August 28, 2013

MISSION, August 28 – Mission land developer and real estate broker Dolly Elizondo-Garcia is running for state representative in Texas House District 36.

The former Hidalgo County Democratic Party chair announced her candidacy in an exclusive interview with the Guardian on Wednesday. In the Democratic Party primary next March Elizondo-Garcia will challenge two-term state Rep. Sergio Muñoz, Jr.

“I have been involved a lot in the local community and I believe this is the next step,” Elizondo-Garcia said.

“I really believe there is a lack of advocacy for issues that really mean something to the constituents of House District 36, such as access to healthcare, education, and women’s issues. The representative we have is not advocating for us. There are some gaps there in House District 36 that needs filling in and it is just not getting done.”

District 36 includes parts or all of the Hidalgo County cities of Hidalgo, Granjeno, McAllen, Mission, Palmview, and Pharr.

Elizondo-Garcia was educated at Mission High School and the University of Texas-Pan American, where she earned a Master’s degree in education. She is married to attorney Albert T. Garcia and has two daughters, one stepson and one stepdaughter.

Elizondo-Garcia served as chair of Hidalgo County Democratic Party from 2008 to 2012. She is currently chair of Precinct 203 for Hidalgo County Democratic Party. In the past she has served as a board member for St. Joseph’s Catholic School in Edinburg.

Elizondo-Garcia said if elected to the Texas House her main issues will be improving access to healthcare, including women’s healthcare, championing public and higher education, and fighting for the business community.

“I am a businessperson. I have been in business in Mission for over 17 years. I have never been asked for an opinion on any business matter. I have never seen a town hall meeting that has focused on business issues. The business community is very important. There has been a lack of engagement from the incumbent when it comes to the needs of business,” Elizondo-Garcia.

On access to healthcare, Elizondo-Garcia said Muñoz was missing in action when it came to pushing for an expansion to Medicaid. Hundreds of millions of healthcare dollars could have come to the Rio Grande Valley had Gov. Rick Perry agreed to expand Medicaid to cover adults. “I understand we Democrats are the minority party in Austin but more could have been done by our representative. I was not happy with many of his votes and his failure to file bills of substance,” Elizondo-Garcia said.

Elizondo-Garcia said she has been asked to run for the Texas House before by city and community leaders. However, she said, because of redistricting, this would have meant moving home. “My home is Mission. My roots are in Mission. I am a Mission girl. I have served on many boards here. This is where I need to run,” she said.

Elizondo-Garcia is on the state board of Annie’s List, which advocates for and funds progressive women candidates. Annie’s List has offered to help fund an Elizondo-Garcia campaign for the Texas House in the past and could be expected to in the future. For this to happen, though, she will have to relinquish her position on the group’s board of directors.

Annie’s List was a high profile supporter of Muñoz’s Democratic Party opponent in 2010, Mission educator Sandra Rodriguez. The seat was open at the time following the retirement of state Rep. Ismael “Kino” Flores, D-Mission. Muñoz, D-Mission, is the son of former state Rep. Sergio Muñoz, Sr. He held the seat before Flores.

Muñoz is a member of the House Committee on Appropriations, which handles the state budget, the House Committee on Insurance, and the House Committee on Local and Consent Calendars. Muñoz is running for re-election.

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