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Filemon Vela Jr.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Filemón Vela
Filemon Vela, Official Portrait, 113th Congress.jpg
Vice Chair of the Democratic National Committee
In office
January 21, 2021 – March 31, 2022
ChairJaime Harrison
Preceded byGrace Meng
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Texas's 34th district
In office
January 3, 2013 – March 31, 2022
Preceded byConstituency established
Succeeded byMayra Flores
Personal details
Filemón Bartolomé Vela Jr.

(1963-02-13) February 13, 1963 (age 60)
Harlingen, Texas, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Rose Rivera
(m. 1990)
RelativesBlanca Vela (mother)
Filemon Vela Sr. (father)
EducationGeorgetown University (BA)
University of Texas at Austin (JD)

Filemón Bartolomé Vela Jr. (/ˈfɪləˌmɒnˈvɛlə/ FILL-ə-monn VELL; born February 13, 1963)[1] is an American lobbyist, lawyer and politician who served as the U.S. representative for Texas's 34th congressional district from 2013 until his resignation in 2022. He is a member of the Democratic Party. Vela was also vice chair of the Democratic National Committee, having been nominated by President Joe Biden.[2] In March 2022, Vela resigned in the middle of his term to work at Akin Gump, the largest lobbying firm in the U.S.[3][4]

YouTube Encyclopedic

  • 1/5
    15 940
    1 016
  • Rep. Filemon Vela (D-TX) and Aly Raisman fight Underage Drinking
  • Congressman Filemon Vela visits VMA
  • Bowie Elementary Estudiantina Infantil performs for Congressman Filemon Vela
  • Bowie Elementary Estudiantina Infantil performs for Congressman Filemon Vela, Part 2
  • A Tribute to the Life & Legacy of Hon. Reynaldo Garza, Jurist & Hispanic American Pioneer


Early life and education

Vela was born in Harlingen, Texas, and raised in nearby Brownsville. His father, Filemon Vela Sr., was a long-serving United States federal judge. The Reynaldo G. Garza–Filemon B. Vela United States Courthouse in Brownsville is named in Judge Vela's honor. His mother, Blanca Sanchez Vela, served as Brownsville's first female mayor from 1999 to 2003.[5][6][7]

Filemon attended Saint Joseph Academy in Brownsville, and earned his Bachelor of Arts from Georgetown University in 1985. During his time at Georgetown, he served as an intern at the Federal Judicial Center, the research and education agency of the federal judicial system. He also served as an intern in Solomon P. Ortiz's office in Washington, D.C. Vela earned his Juris Doctor from the University of Texas at Austin School of Law in 1987.[5]


In Edinburg School District v. Landmark, Vela represented Edinburg to fight for more funding. In Pharr-San Juan-Alamo Independent School District v. Landmark, he represented the district in fighting contractors accused of building a poorly constructed school facility.[8][better source needed]

U.S. House of Representatives



Vela ran in the newly created 34th congressional district as a Democrat. In the May 29 primary, he ranked first in an eight-candidate field with 40% of the vote.[9] In the July 31 runoff, Vela defeated Denise Saenz Blanchard, 67% to 33%.[10][11]

In the general election, Vela defeated Republican Jessica Bradshaw, 62% to 36%.[12]


In July 2013, Vela quit the Congressional Hispanic Caucus because of his opposition to the Hoeven-Corker Amendment that tied border security to a pathway to citizenship. He said "erecting more border fence drives a wedge between border communities which are culturally united".[13][14]

On March 22, 2021, Vela announced that he would not seek reelection in the 2022 United States House of Representatives elections.[15]

In August 2021, Vela joined a group of conservative Democrats, dubbed "The Unbreakable Nine", who threatened to derail the Biden administration's $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package meant to tackle the nation's infrastructure.[16][17]

On March 24, 2022, Vela confirmed that he would resign early from Congress to take a job at Akin Gump, a lobbying and law firm.[3] His resignation officially went into effect before midnight on March 31.[4]

Committee assignments[18]

Caucus memberships

Personal life

Vela's wife, Rose, was a Republican justice on Texas's 13th Court of Appeals from 2007 to 2012.[23]

Vela is Roman Catholic.[24]

See also


  1. ^ Hopkins, Christopher Snow. "Texas, 34th House District". Archived from the original on November 7, 2012. Retrieved November 8, 2012.
  2. ^ Thomas, Ken (January 15, 2021). "Biden Taps Jaime Harrison, Former Senate Candidate, to Lead DNC". Wall Street Journal.
  3. ^ a b Livingston, Abby (March 24, 2022). "U.S. Rep. Filemon Vela will resign early from Congress". The Texas Tribune. Archived from the original on March 24, 2022. Retrieved March 24, 2022.
  4. ^ a b Livingston, Abby (March 31, 2022). "U.S. Rep. Filemon Vela steps down, setting up a heated battle for his South Texas district". The Texas Tribune. Archived from the original on April 1, 2022. Retrieved April 1, 2022.
  5. ^ a b
  6. ^ Johnson, Ty (February 18, 2014). "Former Brownsville mayor, feminist 'trailblazer' Blanca Vela dies at 78". The Monitor (Texas). Retrieved March 13, 2014.
  7. ^ "Brownsville's former and only female mayor, Blanca Vela, passes away". KVEO. February 19, 2014. Retrieved March 13, 2014.
  8. ^ "Full Biography". Archived from the original on August 19, 2014. Retrieved August 19, 2014.
  9. ^ "". Retrieved August 19, 2014.
  10. ^ "". Retrieved August 19, 2014.
  11. ^[dead link]
  12. ^ "TX-TopRaces-Glance-Sum". Retrieved November 8, 2012.[permanent dead link]
  13. ^ Martin, Gary (July 2, 2013). "Rep. Filemon Vela quits Congressional Hispanic Caucus to protest lawmakers' acceptance of border 'militarization' - Texas on the Potomac". Retrieved August 19, 2014.
  14. ^ "Filemon Vela quits Hispanic caucus over border surge - Seung Min Kim". Politico.Com. July 2, 2013. Retrieved August 19, 2014.
  15. ^ Nichols, Hans. "Rep. Filemon Vela to retire from House ahead of Texas redistricting". Axios. Retrieved March 22, 2021.
  16. ^ "Cracks Emerge in Josh Gottheimer's "Unbreakable Nine"". August 25, 2021. Retrieved April 1, 2022.
  17. ^ "Opinion | The 9 Democrats Making Nancy Pelosi's Life Harder Are Making a Big Mistake - The New York Times". Retrieved April 1, 2022.
  18. ^ "About". Congressman Filemon Vela. Retrieved February 1, 2021.
  19. ^ "Members". Congressional Hispanic Caucus. Archived from the original on May 15, 2018. Retrieved May 15, 2018.
  20. ^ "Members". Congressional NextGen 9-1-1 Caucus. Archived from the original on June 12, 2018. Retrieved June 14, 2018.
  21. ^ "Members of the Veterinary Medicine Caucus". Veterinary Medicine Caucus. Retrieved October 12, 2018.
  22. ^ "Members". U.S. - Japan Caucus. Retrieved January 9, 2019.
  23. ^ Sanchez, Humberto. "113th Congress: Filemon Vela, D-Texas (34th District)". Congressional Quarterly, Inc. Retrieved November 8, 2012.
  24. ^

External links

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
New constituency
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Texas's 34th congressional district

Succeeded by
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded byas Former US Representative Order of precedence of the United States
as Former US Representative
Succeeded byas Former US Representative
This page was last edited on 15 March 2023, at 15:59
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