Senator Eddie Lucio, Jr.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 19, 2001
CONTACT: Doris Sanchez, Press Secretary
512-463-0127

Sen. Lucio bids farewell to a Senate colleague

The retirement recently announced by state Sen. Carlos Truan will bring to a close three decades of the deepest dedication to the people of South Texas, as well as the entire state.

Although we were on opposite sides of the fence on many occasions, I consider this legislator a friend and one of the greatest leaders of our time. Sen. Truan has served in the Texas Senate since 1977 and as the senior member, he is presently the dean.

Many outside this great institution think that the position of dean is largely ceremonial. This was not the case with Dean Truan. He was a mentor to both freshman and senior senators. We turned to him for institutional knowledge, guidance and assurance. He commanded a great deal of respect and had rightfully earned it.

History will show there will two defining moments in the Texas Legislature, one in the House and one in the Senate. In 1971, the "Dirty 30," a group of House members, stepped forward and pushed through ethics reforms. Then in 1979, he gained notoriety as a member of the "Killer Bees," a group of 12 senators who killed legislation that was destined to benefit one individual at the expense of the Texas voters. It would have allowed Democrats to cross party lines and vote for a Republican in the primary. Dean Truan was a leader in both groups.

I can recall through the years debating many issues of great impact to this state with Sen. Truan. The debate was not always friendly and at times was quite confrontational, but it was without question based on our passion for helping the people who elected us to office. I appreciated his support of the Colonia Omnibus Bill I passed in 1999, which allowed for electric, water and wastewater hookups for thousands of families. Dean Truan walked over to my desk on the Senate floor the day of its passage and congratulated me for this achievement.

In earlier years, together we fought for public education. Sen. Truan, who is considered the father of bilingual education, was highly influential during the Edgewood Independent School District et al. v Kirby et al. lawsuit. His efforts helped equalize public education funding so that all Texas children, regardless of where they lived, were given the same learning opportunities.

Together we were also able to increase funding for higher education in South Texas, that included a Regional Academic Health Center (RAHC) and most recently, a school of pharmacy.

One of his many accomplishments that I strongly applauded was during the 73rd legislative session when he established the Texas Birth Defects Registry as a sponsor of Senate Bill 89. This program is a population-based registry which collects statewide data on pregnancies affected by birth defects.

We often found ourselves on the same committees. We were able to laugh together and we both cried inside when we were not successful in achieving funding or legislation that benefitted our people. There were always those who worried when we rolled up our sleeves, but that was only to either debate issues we differed on or to fight for them as colleagues.

In his later years of public service, Sen. Truan became a leader of veterans affairs and resolved that the Texas Senate and the people of Texas would not forget those who fought and sacrificed so the rest of us could enjoy freedom.

It would take an inordinate amount of time and tons of newsprint to list his accomplishments. The bottom line is: Dean Truan is a true Texas statesman in every sense of the word, and we all owe him a tremendous debt of gratitude.

His departure, along with those of Sen. Sibley from Waco, who has always been a strong advocate for the border, and Sen. Brown of Lake Jackson, who was born in Mercedes and heads the Natural Resources Committee, will leave a tremendous void, especially as we enter into the 21st Century with unprecedented growth along the border.

Sen. Truan has decided it is time to set down the gavel. I'm glad he will be spending more time with his wife and family. However, I'm convinced he will never abandon us at home or in Austin.

I implore the people of Sen. Truan's district to elect a leader of the same mold as Dean Truan. Someone who can meet the challenges of this post as he did.

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