A south side San Antonio native, Representative Philip Cortez was first elected in 2012 and returned in 2016 to serve his lifelong community as State Representative for District 117. He earned his associate’s degree from Palo Alto Community College in 2000 and a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Texas at San Antonio in 2002. Representative Cortez later earned a master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of Texas at San Antonio in 2007. He is writing his dissertation for a PhD in Educational Administration at the University of Texas at Austin.
Prior to his position as State Representative, Representative Cortez was elected in 2007 and re-elected in 2009 to the San Antonio City Council. As Councilman, he represented District 4, focusing on the development of the district’s neighborhoods and on improvement projects citywide. He fought to improve police and fire departments, clean up parks, and modernize libraries throughout the district. Mayor Julian Castro selected Representative Cortez to serve as chairman of the Audit, Infrastructure and Growth Committees, President of the San Antonio Housing Trust Public Facility Corporation, and as a member of the Governance Committee.
Since 1999, Representative Cortez has proudly served his country in the U.S. Air Force. He served for seven years as an enlisted airman with the 433rd Airlift Wing at Lackland Air Force Base, eventually rising to Staff Sergeant. In 2006, Representative Cortez was commissioned a Second Lieutenant. Cortez was deployed to the Middle East in April 2016 for six months in support of Operation Inherent Resolve. Representative Cortez was awarded a Commendation Medal (First Oak Leaf Cluster) for Outstanding Achievement during his deployment. In 2013, during the 83rd Session, Representative Cortez was named a “Top Freshman Legislator” by Capitol Insider Publication. Representative Cortez’ priorities for the current 85th Session are veterans services, public schools, senior citizen care, and job creation.