SENATE WELCOMES PETER FLORES AS NEWEST MEMBER
(AUSTIN) — Senator Peter "Pete" Flores of Pleasanton took the oath of office Friday, becoming the newest member of the Texas Senate. Flores won a special election for Senate District 19 in September, and will now represent the largest district in the state, stretching from western Bexar County all the way to Reeves County in West Texas, covering 35,000 miles and includes 400 miles of the international border with Mexico. Flores won his seat by crisscrossing the district, putting more than 7,000 miles on his truck in five weeks of campaigning, said Lt. Governor Dan Patrick. "To win a campaign, you have to have a good candidate and you have to have someone who is willing to work hard," said Patrick. "He was the best candidate, and he worked hard…knocking on doors, introducing himself, meeting voters, many who had never had anyone knock on their door to introduce themselves and ask for their vote." Patrick pointed to the increase in enthusiasm for the run-off election as proof of his hard work. While run-offs normally see a decrease in turnout, turnout for the SD 19 run-off almost doubled the first round of voting, rising from 26,000 voters to 44,000 in September. "That is an historic, all time high of a percentage of people turning out for a run-off election [in Texas], and that's attributable to you, Pete," Patrick said.
Flores is a former Texas game warden who rose to the rank of colonel and head of the Law Enforcement Division of the Parks and Wildlife Department, the first Hispanic Texan to hold that post. Carter Smith, the current executive director of TPWD, offered effusive praise for Flores at Friday's ceremony. "I first met Pete about a dozen years ago and his reputation as a lawman aptly preceded him," said Smith. "Plenty affable, plenty likable, he'd give you the shirt off his back if he thought you needed it. He was also no-nonsense, a straight shooter, somebody who was absolutely not confused about what was right and what was wrong."
Flores was gracious in victory, thanking his family and constituents for their support. In his inaugural speech, Flores identified property tax reform, economic development and support for law enforcement as his top priorities for the upcoming session. "We’re all here for a better Texas, all of us, and with that in mind we'll get there," he told his colleagues. "With me, you're going to have an open mind and you're going to have some one who will listen and who is with you towards the same goal: to be a better Texas."
A graduate of Texas A&M University, Flores grew up in Laredo and settled in Pleasanton in 2012 following his retirement after 27 years as a game warden. He and his wife Elizabeth have two daughters and two grandchildren.