Carlos Uresti

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Carlos Uresti
Member of the Texas Senate
from the 19th district
Assumed office
November 2006
Preceded by Frank L. Madla
Member of the Texas House of Representatives
from the 118th district
In office
January 1997 – November 2006
Preceded by Ciro Rodriguez
Succeeded by Joe Farias
Personal details
Born (1963-09-12) September 12, 1963 (age 53)
San Antonio, Texas, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Lleanna Uresti
Children 2
Residence San Antonio, Texas
Alma mater Saint Mary's University
Website Campaign website
Military service
Allegiance United States
Service/branch United States Marine Corps
Rank Captain
Unit Reserves

Carlos "Charlie" Uresti (born September 18, 1963) is an American attorney and Democratic politician from San Antonio, Texas. He is currently member of the Texas State Senate representing Senate District 19, one of the largest geographical senatorial districts in the Texas Senate, covering a third of the Texas-Mexico Border. He is considered a statewide leader in the fight to prevent child abuse and neglect, and was named Legislator of the Year five times. Uresti previously represented portions of Bexar County and the City of San Antonio in District 118 of the Texas House of Representatives from 1997 to 2006.

Early Life and Family[edit]

Carlos Uresti was born in San Antonio on September 18, 1963 as the youngest of 8 children,.[1][2] He grew up on the Southside of San Antonio and attended McCollum High School, where he was a part of the JROTC. After graduation, Uresti enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves at the age of 18. In 1985, he earned his bachelor's degree in Political Science from St. Mary’s University, and was then commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant.[3] Uresti rose to the rank of captain and earned the Navy Achievement Medal during his four years of active duty as a combat engineer. After his military career, Uresti returned to St. Mary’s University School of Law, from which he graduated in 1992. Since then, he has been in private practice in San Antonio, currently with The Uresti Law Firm.[4]

Uresti married Lleanna Elizondo in 2012. She has two children, Katalina and Sebastian, and he has two sons: Michael, a 2005 graduate of Texas A&M University, and Carlos, Jr., who is a 2011 Texas A&M University-San Antonio graduate and a Corporal in the United States Marine Corps Reserve.[2] Uresti is the grandfather to Benjamin, Evan, and Juliette. Two of his brothers are also involved in San Antonio politics: Albert Uresti ran unsuccessfully for US Congress in 2006 and was elected Tax Assessor-Collector of Bexar County in 2012, and Tomas Uresti is the member-elect for the Texas House of Representatives in District 118.[5]

Political career[edit]

Uresti entered state politics during the 1997 special election for Texas House District 118. During his nine-year career in the House, he chaired the Committee on Human Services during the 78th Legislature and the Committee on Government Reform during the 79th Legislature. Uresti was elected to the Texas State Senate in 2006 representing Senate District 19, after challenging 13-year incumbent Frank Madla in a contentious and sometimes heated primary election. Democratic activists were critical of Senator Madla for being too closely tied to the Republican leadership in the Senate and unwilling to utilize senatorial power to prevent the passage of Republican bills. Specifically, Uresti scrutinized Madla's role in a 2003 vote to remove 180,000 youngsters from the Children's Health Insurance Program. Madla controversially referred to Uresti's charge as a "procedural matter."[6] Eventually, Uresti prevailed with 56.5 percent of the vote to Madla's 43.5 percent, and Senator Madla resigned effective May 31, 2006.[7] For his second term, Uresti faced an unexpectedly difficult reelection in 2010, winning by less than 9,000 votes. The Senator attributed this to inadequate voter outreach in rural and exurban counties.[8] In 2012, Uresti won by a significantly wider 19-point margin.

District 19 is one of the largest legislative districts in the United States, containing all or part of 17 counties and covering more than 35,000 square miles and about 400 miles of the Texas-Mexico border. The district contains 55 public school districts, more than 23,000 oil and gas wells, 10 state parks, three national parks, and more than 2,700 miles of highways and interstate transportation infrastructure.[4] Redistricting in 2010 led to District 19 losing several western countries and gaining several eastern ones.

Throughout his legislative career, Uresti has been instrumental in passing many pieces of legislation. He has authored, coauthored, or sponsored many bills regarding child abuse and neglect. These include landmark reforms to Child Protective Services and Adult Protective Services, an expansion of the state's newborn genetic disorder screening program, the establishment of a statewide Nurse-Family Partnership program for child abuse prevention, and the establishment of a Silver Alert program for missing elderly persons.

