It has been a long, but rewarding 140 days. Unfortunately, the fight is not over. However, we do have time to reflect on the success we've achieved over those 140 days.
Four: The number of bills I passed this session
I'm proud that four of my bills have passed out of the House and the Senate, and now are only one step away from becoming law. As I've discussed before, these bills address essential local issues including:
Creating a pathway to restore the dairy industry in El Paso County
Providing safe water and improving infrastructure for colonias in District 75
Reducing the high-stakes on standardized tests that have put our English Language Learning and recently immigrated students at a disadvantage
Consolidating and promoting funding to maintain our historic missions.
Three: 3.4 billion dollars put back in our neighborhood public schools
This past weekend, final agreements were made on the state budget. The biggest success in the budget was that Democrats fought to add $3.4 billion for public education. We still have a long way to go to make sure Texas schools are fully funded. However, Democrats set a high bar and fought hard in their negotiations over the budget, and even though we were in the minority, we brought in more than what many expected for our public schools.
Two: Times I fought on the House floor to improve colonias
Fighting for colonias was an important part of my legislative agenda. That meant not only filing legislation, but fighting to improve colonias on the House Floor.
- When the House initially debated the budget, I introduced an amendment that would have given an additional $2 million for colonias. The amendment would have taken money the state sets aside to pay for high-priced lobbyists in Washington, DC and given it to our state's neediest communities that lack proper infrastructure. Unfortunately, the amendment failed, but I'm glad to have had a chance to fight for programs that prioritize our communities over wealthy lobbyists.
- I also helped defeat a bill that would have loosened restrictions that have helped stop the spread of colonias. While I passed an amendment that would have exempted El Paso County from these risky changes, I still voted no and helped defeat the bill because it put other colonias along the border at risk.
One: Award Given for the Mexican American Legislative Caucus Freshman of the Year
Yesterday I was recognized by the Mexican American Legislative Caucus as Freshman of the Year. In the past 140 days, I gained a new family-- my colleagues, staff, and everyone who I have gotten to work with and had the opportunity to build a relationship with. It has truly been an honor.
Receiving my award with MALC Chairman Representative Trey Martinez Fischer
Zero: The number of days between the regular session and the special session.
Right as we adjourned yesterday evening, Governor Perry called a special sessionimmediately after to address redistricting. While we still have a long road ahead of us, I will fight to make sure that all Texans' voices matter at the ballot box and that communities of interest and voters of color are not split or diluted.