But on Nov. 2, attorney José Luis Aliseda made history, becoming the first state representative from Bee County since Jon Newton held the position more than four decades ago.
The Republican beat a well-entrenched Democrat, Yvonne Gonzalez Toureilles, taking six of the seven counties in the district.
Last Thursday, Aliseda made his first trip to Austin since winning election.
While there he attended a press conference for the Hispanic Republicans of Texas, an organization formed in 2009 to help recruit, train and support Hispanic Republican candidates for state and local office.
“While I’m not into identity politics, I felt it was important to recognize the significance of the voters of this state electing a number of Hispanic Republicans to represent them for more than just local offices,” Aliseda said.
The representative-elect said he has several goals when he first gets to Austin in January.
The first order of business will be to “get a good redistricting plan for our district,” Aliseda said. “I’m sure it’s a conservative district.”
Then Aliseda wants to see state government get a handle on its budget.
“We’re going to have to do some serious cutting,” he said.
Election reforms will come next on Aliseda’s agenda. “I want to get a voter ID program and see what I can do about mail-in voter fraud.”
During the campaign, Aliseda said he thinks the state should require that all voters provide a photo ID card before they are allowed to cast a ballot.
By the end of last week, Aliseda had already been approached by several other South Texas lawmakers.
“I’m talking to three of them in Corpus Christi today,” he said Monday morning. “We’re going to call ourselves the Coastal Bend delegation.”
In a statement to the Bee-Picayune, Aliseda said many people in the liberal press want their readers to believe that “Americans, Republicans and Tea Partiers are bigots and would not vote or support minority candidates.”
As a candidate, Aliseda and other Hispanics seeking office attended Tea Party rallies where they were welcomed by those attending.
Aliseda said liberals in the media also were shocked to hear that he, a legal Mexican immigrant, did not object to Arizona Bill 1070 and that he supports a voter ID bill for the next legislative session.
“I told them in Spanish that illegal aliens cost the public significant amounts in education, health, criminal justice and social service dollars,” Aliseda said.
The representative-elect first came to Bee County as a young naval officer and Judge Advocate
General attorney when he was sent to Naval Air Station Chase Field in 1984.
When he left the Navy two years later, he already owned a house on East Corpus Christi Street and opened his private law practice at 701 E. Houston St.
Aliseda was first elected to public office in 1988 when he became county attorney. He left the office eight years later and in 1998 he was elected county judge. He most recently served five years on the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles and has resumed his private practice.
Aliseda said he will continue practicing law here. The Legislature meets only for about five months every other year.
Gary Kent is a reporter at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 120, or at reporter@mySouTex.com.