Kika de la Garza

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Kika de la Garza
Kika de la Garza - Flickr - USDAgov.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Texas's 15th district
In office
January 3, 1965 – January 3, 1997
Preceded by Joe M. Kilgore
Succeeded by Rubén Hinojosa
Personal details
Born (1927-09-22) September 22, 1927 (age 87)
Mercedes, Texas
Political party Democratic

Eligio “Kika” de la Garza, II (born September 22, 1927 in Mercedes, Texas) was the Democratic representative for the 15th congressional district of Texas from January 3, 1965, to January 3, 1997.

De la Garza 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 while 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.

While in the state House, de la Garza was famous for sponsoring much 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 1965, de la Garza, a strong supporter of U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson, assumed his seat in Congress. From 1981 to 1994, he was the chairman of the Agricultural 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 le Garza was also a civil rights supporter 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).

De la Garza's nickname was made famous by Andy Rooney in the early days of his TV show as he referred to “Kiki de la Garza” as one of the names that stuck with him most. He resides in McAllen, Texas with his wife Lucille.

External links[edit]

Texas House of Representatives
Preceded by
New district
Member of the Texas House of Representatives
from District 38-3 (Mission)

1953–1965
Succeeded by
A. C. “Bud” Atwood
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Joe M. Kilgore
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Texas's 15th congressional district

1965–1997
Succeeded by
Rubén Hinojosa
Political offices
Preceded by
Tom Foley
Washington
Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee
1981–1995
Succeeded by
Pat Roberts
Kansas