Henry Cuellar

Henry Cuellar

name = Henry Roberto Cuellar

date of birth = birth date and age|1955|09|19
place of birth = Laredo, Texas
state = Texas
district = 28th
termstart =January 3, 2005
preceded = Ciro Rodriguez
succeeded = Incumbent
party = Democratic
spouse = Imelda Cuellar
religion = Roman Catholic
occupation= attorney, customs broker
residence= Laredo, Texas
alma_mater= Georgetown University, University of Texas, Texas A&M University

Henry Roberto Cuellar (born September 19, 1955) is a Democratic politician from Laredo, Texas, who represents his state's 28th Congressional district ( [http://nationalatlas.gov/printable/images/preview/congdist/tx28_109.gifmap] ) in the United States House of Representatives. Cuellar's district extends from the Rio Grande to the suburbs of San Antonio, including Guadalupe County.


Cuellar was born in Laredo, Texas where he has resided for most of his life. The oldest of nine children, Cuellar's parents, Mr. and Mrs. Martin S. Cuellar, were migrant workers who never surpassed the fifth grade. He graduated in 1973 from J. W. Nixon High School, a classmate of future Webb County District Attorney Joe Rubio, Jr. [ [http://www.laredosnews.com/archives/nov2002/local_03.htm :: LareDosnews.com :: - Local ] ] Cuellar then procured an associate's degree from Laredo Community College (then known as Laredo Junior College), where he would later for a time instruct government courses on an adjunct basis. He then attended the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. He also holds a degree in International Trade from Texas A&M International University in Laredo, and a Juris Doctor and a Ph.D from the University of Texas at Austin.

Prior to being elected to the United States House of Representatives, Cuellar was a member of the Texas House of Representatives from 1987 to 2001, representing part of Laredo. He was selected Secretary of State of Texas in 2001 by Republican Governor Rick Perry. Before turning to politics, Cuellar was a lawyer and owned a private trade firm.

Cuellar and his wife, Imelda, have two daughters, Christina Alexandra and Catherine Ann.

Cuellar's brother, Martin J. Cuellar (born May 16, 1958), is a law enforcement officer and the apparent Democratic nominee for sheriff of Webb County in 2008. Cuellar won a recount of ballots from the April 8 runoff election by thirty-nine votes. Following a judicial hearing of the election contest petition in which a new election was requested, Martin Cuellar was declared the victor by 42 votes and the request for a new election was denied. Outgoing Sheriff Rick Flores declined to file an appeal to the 4th Court of Appeals, meaning Martin Cuellar will assume the office of Webb County Sheriff in January 2009.

Election to the House of Representatives

In the 2002 election, Cuellar was the Democratic Party nominee for the House of Representatives in Texas's 23rd congressional district. He lost to five-term incumbent Republican Henry Bonilla by two percentage points in the closest race Bonilla had faced to that date.

Cuellar spent much of the early part of 2003 preparing for a rematch against Bonilla. However, the 2003 Texas redistricting shifted most of Laredo, which had been the heart of the 23rd since its creation in 1966, into the 28th district, represented by Democrat Ciro Rodriguez. Cuellar challenged Rodriguez for the nomination and won it by 58 votes [ [http://asp.usatoday.com/news/politicselections/CandidateProfile.aspx?ci=327&oi=H USATODAY.com ] ] . Cuellar's victory was one of only two primary upsets of incumbents, from either party, in the entire country.

The 28th is far more Democratic than the 23rd, and Cuellar's victory in the general election was a foregone conclusion. In November, he defeated Republican Jim Hopson of Seguin by a 20-point margin.

Cuellar's election to the House in 2004 was a standout for Democrats in a year in which Republicans gained seats in Texas in the House of Representation because of redistricting.

2006 election

On March 7, 2006, Cuellar again defeated Rodriguez in the Democratic primary with 52 percent of the vote in a three-way race. No Republican even bothered to file, apparently assuring him of reelection in November.

On June 29, the U.S. Supreme Court declared that the Texas Legislature violated the rights of Latino voters when it shifted most of Laredo out of the 23rd and replaced it with several heavily Republican San Antonio suburbs. [ [http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/06/29/ap/politics/mainD8IHPP180.shtml Redistrict Ruling May Affect Nov. Election, Ruling That Congressional District in Texas Is Unconstitutional May Effect Nov. Election - CBS News ] ] As a result, nearly every congressional district from El Paso to San Antonio had to be redrawn, and the primary results for these districts were invalidated. A court drew a new map in which all of Laredo was moved into the 28th district while the south San Antonio area was moved to the 23rd. An election open to all candidates with a runoff if no candidate won 50% was scheduled for the date of the general election, November 7, 2006.In the general election on November 7, 2006, Cuellar had no Republican opposition but handily defeated Ron Avery of McQueeney, the chairman of the conservative Constitution Party in Guadalupe County and trial attorney and Democrat Frank Enriquez of McAllen, taking nearly 68% of the 77,000+ votes.

