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Texas Democrats: Leading the Fight for Texas Families
Last month, the Lone Star Project highlighted the work of three Democratic State House members who fought through the hostile environment of the Republican controlled Texas Legislature to adopt meaningful new laws that help Texas families, veterans and our economy overall.
Today, we are highlighting three veteran Texas legislators who have demonstrated time and again their ability to navigate past tea party obstructionists, rigid ideology and ever-present bureaucratic inertia.
Together these members have over 80 years of service in the Texas Legislature. Rather than squander their seniority, they use intelligence, experience and goodwill from colleagues earned over many sessions to get important work done that benefits all Texans.
Hon. Senfronia Thompson – HD 141, Houston
Affectionately called "Ms. T" by colleagues, Rep. Senfronia Thompson is serving her 20th term in office and is the longest serving African American woman legislator in the history of Texas. She is currently tied for the second longest serving female state legislator in the country.
- Record-setting service – Rep. Thompson has won status as an icon not only due to longevity in office. From her first term through this year’s session, Rep. Thompson has been a force to be reckoned with, combining a fierce fighting spirit with knowledge and insight that wins over colleagues of both parties. In the 2015 Session, Rep. Thompson set a new standard by passing her 389th bill into law, thus cementing her place in history as having passed more laws than any other legislator in Texas history; all while leading the fight for equal pay.
- Cracking down on predators & serving our Veterans – Rep. Thompson uses her experience and influence wisely on bills that matter. This session she introduced and passed laws cracking down on human and child sex traffickers, as well as a bill to help returning Texas veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Hon. Richard Pena Raymond – HD 42, Laredo
Rep. Richard Pena Raymond has spent most of his adult life serving the citizens of Texas. He was elected to represent Laredo-based District 42 in 1992, nearly 23 years ago. Before then, he served on the staff of Texas icons like the late U.S. Senator Lloyd Bentsen and former Land Commissioner Garry Mauro. Rep. Raymond uses good humor, intelligence and shrewd knowledge of legislative procedure to promote and defend his district, the entire border region and working Texans statewide.
- Fighting blind partisanship and discrimination – On the fundamental issues of civil and voting rights, Rep. Raymond has demonstrated extraordinary courage and legislative skill. His heroic stand against Tom DeLay's mid-decade redistricting in 2003 helped build the record that led to a DeLay-destroyed Latino district being restored. In 2009, he led the floor fight that killed a voter ID law even more restrictive and oppressive than the discriminatory measure passed in 2011.
- Overcoming partisan roadblocks & protecting local control – Rep. Raymond has also emerged as a "go to" legislator to help ensure that critical legislation avoids ideological and partisan pitfalls to become law. He helped shepherd through the first Health and Human Services reorganization since 2003, resulting in better services and more transparency. By streamlining HHS services to eliminate waste and duplication at the agency, Texas taxpayers will save $34 million over the next two years alone.
And while divisive tea party Republicans were insisting on big government measures to override the wishes of local voters, Rep. Raymond passed a bill to give border communities more authority to determine where alcohol-related businesses can operate, thus assuring that they are a reasonable distance from schools and churches.
Hon. Rafael Anchia – HD 103, Dallas
Rep. Rafael Anchia was elected to the State House in 2004 after first serving on the Dallas ISD schoolboard. Highly regarded for his smart, principled and compassionate approach to difficult problems, Rep. Anchia has found ways to expand our Texas economy while also balancing environmental and quality of life concerns. Moreover, he has won praise for common-sense measures to protect children and to fix a broken and discriminatory redistricting process.
- Balancing economic growth with environmental health – Anchia wrote the House Concurrent Resolution urging the US Congress to lift the export ban on oil. Lifting the export ban will not only strengthen the hand of the United States in the world oil market, it will spur Texas job growth and strengthen our economy overall. At the same time, Rep. Anchia showed both initiative and forward-thinking by leveraging his chairmanship of the International Trade and Intergovernmental Affairs to force a conversation in Texas about the economic and environmental dangers of ignoring climate change.
- Putting Fairness ahead of ideology and partisanship – Rep. Anchia is thinking ahead for kids and for fair representation too. He fought tirelessly and fiercely to force the state to make sure both parents’ names are listed on children’s birth certificates, thus protecting the the rights of parents and the well-being of kids. He also is pushing to end the destructive results of partisan and discriminatory racial gerrymandering with the creation of an impartial redistricting commission to draw fair legislative and congressional district boundaries.