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De la Garza, E. (De la Garza, Eligio)



  • Existence: 1927-

Kika de la Garza was born and raised in South Texas’ Rio Grande Valley. He first ran for public office in 1951, representing South Texas in the Texas State Legislature from 1952-1964. In 1964, de la Garza was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, serving from 1965-1996. He became a member of the Committee on Agriculture, serving as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Department Operations and Foreign Agriculture in 1967. From 1981 to 1994, de la Garza was Chairman of the Committee on Agriculture, and led the way for passage of three omnibus farm bills (1981, 1985, and 1990), a major overhaul of the agricultural lending system, Federal crop insurance reform, a major reorganization of the USDA, reforms in Federal pesticide laws, and numerous other measures to assist U.S. agriculture, encourage rural economic development, and improve human nutrition. De la Garza was one of the founding members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus in 1976, which he chaired from 1989 to 1991. He successfully fought for improved access to health care for the elderly and veterans, better living conditions for low-income individuals and the impoverished, and access to educational opportunities for all Americans. A proponent of free trade, he was instrumental in the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and expansion of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). A leading expert on U.S.-Mexican relations, de la Garza worked to improve relations and trade between the two countries throughout his career. In 1966, he became the first congressman from the Texas-Mexico border area to serve on the Mexico-United States Inter-Parliamentary Group, which promotes dialogue between legislators from the two countries. Kika retired from public office in 1996 and currently lives in McAllen, Texas.
Hispanic Americans in Congress,

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Eligio (Kika) de la Garza Congressional Papers

 Collection — Container: 78, Box: 332R, 22D, 135OV
Identifier: ELIBR-000078
Scope and Contents The Congressional Papers of Eligio "Kika" de la Garza consist of approximately 425 linear feet of materials dating from 1965 - 1996. The bulk of the papers date from 1965-1980 and 1989-1996. The papers were created during Kika de la Garza's time as an elected official in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1965 - 1996, representing the 15th Congressional District in South Texas.