Cuellar's two main political rivals, Bonilla and Rodriguez, ran against each other in the 23rd, and Rodriguez won the election in the runoff. The Republican Bonilla was hence out of Congress for the first time since his upset election in 1992.

2008 election

Cuellar is unopposed in the March 4, 2008, Democratic primary. In the November 4 general election, Cuellar faces Republican James Taylor "Jim" Fish (born 1958), a health care consultant from Cibolo in Guadalupe County. [Julian Aguilar, "DA, sheriff tilts evoke lively campaign brawls", "Laredo Morning Times", January 4, 2008, pp. 1, 11A; http://preview.ussearch.com/preview/newsearch;jsessionid=618096F8C7F060B6E662B8F7B2BCCEF9?searchFName=james&searchMName=&searchLName=fish&searchCity=cibolo&searchState=TX&searchApproxAge=45&adID=10002101&searchtab=people&x=40&y=15]

Career in Congress

However, Cuellar has not always been a party loyalist; he endorsed Republican George W. Bush for President in 2000 but supported John F. Kerry in 2004. Additionally, during Bush's 2006 State of the Union address, a "Washington Post" photographer snapped a photo of Cuellar standing on the Republican side of the aisle, beaming as President Bush affectionately grabbed his face. Soon after the release of this photo, campaign contributions for his Democratic primary opponent, Ciro Rodriguez, saw an immediate and significant increase. Rep. Cuellar defeated Ciro in primary election and since then has seen an increased role within the Democratic House Caucus. He has been given a Senior Whip position within the Democratic Caucus, and is also the Subcommittee Chairman for Homeland Security Preparedness, First Responders, and Communications. Cuellar also serves as the only Texas Democrat on the House Committee on Agrigulture.

Cuellar describes himself as a "moderate-centrist". In the 2006 primary, he gained the endorsement of the Club for Growth, a conservative group that usually endorses Republicans.

When he was first elected, the Blue Dog Democrats, a group of moderate to conservative Democrats in the House, were in a period of reconsidering membership guidelines and were not accepting new members. He is a member of the New Democrat Coalition.

Endorses Hillary Rodham Clinton

On June 15, 2007, Cuellar announced that he was endorsing U.S. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton for President in 2008. "Senator Clinton is the only candidate with the experience and toughness to hit the ground running on her first day in the White House," Cuellar said. Cuellar in 2007 held a fundraiser for Clinton in Laredo, which raised over $200,000 -- aided by the presence of former President Bill Clinton. Laredo's Democratic Mayor Raul G. Salinas has joined Cuellar in early support of Hillary Clinton.


External links

* [http://www.house.gov/cuellar/ U.S. Congressman Henry Cuellar] official U.S. House site
* [http://www.henrycuellar.com/ Henry Cuellar for Congressman] official campaign site
* [http://herndon1.sdrdc.com/cgi-bin/can_detail/H2TX23082/ Federal Election Commission — Henry R Cuellar] campaign finance reports and data
* [http://www.ontheissues.org/TX/Henry_Cuellar.htm On the Issues — Henry Cuellar] issue positions and quotes
* [http://www.opensecrets.org/politicians/summary.asp?CID=N00024978 OpenSecrets.org — Henry Cuellar] campaign contributions
* [http://www.vote-smart.org/bio.php?can_id=BS023570 Project Vote Smart — Representative Henry Cuellar (TX)] profile
* [http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Henry_Cuellar SourceWatch Congresspedia — Henry Cuellar] profile
* [http://projects.washingtonpost.com/congress/members/c001063/ Washington Post — Congress Votes Database: Henry Cuellar] voting record

###@@@KEY@@@###TXHouseSuccession box
district = 43
hometown = Laredo
before = William N. "Billy" Hall, Jr.
after = Pedro G. Nieto
years = 1987–1993
TXHouseSuccession box
district = 42
hometown = Laredo
before = Renato Cuellar
after = Richard Pena Raymond
years = 1993–2001
succession box
title=Secretary of State of Texas
before=Elton Bomer
after=Gwen Shea
before=Ciro Rodriguez

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