Juan M. Escobar
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|Juan M. Escobar|
|Kleberg County Judge|
Juan M. Escobar is a former county judge of Kleberg County, Texas. He was born and raised in the pioneer Texas settlement of Escobares in Starr County, which was founded in 1753. A seventh generation Tejano he graduated from Roma High School and obtained a Biology degree from University of Texas - Pan American in Edinburg, Texas.
Early life and education
Early in his life, Escobar was a migrant worker. He was provided instruction on the value of work at an early age by his mother and grandfather, both as the means for success in life as well as to understand the value of an education.
In high school, Escobar was a star athlete and an academic student. He excelled in basketball and track and field, as well as graduated in the top 10% of his class. His accomplishments in basketball gave him the honor of being the first student from Roma High School to ever be selected to the Texas All-State Class AA first team selection. He made the state finals in track and field competing in the 440 Class AA and was also Student Council President his senior year in High School.
Escobar served with the 1st Marine Division in Vietnam where he was wounded in action in 1970. He rose to the rank of Sergeant and was assigned to United States Marine Barracks 8th & I in Washington, D.C. where he was a pall bearer for Presidents Lyndon B. Johnson and Harry S. Truman. He ended his duties as a Marine and was promoted to the rank of Staff Sergeant in the United States Marine Corps Reserve where he served as a Platoon Sergeant with a Reco Unit.
He began his career with U.S. Border Patrol in 1978 and was the "Patrol Agent in Charge" at the Sarita checkpoint for several years. His exceptional service with the Border Patrol led to his promotion to Senior Special Agent with the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force. He retired from the Department of Homeland Security in 2003.
Juan M. Escobar was elected to the Texas House of Representatives in a special election to replace the late Irma Rangel in May 2003. He served in that capacity until January 2009. An advocate for public schools and higher education, he has undertaken veterans and school teacher's issues, beach erosion and human services as his major legislative agenda. He served as Vice Chair of the Defense Affairs—State Federal Relations, Criminal Jurisprudence, House Administration, Border and Intergovernmental Affairs and Land and Resource Management.
In 2008 he was defeated by fellow Democrat Tara Rios Ybarra 53.74% to his 46.25% in a higher than average turnout election.
In 2010 he was elected as Kleberg County Judge, and served until December 2014.
Community Involvement and Personal Life
He has been involved in numerous community and church groups, and served as a school board trustee in Falfurrias and Kingsville for thirteen years including eight years as President. A founder of the "Last Patrol" he is a strong supporter of Veterans issues. The Last Patrol is a non-profit veterans group based in South Texas formed to bring attention to POWs and MIAs in Vietnam. It has since expanded to work on establishing Veteran Hospitals, particularly in South Texas.
A historian and genealogist of South Texas history, he is also an accomplished singer and composer. Representative Escobar lives in Kingsville, Texas with his wife of 43 years, Maria del Rosario (Rosie). He is a lay minister and former administrator for St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Kingsville. He serves as a Major in the Civil Air Patrol.
His children are Yvonne Yvette and Eduardo Eden, daughter in law Marleena and two grandsons Branden Luke and Jacob Dylan.
Achievements and Offices Held
- Received the Purple Heart Medal for Wounds in Action.
- Received the Combat Action Ribbon.
- Received the Presidential Unit Citation, the Meritorious Unit Citation, the Vietnam Service Medal (with three stars), Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, the Good Conduct Medal and the National Defense Medal.
- Served with the Presidential Honor Guard, Marine Barracks Washington, D.C.
- Pallbearer for Presidents Lyndon B. Johnson and Harry S. Truman.
- Pallbearer for J. Edgar Hoover, Director of the FBI.
- Pallbearer for Lt. General Lewis Burwell "Chesty" Puller.
- Pallbearer for Former Commandant of the US Marine Corps, during World War II and recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor, General Alexander Vandergrift.
- Worked at the White House, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the Pentagon.
- Life member of the Veterans of Foreign War.
- Life member of the Disabled American Veterans.
- Life member of the Military Order of the Purple Heart.
- Life member of the United States Marine Corps League.
- Commander of Ronchester Santiago DAV Chapter Kingsville, Texas, 2010-2011.
- Commander of South Texas Chapter Military of the Purple Heart, Kingsville, Texas, 2010-2011.
- Texas State Chief of Staff to the Military Order of the Purple Heart 2010-2011.
- Commander of V.F.W. Post 7634, Falfurrias, Texas, 1982-1986.
- President of PTA, Falfurrias, Texas, 1984-1985.
- Chairman County Appraisal District, Brooks County, Texas, 1985-1988.
- School Board Trustee, Brooks County I.S.D., Falfurrias, TX, 1985-1988.
- School Board President of Board of Trustees, Brooks County I.S.D., Falfurrias, TX, 1987–1988
- President of PTA Central Cluster, Kingsville, Texas,1989-1991.
- Member of the Private Industry Council, Coastal Bend of Texas, 1990-1993.
- Administrator for Saint Joseph's Catholic Church Kingsville, TX, 2002.
- School Board Trustee, Kingsville I.S.D., 1997-2003.
- School Board President of Board of Trustees, Kingsville I.S.D., 1998-2003.
- Member of the Texas Work Force Commission Coastal Bend of Texas, 2000-2003.
- Member of the Texas State Bar Ethics committee, 2001-2003.
- Member of the Texas House of Representatives, 2003–2009
- Irma Rangel Award School of Pharmacy Award by the Coastal Bend Pharmacy Association - 2005
- Member of the following committees of the Texas House of Representatives: Border and Intergovernmental Affairs, House Administration, Criminal Jurisprudence and Land and Resource Management.
- Vice-Chairman of the Texas House of Representatives committee on State and Federal Affairs.
- Member of the National Energy Task Force 2007.
- Legislator of the Year Vietnam Veterans of America – 2007.
- Legislator of the Year Sierra Club of Texas – 2007
- Legislator of the year American Civil Liberties Union of Texas -2007
- Recognized by the Texas Border Sheriff's Coalition – 2007
- Johnny Canales American G.I. Form award for excellence - 2007
- Cantu, Gloria-Bigger, "County judge-elect says leadership key to success" Archived 18 October 2010 at the Wayback Machine. Kingsville Record and Bishop News, 28 April 2010, Retrieved 8 June 2011.
- Ibid. Archived 18 October 2010 at the Wayback Machine.
- Ibid. Archived 18 October 2010 at the Wayback Machine.
- Legislative Reference Library of Texas retrieved 8 June 2011
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 9 January 2014. Retrieved 2007-01-04.