AUSTIN, Texas – On the opening day of the 84th Legislature, state Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa was sworn in as president pro tempore of the Texas Senate.

According to the Senate Rules, at the beginning of each legislative session, the Senate can elect one of its members to serve as president pro tempore. He or she serves as presiding officer of the Senate in the event of the lieutenant governor’s absence or disability. Traditionally, for one day during the session, the governor and lieutenant governor leave the state to allow the president pro tempore to act as Governor for the Day.

Hinojosa, D-McAllen, was nominated by his Senate colleagues. Senators Judith Zaffirini, Jane Nelson, Kevin Eltife, John Whitmire, and Carlos Uresti spoke in support of Hinojosa and highlighted his personal and professional accomplishments. After he was unanimously elected president pro tem, Hinojosa delivered an acceptance speech.

“It is an honor to be the President Prop Tem this session and is an exciting experience. Working together with my Senate colleagues is a privilege as we work to address the critical issues facing our state. Our objective is to work towards making Texas a better place to live for all our families,” Hinojosa said.

On the same day Hinojosa was being sworn in as president pro tem of the Senate, Texas House members were taking their oath of office. South Texas representatives gave their thoughts.

“Today marks the first day of the 84th Legislative Session and I look forward to working on issues important to all Texans,” said state Rep. Abel Herrero, D-Robstown, who is now serving his fifth term as member of the Texas House. “I am honored and humbled that the people of House District 34 have entrusted me to serve them once again as state representative. I am ready to serve our community and work with fellow lawmakers to meet the challenges of improving our neighborhood schools, securing our state’s economic growth, and providing adequate funding for our growing infrastructure needs.”

State Rep. R.D. “Bobby” Guerra, D-McAllen, said it is an honor and privilege to continue serving his community.

“Over the next months, some of the discussions my colleagues and I will be having concern public education, healthcare, training and security, as well as transportation and the state’s growing economy and infrastructure needs. Rapid expansion, in addition to the lack of sufficient road and highways require our focus to be placed on adequate funding. We need to develop a plan now so we can secure the future for Texans,” Guerra said.

Guerra said he is looking forward to working with Speaker of the House, Joe Straus, and his House colleagues. “I plan on working together as one delegation for our mission during the 84th Session is clear—to make Texas an even greater place to live and work. When I’m on the floor, I’ll be thinking about my constituents and vote my district,” Guerra added.

State Rep. Eddie Lucio III, D-San Benito, said he is humbled and honored to serve District 38 for a fifth term. “This session we have the opportunity to continue leading the nation as an economic engine, but we also have the opportunity to make gains in how we care for and treat all Texans,” Lucio said. “Last session, we did great work to fund our State Water Plan as well as transportation infrastructure. I am confident in this Legislature’s will to invest in Texas, ensuring prosperity for all Texans.”

State Rep. Sergio Muñoz, Jr., has served in the Texas Legislature since 2011 and represents all or parts of the cities of Hidalgo, Granjeno, McAllen, Mission, Palmview and Pharr.  Muñoz said he is confident of continuing the momentum and success of the past two legislative sessions and that the Rio Grande Valley will prosper from the work done in the 84th Legislature.

“I am excited to begin my third term embracing issues so close to my heart and important to the District and state of Texas,” Muñoz said.

Editor’s Note: In collaboration with RGV Public Radio 88 FM and KEDT 90.3 FM, the Rio Grande Guardian will be providing regular updates on legislation impacting South Texas during the 84th Legislature.