State Representative Mike Villarreal is in his 6th term at the State Capitol fighting for investments in education, protecting the air we breathe and the water we drink, promoting policies that value hard work and aspiration, and ensuring that government is accountable to citizens.
Villarreal is a first generation Mexican-American and was born in 1971 in San Antonio. He was the first in his family to graduate from college. After graduating from Central Catholic High School in San Antonio, he attended San Antonio College, went on to receive an economics degree at Texas A&M, and later earned a Masters in Public Policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.
Rep. Villarreal’s professional background is in financial and economic research. He has worked as a Research Fellow at the Federal Reserve Board of Governors and currently works for SAMCO Capital Markets in San Antonio, specializing in municipal finance.
In 2000, as President of his Neighborhood Association, Rep. Villarreal won a grassroots campaign for State Representative with a one vote margin, defeating a judge backed by the local political bosses. He represents residents of District 123, which is in and around downtown San Antonio.
He is a recognized leader on many progressive issues, but is also known as a lawmaker who will listen to all sides, study the data, and reach his own independent decisions on tough issues.
Among his legislative accomplishments during the 2007 session, Rep. Villarreal passed bills to protect consumers from predatory tax refund loans, expand access to pre-k for former foster children, and promote recess in elementary schools.
Rep. Villarreal continued to fight for his constituents after the legislative session. He organized thousands of Texans to win support for new wind power infrastructure, brought community members to Austin to lobby for small business loans, and led a successful effort to boost family planning funding for clinic pharmacies.
He is the Vice Chair of the House Committee on Pensions and Investments and also serves on the House Committee on Local Government Ways and Means. Additionally, he serves as Co-Chair of the Women’s Health Caucus and belongs to the Air Quality Caucus, Community College Caucus, and others.
Texas Monthly recognized Rep. Villarreal as one of the “Ten Best Legislators” in the 79th legislative session. In 2007 he was recognized as the top State Representative of the year by the Capitol Annex Blog and San Antonio Current Reader’s Choice Awards.
Rep. Villarreal has earned a reputation as a hard worker, filing nearly 50 bills during the 2007 session. But he also likes to have fun. He camped out in a state park during the 80th legislative session, appeared on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, and is often spotted taking a bike ride along the San Antonio River with his wife Jeanne and two young children, Bella and Marcos.
He has an ambitious legislative agenda for 2009, including developing local funding options for public transportation, making college more affordable, expanding clean energy, boosting enrollment in quality pre-k programs, ensuring fairness in our property tax system, and several other initiatives.
You can keep up with Rep. Villarreal by reading his updates and signing up for his e-newsletter on his website, www.leaderslisten.org.