News Column

Garcia, Third Latina Sworn in as Texas Senator

March 12, 2013

Mike Ward

Former Harris County Commissioner Sylvia Garcia was sworn in Monday as Texas' newest state senator, a record seventh woman and the third Hispanic woman serving in the Upper Chamber.

She replaces veteran Sen. Mario Gallegos, also a Democrat, who passed away last year after representing Senate District 6 for 17 years. Garcia was elected in a runoff this month by defeating state Rep. Carol Alvarado, D-Houston.

Garcia completes the 31-member Senate roster for the first time since the Legislature convened this year, with Gallegos' seat vacant.

Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, said that when she joined the Senate in 1986, only eight woman total had ever served in the senate -- and she and Eddie Bernice Johnson of Dallas were the first two to serve at the same time. Zaffirini was the first Hispanic woman to serve.

Margie Neal of Carthage was the first woman to serve in the Senate, starting in 1927.

Garcia, who was sworn into office earlier in the day, took her seat at a front-row desk for the first time when the Senate convened at 2 p.m. "I believe in short and sweet," she said in her brief thank-you to senators who gave her a standing ovation.

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst quickly assigned Garcia to four committees: Government Operations, Intergovernmental Relations, Jurisprudence and Nominations.



Source: (c)2013 Austin American-Statesman, Texas. Distributed by MCT Information Services.


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