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      Sen. José Rodríguez: Texas must prioritize school finance solution

      by state Sen. José Rodríguez, special to the El Paso Times—

      School is right around the corner, and so is a ruling on the state’s system of school finance. In February 2013, District Judge John Dietz issued a preliminary bench ruling that Texas’ school funding system is unconstitutionally inadequate for bilingual …

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      Capitol Education

      Dear friend: Last week in the Texas Capitol we heard important discussions about the future of education in Texas. The discussions came during hearings of the Senate committees on Education and Higher Education (April 14 and 15, respectively). Those committees …

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      A vote that moves the New Texas forward, but more work ahead

      AUSTIN – The State Board of Education (SBOE) voted 11-3 to add Special Topics in Social Studies to include Mexican American, African American, Native American and Asian American Studies. “This is a step forward,” said Senator José Rodríguez, Chairman of the Senate Hispanic Caucus (SHC), …

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      Heroes for a brighter future

      by State Sens Jose Rodriguez and Sylvia R. Garcia—

      If you’ve seen the recently released “Cesar Chavez” in the movies, you heard the iconic phrase, “We’ve seen the future and the future is ours.” Cesar Chavez might as well have been talking about today’s Texas Latinos. As Gary Scharrer, …

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      ¡Cesar Chavez Day!

      Dear friend: I was student body president at Pan American University in 1971 when we brought Cesar Chavez to speak to the school. Yes, I looked like this in college. It was controversial. At that time Cesar Chavez was seen …

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      Get covered: 100 hours to go for ACA deadline

      We have begun the countdown of 100 hours until the deadline for uninsured people to sign up for health insurance. The deadline is at 9:59 p.m. MST, Monday, March 31. The state delegation, Sen. José Rodríguez, Rep. Joe Pickett, Rep. …

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      Heritage

      Dear friend: Recently, I visited Hueco Tanks. Although I have been there many times, the guided tour reminded me of the scope and breadth of its importance. Hueco Tanks, a place of beauty in its own right, embraces more than …

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      Issues

        Education

        A former migrant farm worker, Jose understands that education is the key to individual and community success.

        Various measures indicate El Paso, and the State of Texas, rank below national average indicators, for example, per pupil expenditures, teacher pay, and Hispanic high school and college graduates.

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        Border Issues

        Jose firmly believes that the future of the Border is the future of the State (and indeed the nation). But the reality is that Border communities like El Paso have historically experienced a myriad of problems which contribute to slow growth and lack of prosperity, including inadequate funding of education, transportation, healthcare facilities, and job skills training and employment programs.

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        Healthcare

        Access to healthcare is a critical issue for El Paso, the state, and the nation. El Paso suffers from a severe shortage of doctors and other healthcare professionals, a lack of medical infrastructure, and a high uninsured population.

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        Jobs & Economy

        While El Paso is making significant economic gains, its low tax base, high unemployment, and lack of high paying jobs are a barrier to economic prosperity. Young college graduates are unable to find sufficient job opportunities and leave, while other workers find only low wage jobs.

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        Government & Ethics

        Across the nation, including in El Paso, public corruption has grown like a cancer and tested the will of citizens to reign in those who spread it.

        “Pay to play “in the government procurement process, gifts, and other undue influences

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        Public Safety

        Despite El Paso’s designation as the second safest city in the nation, the drug war violence in Cd. Juarez, Mexico has raised legitimate concerns about spill over violence into El Paso. Of particular concern are transnational gangs operating in El Paso that work for the drug cartels.

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        Transportation

        Adequate transportation and related infrastructure remain a critical need in El Paso; without them, El Paso’s progress will be stymied. State transportation funding has literally dried up and our challenge is to find new ways of generating funds to meet transportation needs. 

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