Laredo, Texas , United States
|| September 19, 1955
Jul 18, 2011 04:20pm
Hispanic - Moderate-to-Conservative - Pro- gun - Pro-Life - Married - Catholic -
|Info||The Wall Street Journal calls him “a pro-growth Member [of Congress] in the John F. Kennedy mold.” One of the seven best Texas legislators, says the Dallas Morning News. A favorite son of Laredo, the city has honored him as Laredoan of the Year, Distinguished Citizen of the Year, and Humanitarian of the Year. The San Antonio Express-News says, “Cuellar has worked hard and demonstrated an independent nonpartisan mind-set,” and also notes that “Cuellar's willingness to place his district ahead of his political party is refreshing.” These are just a few of the many accolades bestowed upon Congressman Henry Cuellar. |
Born and raised in Laredo, Texas, Congressman Cuellar knew education was key to achieving his goals. He earned his associate’s degree from Laredo Community College and used the skills and confidence he gained there to take the next step to Washington, D.C. There, he washed dishes and worked other jobs as he earned a bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University, graduating cum laude. He returned to Texas and completed a master’s degree in International Trade at Texas A&M International University and a law degree and Ph.D. in Government from the University of Texas at Austin.
Congressman Cuellar opened his own law firm in 1981 and became licensed customs broker in 1983. He worked at his beloved alma mater, TAMIU, as an Adjunct Professor for International Commercial Law from 1984 to 1986, and the following year he decided to fully dedicate his life to public service. He served as a state representative from 1987 until he was appointed as the Texas Secretary of State in 2001.
During his 14 years as Laredo’s state representative, Congressman Cuellar served in influential leadership positions in the preeminent House Appropriations, Higher Education, and Calendar committees. While in the Texas State Legislature, he coauthored the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), which ensured health care for thousands of previously uninsured children, and he co-sponsored the largest tax cut in Texas history, which included a three-day tax holiday for consumers and small businesses. He also served on several national legislative committees dealing with state budgets, the U.S./Mexico border, and international trade.
As Secretary of State, he redefined the office by making it easier for Texans to voice their concerns and opinions. Today, Texans still benefit from his new voter initiatives to register, educate, and protect voters’ rights, as well as his efforts to expand the Border/Mexico Affairs office to help the colonias. He also implemented new technology to make state agencies more customer-friendly and results-oriented.
In 2005, Congressman Cuellar became the first Laredoan in over 20 years elected to represent the 28th District of Texas in Washington, DC. During his first two terms, he has stood out among his colleagues by achieving significant victories for his constituents. He serves as chairman of the powerful U.S. House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Emergency Communications, Preparedness & Response, and he is widely recognized as a leader on trade issues for his support for the Central American Free Trade Agreement and the North American Free Trade Agreement. He also authored the Prosperous and Secure Neighbor Alliance Act of 2007 to combat drug trafficking along the border, and he passed an amendment in the 2008 Farm Bill to address cattle fever ticks, making it the first federal bill to specifically address this major South Texas concern.
Along the way, Congressman Cuellar has never forgotten his pledge to keep the doors of opportunity open for anyone willing to work hard. He continues his mission to improve education, national security, increase access to affordable health care and prescription drugs, and create better jobs and wages.
The results of Congressman Cuellar's efforts and bipartisan approach are evident across the state of Texas. Since his swearing-in to Congress in 2005, he has secured more than $850 million in grants for transportation funding and appropriations earmarks to benefit the 28th District of Texas.
He currently serves on three powerful committees in the U.S. House of Representatives: the Homeland Security Committee, which oversees the U.S. Department of Homeland Security; the House Agriculture Committee, which oversees the U.S. Department of Agriculture; and the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which ensures the efficient and effective operation of the U.S. government.
Congressman Cuellar and his, wife, Imelda, reside in Laredo, Texas with their two daughters, Christy and Catie.