Ruben Hinojosa (D-Tex.)

U.S. Representative (since January 1997)

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Why He Matters

A Democrat representing Texas' 15th district since 1996, Hinojosa is a champion of increased access to college education, boosting the college enrollment of African-Americans and Hispanics, and alleviating poverty.

After being denied a spot on the House Ways and Means Committee in favor of an ally of Rep.Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), he later made a short-lived bid to run the House Democratic Caucus. In 2010, he was named the vice-chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

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Under pressure, Obama calls for immigration-enforcement review

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Ruben Hinojosa (D-Tex.)

U.S. Representative (since January 1997)


Oh, snap! The GOP misfires on food stamps.

(Tom Toles)

In trying to appeal to conservatives, Republicans are alienating the electorate.


At a Glance

  • Current Job: U.S. Representative (since
  • Career History: Executive, H&H Foods; State Board of Education, Texas (1974-1984); Board of Education, Mercedes School (1972-1974); Board of Regents, South Texas Community College (1993-1996)
  • Birthday: August 20, 1940
  • Hometown: Mercedes, Texas
  • Alma Mater: University of Texas-Austin, BBA (1962); University of Texas Pan American-Edinburg, MBA (1980)
  • Spouse: Martha Lopez
  • Religion: Catholic
  • Committees: Education and the Workforce ; Financial Services

Path To Power

Born in 1940 the eighth of 11 children raised in Hidalgo County on the Texas-Mexico border, Hinojosa spent his early years attending schools where nearly all students were Mexican-Americans and everyone spoke Spanish. At age 9, Hinojosa moved with his family to another part of the county, where more families spoke English and his father bought a meatpacking plant.

A graduate of the University of Texas, where he earned two business degrees, Hinojosa would eventually take over H&H Foods, the family business.

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The Issues

During the 111th Congress, Hinojosa voted with the majority of his party 99 percent of the time. During the 112th Congress under a Republican-led House, Hinojosa bucked the majority of his party and voted for the extension of of the USA Patriot Act as well as the 2011 budget compromise.

The Texas Democrat has pushed for legislation that would fund water-conservation projects along the border region.

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The Network

In 2003, Hinojosa co-founded the Rural Housing Caucus-which he now chairs-to bring national attention to the scarcity of housing in rural areas. He and Rep. Judy Biggert (R-Ill.) co-founded the House Financial Literacy and Economic Education Caucus, which in 2011 numbered 87 members from both sides of the aisle.

Hinojosa is the second-ranked member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, which is helmed by fellow Texan Rep. Charlie Gonzalez (D). Other Texas Democrats in the influential group include Reps. Silvestre Reyes and Henry Cuellar. Like Hinojosa, both have border districts.


Additional Resources

  1. Perez-Trevino, Emma, "Costly efforts to secure border not paying off" The Brownsville Herald, June 19, 2010
  2. Almanac of American Politics
  3. "Hinojosa Statement On The Vote On The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act" Oct. 3, 2008
  4. "Washington Post Votes Database"
  5. Kahn, Joseph, "Horse-Trading (and Pork) on Trade Bill" The New York Times, May 11, 2000
  6. Bresnahan, John, "House Democrat files for bankruptcy" Politico, Feb. 3, 2011
  7. Herman, Ken, "Hinojosa declares bid in new district" Austin American-Statesman, Jan. 15, 2004
  8. "2010 Election Results" The Washington Post
  9. Kuhnhenn, Jim, "House votes to rewrite student loan program" Lewiston Morning Tribune, March 22, 2010
  10. Martin, Gary, "Gonzalez new voice of Latino Democrats" San Antonio Express-News, Nov. 18, 2010
  11. "Water & Infrastructure"
  12. Billings, Erin P., "Vice Chair Hopefuls Make Urgent Pitches" Roll Call, Dec. 13, 2005
  13. Bernstein, Alan, "It's lonely at the polls" The Houston Chronicle, April 10, 1996
  14. Congressional Rural Housing Caucus, "Current Members of the Congressional Rural Housing Caucus," Congressional Rural Housing Caucus, 2009.
  15. Blustein, Paul and Mike Allen, "Trade Pact Approved By House" The Washington Post, July 28, 2005
  16. Brand, Peter, "Hispanic Dems chide Pelosi on assignments" The Hill, Jan. 15, 2003
  17. Dervarics, Charles, "Approved HEA Bill Offers More Aid For Low-Income Students" Black Issues in Higher Education, Aug. 21, 2008
  18. "Immigration"
  19. Brezosky, Lynn, "Hinojosa touts record of improving conditions in South Texas" The Associated Press, Oct. 13, 2004
  20. Janes, Jared, "Delegation touts health care reform as 'best choice' for South Texas" The Brownsville Herald, March 22, 2010
  21. "Hinojosa Statement On New 15th Congressional District Map" Aug. 4, 2006
  22. "Congressman Ruben Hinojosa Announces Passage of Border Security Bill (Bill provides $600 Million for Southwest Border)" Aug. 10, 2010
  23. Lopez, Naxiely, "Texas lawmakers weigh in on immigration reform speech" The Monitor, July 2, 2010