Uresti has also championed several economic development projects, facilitating the creating of a Toyota manufacturing plant in South San Antonio and reforming liability laws to allow for the creation of the Blue Origin spaceport in Culberson County. Additionally, Uresti was integral to the authorization and funding of Texas A&M University at San Antonio. The District includes much of the Eagle Ford Shale and thus is the location of much oil and natural gas extraction via hydraulic fracturing. As a result, Senator Uresti serves on the Senate Natural Resources Committee and authored SB1747, which distributes money to counties to improve roads to accommodate the unprecedented amount of oil and gas related economic activity.

FBI investigation[edit]

On February 16, 2017, federal agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Internal Revenue Service raided the law offices of Uresti in San Antonio, Texas. The San Antonio Express-News stated that Uresti is under investigation for his connection to FourWinds, a fraudulent fracking business. FBI spokeswoman Michelle Lee confirmed agents were on scene confiscating documents pursuant to the investigations and that no arrests were made. Uresti released a statement shortly after stating that he would fully cooperate with agents during their investigation.[9][10]

Targeted in the raid was Uresti's consulting company, Turning Point Strategies, for which the FBI is seeking information on "investors or contributors." Turning Points was the medium used to collect Uresti's commissions for handling a former client's $900,000 investment with FourWinds. The client, Denise Cantu (born 1980) of Harlingen, lost much of the money that she obtained from a case involving the wrongful death of two of her children. Uresti subsequently acquired a $25,000 loan from Cantu and borrowed $75,000 from three other individuals, including one of his Senate staff members.[11]

Meanwhile, Denise Cantu has sued Uresti alleging fraud after she invested heavily in the failed FourWinds Logistics. Cantu claims that Uresti "tricked" her with the investment and did not disclose that he received a $27,000 commission from FourWinds for successfully soliciting her business. Cantu claims that FourWinds divided her money among the company officers and did not purchase fracking sand as they had promised. Uresti has denied any wrongdoing and asks that the suit be delayed until after the legislature adorns at the end of May.[12]

Political positions[edit]


Senator Uresti has advocated for increased state investment in transportation infrastructure. He was a vocal critic of the TxDOT plan to replace heavily trafficked county roads with gravel, saying "It's no secret that I'm not a fan of this proposal" and that "TxDOT needs to revisit this approach."[13] To remedy this, he authored and passed Senate Bill 1747, which created a grant program to help counties repair local roads strained by oil and gas exploration.

Child abuse and neglect[edit]

Senator Uresti has been a proponent of reform within the Child Protective Services. He has publicly stated that “We are not funding CPS the way it needs to be funded" and that CPS needs reformed management practices, lower caseloads per worker, and higher salaries.[14] He has pushed for more resources to be put towards abuse prevention, saying “There were more than 66,000 confirmed cases of abuse and neglect in Texas last year. Last year, 156 children died in the state. That's down from 212 the year before, but even one death is too many.”[15]

During the 84th Legislative Session, Senator Uresti pushed for increased funding for CPS to hire more caseworkers in order to reduce workloads. In a 2016 interim hearing, Senator Uresti advocated for better pay for CPS caseworkers, in order to decrease turnover and training costs.[16]


Senator Uresti was a proponent of Proposition 6, which provided $2 billion from the Rainy Day Fund to the State Water Plan, allowing low-interest loans for more than 560 water supply projects, saying that Texas needed to "take a progressive and forward looking approach to our long-term water needs."[17] The Senator was a critic of the Bexar Metropolitan Water District (or BexarMet), a scandal-ridden San Antonio utility. He was chairman of a legislative oversight committee that monitored BexarMet, and spearheaded the effort to have the utility merged with the San Antonio Water System (SAWS).

Senator Uresti passed SB 1734, which mandated that the state begin a program to eradicate invasive Carrizo cane, in order to improve border security and conserve fresh water.

Energy and natural resources[edit]

Senator Uresti's district includes parts of the State's two largest oil and gas deposits: the Eagle Ford Shale and the Permian Basin. He has supported the boom in oil and gas exploration in the Eagle Ford, and has pushed for expansion of water and transportation infrastructure with oil revenue. He has pushed for the expansion of solar energy in West Texas, and is the author of Senate Bill 12,[18] which seeks to convert the state's vehicle fleet to natural gas.

