Guest Speaker Bio – Representative Pete Gallego
Pete P. Gallego, 45, is a member of the Texas House of Representatives from District 74, which includes Brewster, Culberson, Edwards, Hudspeth, Jeff Davis, Loving, Pecos, Presidio, Reeves, Terrell, Uvalde, Val Verde, and Ward counties. The 74th House district is the largest House district and the largest Texas U.S.-Mexico border district stretching nearly 39,000 square miles and containing over half of the Texas/Mexico border.
Elected in 1990, Representative Gallego is the first Hispanic to represent this vast border district. In 1991, he became the first freshman member and the first ethnic minority member ever elected as chair of the House Democratic Caucus, a post he held until January of 2001. In January of 2001, Representative Gallego was unanimously elected by his colleagues to serve as chair of the Mexican-American Legislative Caucus (MALC), a group of 43 House members who are of Mexican-American descent or who serve a significant Mexican-American constituency. Representative Gallego was re-elected as chair of MALC for the fourth time in 2006.
Now in his ninth term, Representative Gallego’s career has included chairmanships of the General Investigating Committee and several select and subcommittees. He has also served as a member of the Sunset Commission and the Committees on Appropriations, Calendars, Criminal Jurisprudence, Higher Education, and Elections.
An Alpine native, Gallego graduated from Sul Ross State University (SRSU) in 1982 with a bachelor’s degree in political science. In 1985, he earned a Doctor of Jurisprudence from The University of Texas School of Law. Representative Gallego is a member of the Sul Ross State University Hall of Fame as an outstanding booster, and has been named a Distinguished Alumnus by the SRSU Ex-Student Association.
In the Legislature, Representative Gallego is an expert in appropriations, law enforcement, criminal justice, campaign finance and victims’ rights. He served on the joint House/Senate conference committee on the state budget for five consecutive sessions from 1993 to 2001 and has received numerous awards, including the “Advocate for Justice” award from a coalition of Texas victims’ groups and the “Star of Texas” public service award by Common Cause of Texas. Following the 1999 session, he was selected as one of Texas Monthly’s “Ten Best” legislators. Most recently, Representative Gallego received the prestigious OHTLI Award from the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs for his contributions to the betterment of the Mexican community in Texas.
A supporter of both public and higher education, Representative Gallego was honored by the Eagle Pass Independent School District in 2000 with the naming and dedication of the Pete Gallego Elementary School. He has also been honored by the Texas State University System, The University of Texas System, and the Independent Colleges and Universities of Texas in appreciation for his support of higher education.
The National Council of State Governments awarded Representative Gallego a prestigious Henry Toll Fellowship, recognizing him as one of the outstanding young leaders in the nation. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the Texas Equal Access to Justice Foundation and was recently named to the Board of Directors of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO). Representative Gallego is also a past chair of the Texas Lyceum Association, an organization comprised of individuals under the age of 45 who have demonstrated leadership abilities throughout the State.
Representative Gallego still lives in Alpine, where he was born and raised. He now heads the southwest Texas law office of Davis & Wilkerson, P.C. His law practice is concentrated in the areas of medical malpractice and insurance defense.
Watch Representative Gallego’s talk on Latinos and Education