On the first day of the 86thLegislative Session, I was still a candidate running in a Special Called Election for House District 145.
On the day the Texas House was getting organized and electing a new Speaker, I was visiting with seniors in my Second Ward neighborhood and going door-to-door to discuss my campaign with voters.
I won in a runoff election and was sworn in office on the Texas House Floor in front of my family, friends and new colleagues on March 18, 2019.
In normal circumstances, new Texas House members have a couple of months to transition into office. I had 13 days to hire a chief of staff, assemble a staff, find a place to live, catch up on policy matters and learn the House rules. It has been a whirlwind of sorts that I am honored to be a part of.
Serving in various capacities in the area I was born and raised, has provided me the pathway to meet and build relationships with Houston’s diverse leadership, but more importantly, learn about and act on some of the challenges facing my community.
Neighborhoods, including the home where my grandchildren live, are in close proximity to chemical plants and concrete crushing facilities that threaten our air quality every day. Too many families are struggling with health care access and drug prescription costs.
Parts of the legislative district are going through gentrification and although gentrification has brought the community positive appearances, it hasn’t contributed to improving our schools. Too many of our parents are still sending their children to schools in other neighborhoods. I wanted to do my part to change this.
The campaign focused on getting the State of Texas to pay their fair share of funding for public education, expanding access to healthcare for Texas families, Hurricane Harvey recovery, and fighting for better air quality. Earlier this month, I was humbled to be on the House Floor and support the historic House Bill 3 which addressed many of the chronic funding issues in our school finance system. The House also passed HB 1, the appropriation bill. We have been able to address some of the concerns regarding Hurricane Harvey recovery. I have added my name to legislation dealing with air quality, providing healthcare for those that need it the most, and equality and safety for citizens of our State.
Less than six weeks remain in this legislative session with issues impacting the state and our local communities still to be debated. I have learned that my vote, voice, involvement and advocacy can and is making a difference. I am truly honored and humbled to have the trust of House District 145.
Editor’s Note: The above guest column by state Rep. Christina Morales is part of a series of op-eds penned by members of the Mexican American Legislative Caucus. The series is running for the duration of the 86thLegislative Session. Click here to read Rep. Morales’ biography.