Election history[edit]

Uresti has served in the Texas State Senate since 2006, having previously served in the Texas House of Representatives since 1997.[19]

Most recent election[edit]

Democratic primary, 2016: Senate District 19[20]
Candidate Votes % ±
Helen Madla 13,627 25.44
Carlos “Charlie” Uresti 39,931 74.56

Previous elections[edit]


Texas general election, 2012: Senate District 19[21]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Michael Berlanga 83,522 40.59
Democratic Carlos Uresti 122,214 59.40
Turnout 205,736
Democratic hold


Texas general election, 2010: Senate District 19[22]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Dick Bowen 53,024 45.08
Democratic Carlos Uresti 61,327 52.13
Libertarian Mette A. Baker 3,269 2.77
Turnout 117,620
Democratic hold
Democratic primary, 2010: Senate District 19[23]
Candidate Votes % ±
Carlos Uresti (Incumbent) 25,969 76.16
Luis Juarez Jr. 8,125 23.83
Turnout 34,094 100.00


Texas general election, 2006: Senate District 19[24]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Dick Bowen 40,556 40.82
Democratic Carlos Uresti 58,793 59.18
Majority 18,237 18.36
Turnout 99,349
Democratic hold
Special election: Senate District 19, Unexpired term[25]
November 7, 2006
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Dick Bowen 39,312 40.64
Democratic Carlos Uresti 57,426 59.36
Majority 18,237 18.72
Turnout 96,738
Democratic hold
Democratic primary, 2006: Senate District 19[7]
Candidate Votes % ±
Frank L. Madla (Incumbent) 18,936 43.48
Carlos Uresti 24,610 56.51
Turnout 12,025

Two elections were held on November 7, 2006 due to Senator Frank Madla's resignation following his loss in the Primary. Senator Uresti was sworn in to the Senate in November rather than January because of his victory in the special election.


Texas general election, 2004: House District 118[26]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Steve Salyer 16,183 43.21
Democratic Carlos “Charlie” Uresti 21,265 56.79
Majority 5,082 13.57
Turnout 37,448
Democratic hold


Texas general election, 2002: House District 118[27]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Carlos “Charlie” Uresti 14,416 100.00
Majority 14,416 100.00
Turnout 14,416
Democratic hold


Texas general election, 2000: House District 118[28]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Carlos “Charlie” Uresti 19,748 100.00
Majority 19,748 100.00
Turnout 19,748
Democratic hold


Texas general election, 1998: House District 118[29]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Carlos “Charlie” Uresti 9,878 100.00
Majority 9,878 100.00
Turnout 9,878
Democratic hold
Democratic primary, 1998: House District 118[30]
Candidate Votes % ±
Sylvia Ruiz-Mendelsohn 1,403 34.80
Carlos “Charlie” Uresti 2,629 65.20
Turnout 4,032


Special election runoff, House District 118 – Unexpired term[31]
June 21, 1997
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Sylvia Ruiz-Mendelsohn 1,557 35.69
Democratic Carlos “Charlie” Uresti 2,805 64.31
Turnout 4,362
Democratic hold
Special election, House District 118 – Unexpired term[31]
May 30, 1997
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Sylvia Ruiz-Mendelsohn 1,605 29.25
Republican Charley “Injun” Sanford 273 4.97
Democratic Davis Sosa 1,085 19.77
Democratic Carlos “Charlie” Uresti 2,525 46.01
Turnout 4,362


