FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 7, 2005
AUSTIN, TX--“It is with sadness that the Texas Senate will be bidding farewell to a long-time friend and colleague, Senator Gonzalo Barrientos, who announced today that he will not be seeking re-election next year. He has served the people of his district (Senatorial District 14) and of this state with solid loyalty for 30 years. Truly a champion of the working people of Texas, Senator Barrientos is to be commended for passing legislation that protects the rights and benefits of all workers and particularly, state employees.
This outstanding legislator and statesman can also be credited with significant legislation throughout his tenure that led to a reduction of the school dropout rate across Texas. He was equally instrumental in making sure that minority students were better represented at institutions of higher education through his staunch support of the Top 10 Percent Rule. Senator Barrientos didn’t just dedicate his public service to protecting state employees and students; he also championed bills aimed at eliminating abuse of the elderly.
I recall working closely with him throughout our years in the Texas Senate. One of my fondest memories will be of how hard Senator Barrientos worked to give Texas homeowners a homestead exemption that truly benefited everyone, unlike the various proposals made during the 79th regular and special sessions. He proposed to raise the current homestead exemption of $15,000 to $30,000, and in that cause, as I had in several others, I once again stood by him.
Most of all, I wish to thank Senator Barrientos and his family for their dedication. He forged a path for so many in this state as the first Hispanic elected to the Texas House of Representatives. He also served in dozens of House and Senate Committees, showing his leadership skills in guiding issues and bills through the legislative process. The halls of the Capitol building he so loves will seem a little less vibrant when he is absent from our presence.
To echo the words Senator Barrientos once expressed in a speech, ‘All is not done for Texas. We are good, but not perfect—so we have much yet to do. It is our duty to maintain what is most precious to any Texan—our spirit.’ And indeed Senator Barrientos had spirit, gave spirit and will leave us with the spirit to persevere and to serve the people of Texas with integrity and might.”