promoted by Gov. Abbott, blocked from taking effect until broader court hearing is set;

• Texas Press Association names Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo/Starr County, as Champion of Transparency;

• Gov. Abbott signs into law two new Texas government transparency measures – led by Sen. Zaffirini, Rep. Canales, respectively – which addressed pubic records problems that arose as a result of COVID-19;

• Congress considering pro-news media “Local Journalism Sustainability Act” and “Journalist Protection Act”;

• New law shaped by Rep. Longoria, Sen. Hinojosa, Rep. Guillén, and Rep. Muñoz financially protects government-employed first responders who are quarantined as a result of COVID-19 or other contagious diseases;

• Lawmakers pass key government transparency bills, including measures featuring Rep. Canales and Sen. Zaffirini;

• Sharing on social media makes people overconfident in their knowledge, according to researchers at the University of Texas at Austin;

• Transparency bills by Sen. Zaffirini, Rep. Canales, and Rep. Guerra advancing in the Legislature;

• Rep. Lucio, III, recalls Mexican drug cartels’ plot in 2009 as an example of the need to protect home addresses, other sensitive information, of all elected officials, reports attorney Omar Ochoa;

• Sen. Zaffirini files bills to reform Texas open government laws;

• Valley state representatives land spots on key committees that will shape transportation, health, higher education, energy, redistricting, and the state budget;

• “Topics for the 87th Legislature” provides an easy-to-understand, trustworthy guide of hottest issues facing Texans in 2021;

• Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas finds journalists putting new Texas public records law to the test;

• Even during COVID-19 emergency, Edinburg protects the public’s right to comment during city council sessions;

• Senate Bill 494, supported by Valley legislative delegation, designed to strike balance between open government laws and abilities of elected leaders in Texas to save lives;

• “Fake News” isn’t easy to spot on Facebook, according to a new study;

• First National Drone Safety Awareness Week highlighted by FAA as a federal lawsuit in Austin targets Texas law for allegedly discriminating against “image journalists”;

• City of Edinburg, as part of its dedication to open government, also posts advance notices for certain informal events which feature its elected and appointed leadership;

• Sens. Hinojosa/Zaffirini, Reps. Canales/Guerra take leadership roles on SB 1640, which benefits the Texas Open Meetings Act;

• Sen. Hinojosa, Rep. Canales played key roles in new Texas law that increases the public’s right to know how taxes are spent;

• “Transparency in government should be a hallmark of the City of Edinburg” with new public information software; and

• Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, Texas Legislature taking actions involving transparency in governments throughout the state.


Roxanne Lerma contributed to this article. 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 (

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