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Kika de la Garza

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Kika de la Garza
Kika de la Garza - Flickr - USDAgov.jpg
Chair of the House Agriculture Committee
In office
January 3, 1981 – January 3, 1995
Preceded byTom Foley
Succeeded byPat Roberts
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Texas's 15th district
In office
January 3, 1965 – January 3, 1997
Preceded byJoe M. Kilgore
Succeeded byRubén Hinojosa
Member of the Texas House of Representatives
from the 38th district
In office
Preceded byConstituency established
Succeeded byBud Atwood
Personal details
Eligio de la Garza II

(1927-09-22)September 22, 1927
Mercedes, Texas, U.S.
DiedMarch 13, 2017(2017-03-13) (aged 89)
McAllen, Texas, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
EducationEdinburg College
St. Mary's University, Texas (LLB)
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/service United States Navy
 United States Army
Years of service1945–1946 (Navy)
1950–1952 (Army)

Eligio "Kika" de la Garza II (September 22, 1927 – March 13, 2017) was an American politician who served as the Democratic representative for the 15th congressional district of Texas from January 3, 1965, to January 3, 1997.


De la Garza was born on September 22, 1927[1] and grew up in Mission in Hidalgo County. At the age of seventeen, he entered the United States Navy and served for two years. De la Garza chose to continue his education at Edinburg Junior College and the United States Army Artillery School at Fort Sill in Oklahoma. For two years beginning in 1952, he was a lieutenant in the Army serving in the 37th Field Artillery Regiment and deployed in the Korean War. After returning home, he completed his law degree at St. Mary's University School of Law in San Antonio. After having practiced law for several years in the Rio Grande Valley, he was elected to the Texas House of Representatives, where he served from 1953 to 1965.

While in the state House, de la Garza was famous for sponsoring a large amount of legislation in the fields of education and the environment. He authored bills to protect wetlands, create state-sponsored preschools, and more international bridges to Mexico. From 1955 to 1957, he was the only Hispanic member of the Texas House. He was joined in 1957 by a second Mexican American member, Oscar M. Laurel of Laredo, the seat of Webb County.

In 1964, de la Garza, a strong supporter of U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson, ran for United States House of Representatives and won a seat representing South Texas. From 1981 to 1994, he was the chairman of the Agriculture Committee, leading the way in passing bills that reorganized the agricultural lending system, the farm insurance system, the United States Department of Agriculture, and pesticide laws.

De la Garza voted in favor of the Voting Rights Act of 1965,[2] the Civil Rights Act of 1968,[3] and called for smoother relations between the U.S. and Mexico. He worked to improve trade between the two nations and was critical in passing the legislation that enacted the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Death and legacy

De la Garza retired from public service in 1997. Upon his return home to Texas, he donated his entire Congressional archive to the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley legacy institution UT Pan American.[4] Currently,[when?] the collection is housed at the UTRGV Edinburg Campus library. The archive was unveiled publicly in 2012.[4]

He resided in McAllen, Texas, with his wife Lucille until his death on March 13, 2017, of kidney failure. He is buried at the Valley Memorial Gardens in McAllen, Texas.[5][1]

See also


  1. ^ a b Texas Legislators Past and Present-Eligo de la Garza
  2. ^ "TO PASS H.R. 6400, THE 1965 VOTING RIGHTS ACT".
  4. ^ a b "Special Report: Kika de la Garza's Legacy Inspires, Lives On at UTRGV". Texas Border Business. 2017-04-18. Retrieved 2021-03-02.
  5. ^ Colburn, James (2017-03-13). "Eligio "Kika" de la Garza dead at 89". The Monitor. Retrieved 2017-03-13.

External links

Texas House of Representatives
New constituency Member of the Texas House of Representatives
from the 38th district

Succeeded by
Bud Atwood
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Texas's 15th congressional district

Succeeded by
Preceded by Chair of the House Agriculture Committee
Succeeded by
Preceded by Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus
Succeeded by
This page was last edited on 13 December 2022, at 17:16
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