Rafael Anchía was elected in November 2004 as the representative of House District 103 in the Texas House of Representatives. District 103 covers a western corridor of Dallas, including parts of North Oak Cliff, West Dallas, La Bajada, Los Altos, Love Field, North Park and portions of the cities of Irving, Farmers Branch and Carrollton.
In the 81st Legislative Session, Representative Anchia serves as Vice-Chair of the Pensions, Investments and Financial Services Committee and continues his service on the Elections and Local and Consent Calendars Committee. During the interim, Representative Anchia was appointed to the Texas Sunset Advisory Commission by Speaker Joe Straus.
Rep. Anchía maintains a genuine passion for helping people and true empathy for their struggles and aspirations. These qualities are a byproduct of his family background, varied professional training and numerous public, civic and volunteer commitments. During his service in the Legislature, Rep. Anchía has worked on legislation to fight crime, improve public safety, protect our environment and improve health coverage for women and children.
Rep. Anchía is the son of immigrants from Mexico and Spain who came to this great country in search of the American dream. As a child, he watched his mother work her way through college and was proud when she became a public school teacher. His father, who mainly worked nights, emphasized education and taught him the value of taking pride in honest, hard work. As part of his high-quality public school education in a new-immigrant community, he participated in a “court observer” program that inspired him to become a lawyer and enter public service. Rep. Anchía has always viewed educational opportunity and achievement as the gateway to personal and professional fulfillment. Expanding educational opportunities for others is a powerful, driving force underlying his public service.
His high school marks earned him a scholarship to Southern Methodist University, allowing him to triple-major in Latin American Studies, Spanish and Anthropology and graduate with Honors. During college, he attended the Centro Estudiantil Internacional in Madrid, studying Spain’s, art, literature, politics and history and their influence in the Americas. A generous scholarship drew Rep. Anchía to Tulane University in New Orleans for his law studies where he concentrated on international and public law. In his legislative advocacy class, he worked on legislation that ultimately became law creating a statewide ombudsman to monitor conditions in Louisiana nursing homes. In law school, Rep. Anchía also served as a volunteer advocate for immigrant detainees denied the benefit of counsel.
Rep. Anchía began his public service at the local level where he was twice elected to the Board of Trustees of the Dallas Independent School District – the nation’s 12th largest. During his tenure on the Dallas School Board, he served as First Vice President and chaired the Policy and Governance Committee. During his tenure as a Trustee, he helped lead the successful effort of the Dallas ISD to win public approval of a $1.37 billion school bond package. He is proud that thousands of children in DISD benefit from new, improved and less-crowded classrooms.
Rep. Anchía is an attorney with the law firm of Haynes & Boone, LLP. He specializes in public and corporate finance. In addition to his legal work, Rep. Anchía has distinguished himself in pro bono service and contributions to his community, earning his prior firm’s 2000 Pro Bono Associate of the Year award. A colleague described Rep. Anchía as “someone who has proven his dedication to community service at every level, inspiring partners, associates and staff at the firm.”
In 2003, Rep. Anchía also received the “Rising Star” award from the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Dallas for contributions made to improving the lives of young people in his community. And in 2005, the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) honored Rep. Anchía as its national “Man of the Year” at its annual conference in Little Rock, Arkansas.
In November 2006, Anchía won unanimous re-election to the Board of Directors, and was chosen Chairman of the Board of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund for a three-year term. NALEO is the leading organization that facilitates full Latino participation in the American political process, from citizenship to public service. The national non-profit is a non-partisan organization whose members include the more than 6,000 Latino elected and appointed officials nationwide.
Anchía also is a member of various professional, civic and charitable organizations, including: the Leadership Dallas Alumni Association, the Dallas Assembly, the SMU Clements Center on Southwest Studies and the Oak Cliff Lions Club.
Most importantly, Rep. Anchía lives in North Oak Cliff with his wife, Marissa, and daughters, Sofia and Maia, and worships with the Catholic Campus Community at SMU.
Texas Monthly “Rookie of the Year”: Each session, Texas Monthly reviews the Texas Legislature and hands out awards for Best and Worst Legislators. In addition, they offer recognition for Rookies of the Year. Texas Monthly stated, “The Tulane-educated lawyer had big shoes to fill as the successor to perennial Best Legislator Steve Wolens and got off to a promising start as a force in floor debate. His finest moment came during the fight over school vouchers.”
During the 79th Session, Rep. Anchia was also named “Freshman of the Year” by the Mexican American Legislative Caucus and a “Top Freshman” by Capitol Inside who wrote of him, “fellow House members got to know Anchia this year as a lawmaker who has the poise, intellect and style to be a major star on some higher level.”
Named by Texas Monthly as one of its “Ten Best Legislators.” Texas Monthly wrote this about Rep. Anchia, “If the Legislature were a stock market, Rafael Anchia would be Google.In only his second term, Anchia emerged as a top floor debater in the fight over the voter ID bill.When his ambitious legislative program of environmental bills – mostly improving energy efficiency – stalled, he looked for donkeys on which to pin the tail, and he found Republicans willing to let him attach his proposals to theirs. Recommendation: Buy.”
Named “Legislative Crime Fighter of the Year” by the North Texas Crime Commission.
Named by True Courage Action Network as one of its “Top Five Legislators.”
Received in August 2009 the American Jewish Committee’s Institute of Human Relations Award.
Received in September 2009 the Mexican American Legal and Education Defense Fund’s Matt Garcia Public Service Award.
Named by Texas Lawyer magazine in its September 2009 issue as one of the Éxtraordinary Minorities in Texas Law.
Named “Legislator of the Year” by Public Citizen in November 2009.
Appointed to the Texas Sunset Advisory Commission by Speaker Joe Straus in November 2009.