Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Adios, Paul Moreno

Calling the Texas House of Representatives his "home," Rep. Paul Moreno (D-El Paso), the Dean of the Texas House and the longest serving Latino elected official in the United States of America (I didn't know that until he said it), lamented that "things have changed" at the Texas Legislature.

Today Moreno announced his retirement after this session. (Earlier, inaccurate reports had said his retirement was effective immediately.) His housekeeper and long-time companion became ill over the weekend, and Moreno himself suffers from health problems, he said.

The wheelchair-bound liberal lion, probably the only member whose tenure in the Legislature predates Speaker Craddick's, encouraged his colleagues NOT to launch legislative crusades against immigrants or use derogatory terms like "illegal aliens" on the House floor. His "white colleagues," he said, "do not mean to hurt us," but such language denigrates people like him, he said, as do bills that target particular groups like Voter ID. "We are being denied the benefits that make this country great," he said, "equality, voting, and education."

Moreno is going back to El Paso for the remainder of the session, but said he'd be back if there were special sessions called before the end of his term. "Don't forget, members, we are not your enemy," Moreno closed. "We are brothers, we are sisters."

I wonder if his colleagues who gave him a standing ovation will remember the speech when HB 159 hits the House floor on the Major State calendar tomorrow? Perhaps Rep. Bill Zedler will agree to pull the bill down in Rep. Moreno's honor.

UPDATE: The El Paso Times says Moreno has changed his mind and may still run for re-election in 2008. More from the Texas Observer blog.


Anonymous said...

Moreno seems to have changed his mind:


Rep. Moreno changes mind on retiring (6:18 p.m.)
By Brandi Grissom / Austin Bureau
Article Launched: 05/08/2007 06:10:02 PM MDT

AUSTIN -- State Rep. Paul Moreno said he was ready to tell his friends, family and constituents today that this legislative session would be his last until the Texas House surprised him.

When he entered the chamber after more than a month away, 149 legislators stood and applauded for the 76-year-old legislator and longest-serving Mexican-American lawmaker in the nation.

"It made me believe I was somebody," he said, "that I was needed."

Moreno has been away from Austin since April 3, and the last month for him has been plagued with tragedy and illness. He said he was prepared to announce today that he would not run for re-election in 2008, but he changed his mind after fellow legislators spent the afternoon encouraging him and warmly welcomed him back to the floor.

Moreno said he was headed back to El Paso tonight but hoped to come back to Austin before the legislative session ends May 28.

Anonymous said...

Paul C. Moreno is a Democratic state representative from El Paso, Texas. Born in 1931, grew up in “El Segundo Barrio” of El Paso. After high school, he served six years in the U.S. Marine Corp and saw combat in the Korean War. He then received his BBA from the University of Texas El Paso and his JD from the University of Texas at Austin.

Rep. Moreno first won election to the Texas House in 1967. He is now the longest serving Hispanic elected official in the country, and presides as the Dean of the Texas House. Committed to the beliefs that everyone is entitled to sound legal representation and that all voices should be heard, he is a cofounder of El Paso Legal Assistance and a founding member of the Tejano Democrats.

He has been a passionate and outspoken advocate for the poor, the disabled, the disenfranchised, education and especially his family. In his role as a legislator, he proudly represents constituencies whose voices are not always among the most powerful. Many people consider Mr. Moreno the "Conscience of the House”.

Moreno will go down in history as the Texas State Representative who has stuffed more family members in state government jobs than any other member of the Texas Legislature.

A brother Fred Moreno, got a bone when the Texas Lottery first started in 1992, Fred worked for the Lottery for years, now tends to Paul, compliments of the state. There is Blanche Darley, sister to Paul Moreno who is with the Texas Attorney General's office. Yolanda Clay, niece to Paul with the Texas Department of Agriculture. Goes on to former son-in-laws, etc. The list is practically endless. We feel everyone should have an "Uncle Paul" in their family.

Is it possible that Moreno has used the Texas State Government as his own personal employment agency for his family or maybe its just a coincidence they all wanted to work for the Great State of Texas.... YEAH RIGHT!

Moreno seeks another term in office. Maybe Moreno just wants another term to get a third generation of Morenos on the state payroll.

Moreno has handed out jobs to family members like some state reps hand out state calendars.

Moreno could just win re-election if his entire "state payrolled family" took a day off from their cushy state jobs and went to vote

As for legislation he has passed since 1967, the total is ZERO... ZILCH.

Paul needs your vote and we need the jobs!