  1. ^ Texas Department of Health. Birth Certificate for Carlos Ismael Uresti, September 12, 1963. Index at (accessed December 17, 2006)
  2. ^ a b Texas Senate: Senator Carlos I. Uresti: District 19. Official biography. (accessed November 29, 2006).
  3. ^ "Reflections of a Southsider Turned State Senator - Rivard ReportRivard Report". 
  4. ^ a b "Meet Carlos - State Senator Carlos Uresti - Texas Senate District 19". 
  5. ^ "Tomas Uresti - Ballotpedia". 
  6. ^ "Uresti v Madla: Overview of a Texas Democratic primary bloodbath". Burnt Orange Report. Retrieved 2014-09-30. 
  7. ^ a b "2006 Democratic Party Primary Election". Office of the Secretary of State (Texas). Archived from the original on January 9, 2014. Retrieved 2006-11-26. 
  8. ^ "For Democratic Sen. Carlos Uresti, thoughts of drowning in the Republican wave". The Dallas Morning News. Retrieved 2014-09-30. 
  9. ^ Contreras, Guillermo; Danner, Patrick (February 16, 2017). "FBI, IRS raid state Sen. Carlos Uresti's San Antonio law office". San Antonio Express-News. Hearest Newspapers. Retrieved February 17, 2017. 
  10. ^ "Texas Sen. Carlos Uresti's office raided by FBI, IRS". KXAN-TV. February 16, 2017. Retrieved February 17, 2017. 
  11. ^ Patrick Danner and Guillermo Contreras, "Consulting firm was a target: Sen. Uresti's company is housed in same building as law business", San Antonio Express-News, February 26, 2017, pp. 1, A20.
  12. ^ Patrick Danner, "Woman sues Uresti for fraud: Harlingen resident claims she was tricked into FourWinds investment," San Antonio Express-News, March 10, 2017, pp. 1, A8.
  13. ^ Gerlach, Jeremy (September 16, 2013). "Uresti: TxDOT should reconsider gravel roads". San Antonio Express-News. Retrieved October 9, 2014. 
  14. ^ Brodesky, Josh (June 20, 2014). "Kids caught in toxic workplace of CPS". San Antonio Express-News. Retrieved October 9, 2014. 
  15. ^ Stoeltje, Melissa (April 1, 2014). "Town hall addresses abuse and neglect". San Antonio Express-News. Retrieved October 9, 2014. 
  16. ^ Lopez, Ashley (April 21, 2016). "How Will Texas Find the Resources Needed to Fix Child Protective Services?". Retrieved April 27, 2016. 
  17. ^ Uresti, Carlos (October 14, 2012). "Vote for Prop. 6 to help meet Texas water needs". San Antonio Express-News. Retrieved October 9, 2014. 
  18. ^ "Texas Legislature Online - 84(R) History for SB 12". 
  19. ^ Uncontested primary elections are not shown.
  20. ^ Office of the Secretary of State. 2016 Democratic Party Primary Election. (accessed April 27, 2016)
  21. ^ "2012 General Election". Office of the Secretary of State (Texas). Archived from the original on January 9, 2014. Retrieved 2009-09-30. 
  22. ^ "2010 General Election". Office of the Secretary of State (Texas). Archived from the original on January 9, 2014. Retrieved 2014-09-30. 
  23. ^ . Texas Tribune Retrieved 2014-09-25.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  24. ^ "2006 General Election". Office of the Secretary of State (Texas). Archived from the original on January 9, 2014. Retrieved 2006-11-26. 
  25. ^ "2006 Special November Elections". Office of the Secretary of State (Texas). Archived from the original on January 9, 2014. Retrieved 2006-11-26. 
  26. ^ Office of the Secretary of State. 2004 General Election. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on January 9, 2014. Retrieved 2006-12-19.  (accessed November 28, 2006)
  27. ^ Office of the Secretary of State. 2002 General Election. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on January 9, 2014. Retrieved 2006-12-19.  (accessed November 28, 2006)
  28. ^ Office of the Secretary of State. 2000 General Election. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on January 9, 2014. Retrieved 2006-12-19.  (accessed November 28, 2006)
  29. ^ Office of the Secretary of State. 1998 General Election. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on January 9, 2014. Retrieved 2006-12-19.  (accessed November 28, 2006)
  30. ^ Office of the Secretary of State. 1998 Democratic Party Primary Election. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on January 9, 2014. Retrieved 2006-12-19.  (accessed November 29, 2006)
  31. ^ a b Office of the Secretary of State. June 1997 Special Election Runoff. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on January 9, 2014. Retrieved 2006-12-19.  (accessed November 28, 2006)

External links[edit]

Texas House of Representatives
Preceded by
Ciro D. Rodriguez
Member of the Texas House of Representatives
from District 118 (San Antonio)

Succeeded by
Joe Farias
Texas Senate
Preceded by
Frank L. Madla
Texas State Senator
from District 19 (San Antonio)