Texas Senator Gregory Luna Resigns
AUSTIN - Sen. Gregory Luna announced today his resignation from the Texas Senate. Senator Luna has endured the progression of diabetes over the last year and has decided he cannot continue to serve his constituents and the State as effectively as he has. Sen. Luna spent 15 years in the Texas Legislature, the last seven in the Senate.
In his letter to the governor, Luna said, "Due to my health, I have reluctantly decided to resign from the Senate effective today. It has been my honor to serve in the Senate, and I will miss the involvement I have had in creating a better Texas.
"I have resigned at this time to permit you to set the special election on November 2. By combining the special and general elections, more voters will be drawn to the polls than if the elections were held separately, and it would eliminate the expense of holding a separate special election. I look forward to a good race for the district 26 seat."
Elected to his first term in the Texas Senate in 1992, Sen. Luna has served on the Senate standing committees on Education, State Affairs, and Jurisprudence. In that session, the border initiative, created in response to a MALDEF courtroom victory, created the long-sought downtown campus for the University of Texas at San Antonio. He considers the campus the culmination of his vision for UTSA and shares this achievement with the other members in the San Antonio delegation. Sen. Luna spoke of his great pride at the initial groundbreaking ceremony.
This session, Sen. Luna provided the linchpin for the opposition to private-school vouchers. While hospitalized in San Antonio, he asked Lt. Gov. Rick Perry to give him a 24-hour notice so that he could come to Austin to vote against vouchers. Perry honored that request. Sen. Luna served as the vice-chairman of Education and vice-chairman of Veterans Affairs and Military Installations Committees.
In July 1999, the Texas Federation of Teachers honored him with its rarely bestowed Child Advocate Award. Just a week ago, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) honored him with its Matt Garcia Public Service Award for his "outstanding leadership and service to the community. The recipient of this award reflects an extraordinary dedication to the civil and human rights of all people."
During the 75th Legislature in 1997, he chaired the Senate Hispanic Caucus (above), led the opposition to private school vouchers paid for with public tax money, served on the conference committee on HB 4 dealing with school property taxation, and pursued legislation regulating the practice of naturopathic medicine. In 1995, Sen. Luna served on the conference committee on SB1, where he influenced the new education code. In his first term in the Senate, he served on the Conference Committee on SB 7 dealing with education finance and the Select Committee on Judicial Reform. Sen. Luna received an award from the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities for outstanding leadership and support for Hispanic-serving institutions through legislative initiatives, the Lifetime Achievement Award from UTSA Hispanic Research Center and the 1998 ERNIE AWARD from the Avenida Guadalupe Association.
During his four terms in the Texas House of Representatives, he focused on education and school finance. He served on the Public Education Committee as vice-chair and held appointments to the Select Joint Committee on Education, the Joint Committee on High School Dropouts, and the conference committee on SB 351, the 1991 public school finance bill. He also served on the House committees on Judicial Affairs, Human Services, and on the General Investigating Committee. The Texas State Teachers Association gave him its 1992 Friend of Education Award. He also won the TSTA Alamo District 1991 Award and the Association of Texas Professional Educators 1991 Recognition Award.
Senator Luna has been a leader in many civic activities in Bexar County. He is a founder of MALDEF and served four terms as board chair. In recognition of his work on school finance legislation, MALDEF honored him with its national and state premier awards for extraordinary service in 1991. He has served as chair of the Inman Christian Center Board of Directors, on the project SER National Board of Directors, the Big Brothers/Big Sisters Board of Directors, United Way Board of Directors, and the State and Bexar County Democratic Executive Committee.
He began his career with his enlistment in the U.S. Army in 1953 after attending San Antonio College. He then joined the San Antonio Police Department and completed his education at Trinity University and St. Mary's School of Law by attending night school.