Public Service a Family Affair for Lucio
By Krista Rinehart, CSG Toll Fellows Program Director
Public service and leadership are hereditary in the case of Eddie Lucio III of Brownsville, Texas. Rep. Lucio followed in the footsteps of his father, Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr., when he ran for office in 2006.
“I’ve had the good fortune of growing up in a family dedicated to public service and to have a father who instilled the values of leadership and faith, which have guided me,” said Lucio.
After watching his father’s example and seeking to lead as he grew up and got an education, holding elected office seemed a natural step for Lucio.
“From what I can remember, I’ve always strived to be a leader within my community,” said Lucio, “whether that be in politics or not. My first major leadership position came when I was the student body vice president at the University of Texas Law School. While there, I got involved with tuition deregulation issues. I almost immediately got the taste for advocacy and it has never left my system.”
A desire to be a worthwhile advocate and representative of the people he serves continues to drive Lucio as he and his fellow legislators grapple with the tough issues, such as budget constraints, education, border security and immigration.
Having grown up in America’s largest border state, proud of his Hispanic heritage, Lucio is mindful of the nuances and intricacies that make trade and border issues some of the hardest for Texas and the nation to address. In his mind, three factors are important to successfully lead on these issues.
“First, in order to craft effective policy regarding both trade and border security, it is critical that we understand firsthand the situation and the people involved,” said Lucio. “Second, it is critical to address short-term needs without falling short of acknowledging long-term effects. We often look to policy to patch a hole, when we must also understand how to prevent another one from forming.
Finally, we can’t shy away from working on solutions. Rarely do we get the answer right on the first try. Along the Texas-Mexico border our communities are connected by family, heritage and economic ties. Given this complexity, we must continue to seek out solutions that would not irrevocably damage the cooperative spirit we cherish along the Rio Grande River.”
Now in his second term in the Texas House of Representatives, Lucio serves on several committees that deal with important border-related issues, including the Natural Resources Committee where he sponsored the “Don’t Mess with Texas Water initiative” aimed at securing the state’s water supply.
He also sponsored legislation to address fire suppression—an issue that has grown in importance as wild fires have ravaged the state in recent years.
Lucio also has led on important domestic issues, including passing legislation that increased energy efficiency standards in state and local government buildings, created football helmet safety standards for high school athletes, and increased legal protection alternatives for victims of stalking and domestic violence.
It is no surprise as he works tirelessly on this wide range of issues that family is once again central to his leadership.
“My service and leadership have been most influenced by the birth of my daughter, Olivia,” said Lucio. “Her addition to my life has significantly changed the way I view and approach much of my work. She is my inspiration and joy. When I am faced with tough decisions, I keep in mind what the effect may be for her and her generation’s future.”