Dec 14, 2014

The "Son of Treaty Oak" Thrives in Hidalgo County

Was glad to see my brother Mark Pena and his Ciclistas Urbanos group pay a visit to a historic tree we planted years ago in the city square in Edinburg.

On October 18th, 2008 in commemoration and recognition of the 100 year anniversary of the arrival of Hidalgo County's court records and subsequent founding of the county seat in present day Edinburg a group of us planted a seedling from one of our country's most historic trees in the Hidalgo County Courthouse Square. 

The tree is a southern live oak grown from an acorn hand-selected from the historic Treaty Oak in Austin, Texas. Treaty Oak is believed to be more than 500 years old and is the lone survivor of the "Council Oaks" a grove of 14 trees that served as a revered meeting place for Apache and Comanche tribes of Central Texas. The tree is said to have shaded Stephen F. Austin, the Father of Texas, as he signed the first boundary treaty with local Native American tribes in the 1830's. Folklore also holds that Sam Houston rested beneath the Treaty Oak after his expulsion from the governor's office at the start of Texas' involvement in the American Civil War. In 1989, the tree was deliberately poisoned with a powerful herbicide strong enough to kill 100 trees. The tree survived and the American Forestry Association inducted the Treaty Oak into its Hall of Fame in Washington, D.C. 

Six years later the "Son of Treaty Oak" is thriving and standing tall. 

Aug 20, 2014

September 19-21st Greg Abbott in the Valley



In South Texas on September 19-21 those of you supporting Greg Abbott to be our next governor of Texas have a real opportunity to meet him, participate in his election and/or enjoy the festivities of a winning campaign.

On Friday, September 19 Greg Abbott participates in the first gubernatorial debate of the campaign in McAllen. The campaign will be throwing a Debate Watch Party and you are invited to be there to cheer on @GregAbbott_TX.

On Saturday, September 20 we’ll be block walking for Greg Abbott. As you know the campaign is taking unprecedented steps to make sure the Rio Grande Valley has a strong voice in this election. To that end, my daughter Adrienne Pena Garza has been helping out big time in getting the word out in the #RGV about General Abbott and his plan for Texas. Our family and close friends have joined us in this effort and we're fully invested in seeing General Abbott win this election with historical margins in South Texas.

And after a day of knocking on doors, you’ll have a chance to meet and celebrate with Greg Abbott at a pachanga held in his honor.

Our family and friends will all be there. It's my hope we'll see you there as well.

Please RSVP here: http://bit.ly/1qrbSVN 


May 4, 2014

South Texas Corruption: We Must Remain Vigilant



Unless we remain vigilant, one chapter ends and another begins. Our political selection process still suffers from a strong influence from the Boss Era of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Candidates successfully emerging from such a system are predisposed and heavily influenced to tolerate or engage in the ills that mar our region's history. Voter engagement is key to wrestling away control of candidate selection that now remains in the hands of a small group of self-interested strongmen. The competition of ideas rather than that of personalities or clans is an essential element to a healthy political system. Of critical importance is that of enforcement of the rule of law. Prosecutors, law enforcement and ultimately we the people are essential to maintaining the standards that we all wish to be governed by. By my observation, recent history has shown too many vacillating between denial and disinterest. The recent judicial accounting of the Panama Unit is a victory for those of us interested in a positive change. I suspect this accounting will be but one with more to come. So be it.


THE MONITOR'S EDITORIAL: Panama Unit jailed -- ends dirty chapter in Hidalgo County history.

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS covers the resent growth in corruption cases in South Texas.

Apr 15, 2014

Up On TV Tonight

On Austin's @TXCapTonight political talk show with @HCookAustin to discuss the debate between Sen. Dan Patrick and S.A. Mayor Julian Castro. Also up for discussion is the new (@ppppolls) poll showing statewide GOP candidates enjoying double-digit leads. http://share.d-news.co/yRU7lWI

Apr 4, 2014


The Next Governor of Texas



"The Next Governor of Texas?" It's an easy question to answer but that's the headline of The Weekly Standard's Article on Attorney General Abbott. The writer followed General Abbott on the campaign trail and noted his stop in Edinburg. A good story about the campaign and the man who will be the next governor of the great State of Texas.

Mar 29, 2014

RGV Super Saturday Block Walk




"Alright, alright, alright! Looky here, it's real simple, we're going to win this thing. Alright!"




Mar 19, 2014

A New Beginning




The shadows are growing long here in Washington D.C. as the sun begins to set on another miraculous day on our nation's effort's to recognize it's heroes. I'm overjoyed that it happened and was blessed to be a part of it, yet I'm saddened this trip to our nation's capitol is coming to an end.

The Valor 24, as we have come to call those recognized with the Medal of Honor, whose courage was embodied in the 3 living recipients, were remarkable.

Santiago Jesse Erevia and Jose Rodela, both from Corpus Christi and San Antonio, as well as Melvin Morris of Florida were everything one would expect: gracious, humble and noble. http://t.co/hZdTlQag4C

Mitchell and Marilyn Libman were special too. I had them sign my White House program along with the living Medal of Honor recipients because these moments of tribute belong to them as well. http://t.co/AuN1K2EYCP

Tomorrow marks a new beginning, it is the first day of Spring. It is a fitting metaphor for where we go from here. Our country has corrected an injustice and it moves forward better and stronger for it.

Thanks for following. Best wishes.

It Was A Good Day



In the White House's State Dining Room standing in front of the Roosevelt fireplace and Abraham Lincoln portrait. L-R: Maricela De Leon, Aaron Peña, Dominga Perez, Alec Cano, Emily Lindsay, Geneive Cano, Nina Cano and Stephen Cano. Back: Armando Jr. Perez, Armando Perez, Salvador Perez, Robert Perez and Sgt. Barnhart.

Medal Of Honor




Video Of Medal Of Honor Ceremony



Watch the Medal of Honor ceremony filmed at the White House

Mar 18, 2014

A Fifty Year Struggle




Joined by Mitch and Marilyn Libman whose hard work made this day possible. http://m.nydailynews.com/1.1730737

From the New York Times: Mitch Libman was surprised when his childhood friend, Pfc. "Leonard Kravitz, was not selected for the Medal of Honor — the military’s top honor — after his service in the Korean War. Mr. Libman, back in Denver, had received regular updates from Private Kravitz about the fighting. But then Private Kravitz died a hero, with his actions saving his entire platoonin Yangpyong on March 6-7, 1951.


Private Kravitz was Jewish, and “it was obvious for me, from reading everything, that it had something to do with his religion,” Mr. Libman said in a video interview with the newspaper Stars and Stripes. “And I couldn’t believe that here’s a guy who saved so many lives, and people are upset that a Jewish guy is getting a Medal of Honor,” Mr. Libman said. “And there were so many groups that were caught up in that type of thing.”


Mr. Libman was angry enough to petition members of Congress to reconsider Private Kravitz for the Medal of Honor — he had already been awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the second-highest military award. The efforts led Congress to require the Army, Air Force and Navy to review the records of Jewish and Hispanic service members who had received the Distinguished Service Cross for their heroics in World War II and the Korean and Vietnam Wars to determine whether they had been passed over for the Medal of Honor because of their race, religion or ethnicity.