Pete P. Gallego, an attorney of counsel to the law firm of Brown McCarroll, LLP, defeated U.S. Rep. Francisco "Quico" Canseco to represent Congressional District 23, which stretches from San Antonio to El Paso and encompasses 800 miles of the Texas-Mexico border.
Before that, Gallego had represented HD-74 since he was first elected in 1990. That district comprises 39,000 square miles that include more than half of the Texas-Mexico border.
Gallego was the first Hispanic to represent the district, and in 1991 became the first freshman member and the first ethnic minority member elected as chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, a post he held until 2001. He was elected in 2001 to serve as chairman of the Mexican-American Legislative Caucus and served in that capacity for eight years.
Gallego was the chairman of the Committee of Criminal Jurisprudence and sat on the House General Investigating and Ethics and State Affairs committees. His previous posts also include chairmanships of the General Investigating Committee and several select and subcommittees. He also served as a member of the Sunset Commission and the House Appropriations, Calendars, Criminal Jurisprudence, Higher Education, Elections, Government Reform, and Natural Resources committees.
He was awarded the “Advocate for Justice Award” from a coalition of Texas victims' groups and the “Star of Texas Public Service Award” by Common Cause of Texas. He has been named on Texas Monthly's “Ten Best Legislators” list and received the OHTLI Award from the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The Eagle Pass Independent School District named a school the Pete Gallego Elementary School to honor the lawmaker, and Gallego has also been recognized by the Texas State University System, the University of Texas System, and the Independent Colleges and Universities of Texas.
The National Council of State Governments awarded Gallego a Henry Toll Fellowship and he also serves on the board of directors of the Texas Equal Access to Justice Foundation and the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials. He is also a former chairman of the Texas Lyceum Association.
Gallego graduated from Sul Ross State University in 1982 with a bachelor's degree in political science. In 1985, he earned a Doctor of Jurisprudence from The University of Texas School of Law. Gallego is a member of the Sul Ross State University Hall of Fame and has been named a Distinguished Alumnus by the SRSU Ex-Student Association.