"Where there is no vision, the people will perish."
Sen. Uresti sits with his family on the Opening Day of the 83rd Texas Legislative Session.
State Senator Carlos I. Uresti is a leader for Senate District 19 and the State of Texas. Senator Uresti envisions thriving communities, safe and healthy children, an educated workforce, and responsible economic growth. A lifelong resident of his district, he is deeply committed to the success of each District 19 community.
Senator Uresti represents almost 800,000 people in District 19, one the largest geographical legislative districts in the United States. District 19, which covers more than 35,000 square miles and contains all or part of 17 counties, two international ports of entry, eleven state parks, 51 school districts, 2700 miles of highways, and more than 23,000 producing oil and gas wells in both the Eagle Ford Shale and Permian Basin. The district is larger than 12 states and 82 Nations, and contains over one third of the Texas-Mexico border.
After graduating from McCollum High School, Senator Uresti enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves as a Private First Class at the age of eighteen. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and a Teaching Certificate from St. Mary’s University, and was then commissioned as a Second Lieutenant. During his four years of active duty as a combat engineer, Senator Uresti rose to the rank of Captain and earned the Navy Achievement Medal. Since graduating from St. Mary’s University School of Law in 1992, he has practiced law in San Antonio and is currently with The Uresti Law Firm, P.C.
|Sen. Uresti addresses the crowd at an April 2015 Child Abuse Awareness Month event at the Capitol.|
Balancing career and family life is important to Senator Uresti. His wife, Lleanna, is a former school counselor and now the full-time Realtor and mother of two children, Sebastian and Katalina. Senator Uresti raised his two sons, Michael and Carlos, Jr., in the same neighborhood where he grew up. Both Michael and Carlos Jr. graduated from McCollum High School and have followed in their father's footsteps in their own ways. Michael is a 2005 graduate of Texas A&M University at College Station and obtained a law degree from his father's Alma Mater, St. Mary’s University School of Law. Carlos Jr. graduated from McCollum High School in 2004 and followed his roots to the same military branch as his father. He graduated from Texas A&M University in San Antonio as a Corporal in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves and is now attending St. Mary’s University School of Law.
A 1997 special election to the Texas House of Representatives opened the door to state politics for Senator Uresti. He served in the House for nine years and was the chairman of the Committee on Human Services during the 78th Legislature and the Committee on Government Reform during the 79th Legislature. Senator Uresti was elected to the Texas Senate in 2006, riding on his reputation as a champion of children, seniors, and veterans. During over twenty years of public service as a State Representative and Senator, Senator Uresti has authored, co-authored, and sponsored numerous bills that have provided:
- Protection for children, including landmark reforms of Child Protective Services (CPS) and Adult Protective Services (APS), special training for CPS employees who are hired for or promoted to a supervisory position, the release of certain information on child deaths involving abuse or neglect, and the creation of a statewide Blue Ribbon Task Force to create new policies and strategies to combat child abuse and neglect;
- An expansion of the state's newborn screening program, which saves an estimated 150 children a year by testing for twenty additional genetic disorders;
- A dissolution election for Bexar Metropolitan Water District, which resulted in the abolition of the troubled district by a vote of its ratepayers;
- A new system for valuing oil and gas properties, which brings certainty and stability to the property tax assessment process for Texas counties;
- A $225 million Transportation Infrastructure Fund that allows counties, for the first time, to seek state General Revenues for the repair and maintenance of county roads;
- A liability protection measure for the state's burgeoning space tourism industry;
- A ban on clinical medical trials involving foster children or children in the juvenile justice system;
- The statewide establishment of the Nurse-Family Partnership program for child abuse prevention;
- The expansion of pre-Kindergarten funding for children of active duty military personnel in Texas;
- The establishment of the Silver Alert system, which is modeled after the successful Amber Alert system, to spread notice of missing elderly persons;
- Authorization and funding for Texas A&M University at San Antonio;
- Economic development authority for military installations affected by Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC);
- Economic incentives to attract industrial and manufacturing growth to San Antonio, including Toyota and Boeing at Port San Antonio; and
- Protection for veterans, including the privacy of veterans' service records following their discharge from the military and a property tax exemption for veterans who are 100 percent disabled from their military service.
|Sen. Uresti stands with fellow veterans at his annual Veterans Day Reception in San Antonio.|
Senator Uresti is vice chair of the Senate Health & Human Services Committee, and serves on the Finance, Education, and Veteran Affairs & Border Security Committees.
Devoted to fighting child abuse and neglect, as chairman of the House Committee on Human Services, Senator Uresti led the charge to reform CPS during the interim of the 78th Legislature, and brought statewide attention and major reform to protect children from abuse and neglect. He continues to be a voice throughout Texas for the most vulnerable of our state.
Long active in his community, Senator Uresti is the founding chairman of the Blue Ribbon Task Force, a coalition bringing hundreds of community activists and leaders together to fight the causes of child abuse and neglect. Each year Senator Uresti sponsors a Back-to-School and Health Fair event in San Antonio and participates in similar events across District 19, which include the distribution of free backpacks to students, immunizations, and dental checks.
|Annual back-to-school events organized by Sen. Uresti provide an opportunity to connect with the community.|
A fierce advocate for Veterans, Senator Uresti is a lifetime member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Manuel Alvarado Post 9186, and is also a member of the United States Marine Corps League, the American Legion, and the Alamo Silver Wings Airborne Association. During the 81st Legislature, Senator Uresti co-sponsored legislation that granted a full homeowner’s property tax exemption to veterans who were 100 percent disabled from their military service.
Senator Uresti has worked diligently to encourage economic development within Senate District 19. He helped bring the Toyota manufacturing plant to San Antonio, and also worked on the revitalization of Brooks City-Base, Port San Antonio, the Texas A&M University campus in South San Antonio, and the South Texas Regional Training Center in Hondo.
Senator Uresti has received more than 100 awards and accolades, including multiple Legislator of the Year awards and other honors for his efforts to combat child abuse and neglect. For his work to re-establish adequate funding for CHIP and children’s Medicaid, as well as helping increase the number of medical residents and residency programs, the Texas Medical Association named Senator Uresti one of Texas Medicine’s Best Legislators in 2007. He also received the 2008 “Champion for Children” Award from the Texas Coalition of Homes for Children and Texas CASA's Big Voices for Little Texans Award in 2009 and 2013.
For his work on road funding issues in the 83rd Legislature, Senator Uresti was given TIPRO's first George P. Mitchell Tip of the Hat Award and named a friend of county government by the Texas Association of Counties. He has also received the Mentor of the Year Award from the San Antonio Young Lawyers Association and the Legislative Leadership Award from the Texas Association of Mexican American Chambers of Commerce. The Harlandale Independent School District Council of PTAs awarded him a Lifetime Membership in the Texas Congress of Parents and Teachers, and the American Cancer Society honored him with the Texas Advocacy Award for his legislative efforts to curb tobacco use, particularly among teenagers.