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.

                          ____________________