March 23, 2017 - Issue: Vol. 163, No. 51 — Daily Edition115th Congress (2017 - 2018) - 1st Session
HONORING THE LIFE OF CONGRESSMAN ELIGIO ``KIKA'' DE LA GARZA; Congressional Record Vol. 163, No. 51
(Extensions of Remarks - March 23, 2017)
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[Extensions of Remarks] [Page E375] From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov] HONORING THE LIFE OF CONGRESSMAN ELIGIO ``KIKA'' DE LA GARZA _____ HON. HENRY CUELLAR of texas in the house of representatives Thursday, March 23, 2017 Mr. CUELLAR. Mr. Speaker, I rise today along with Congressman Filemon Vela Jr. and Congressman Vicente Gonzalez to commemorate the life of Congressman Eligio ``Kika'' de la Garza of Texas' 15th district. Congressman de la Garza was born on September 22nd, 1927, in Mercedes, Texas and raised in Mission, Texas. When he was 17 years old, he enlisted in the United States Navy, where he served during the final months of World War II. Upon his return home, he enrolled in Edinburg Junior College, and later transferred to St. Mary's University in San Antonio. Eventually, he would serve during the Korean War as a second lieutenant with the Army's 37th Division Artillery. After his service, he went on to earn a law degree from St. Mary's University in San Antonio. At 24 years old, Congressman de la Garza was elected to the Texas House of Representatives. He was an important leader in his community, who served as delegate in the Texas House for six consecutive terms. In 1965, Congressman de la Garza was elected to the United States House of Representatives, where he spent the next 32 years advocating for civil rights, food security, affordable health care, and access to education for all citizens. He was first a member, and later the chairman of the U.S. House Agricultural Committee. He and his committee crafted legislation focused on rural economic development, improved nutrition, and environmental protection. His legislative programs often brought together farmers, ranchers, consumers, and other interest groups. During his career in the House of Representatives, he also advocated for improved U.S. and Mexico relations including the North American Free Trade Agreement. For his efforts, he later received the Order of the Aztec Eagle, the highest honor Mexico can give to non-citizens. Congressman de la Garza was a pioneer who paved the way for more Hispanics to participate in our nation's legislative process. For a time, he was the only Hispanic member of the Texas House, and later became the second Hispanic member of Congress from the state of Texas. His dedication to the Hispanic community is evident in his role as a founding member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. Congressman de la Garza was an inspiration for the Hispanic community, and has empowered others to become active in our legislative process. His memory will be honored by his family, his friends, and the communities which he served. He is survived by his loving wife of 63 years, Lucille, as well as his three children, eight grandchildren, and one great-grand child. He will also continue to be honored at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, where they have the E. ``Kika'' de la Garza Endowed Scholarship Fund. Mr. Speaker, we are honored to have the opportunity to remember the legacy of Congressman Eligio ``Kika'' de la Garza. His dedication to his country, and his community, will not be forgotten. ____________________