Left to Right: Commissioner Sophie Benavides, Treasurer David Betancourt, Aurora Flores (TAC Legislative Liaison), Judge Eddie Trevino, Rep René O. Oliveira, Commissioner David Garza, County Clerk Sylvia Garza-Perez, Commissioner Gus Ruiz
TAC honored Rep. René O. Oliveira (D-Brownsville) as a Friend of County Government at a ceremony in Cameron County in November 2017. He was chosen for his leadership during the 85th legislative session in stopping efforts to weaken local control.
“We had to stop many proposals,” Oliveira said during the Cameron County Commissioners Court meeting where he was honored.
Oliveira took significant stands against efforts to erode local authority in eminent domain issues as chair of the Business and Industry Committee. He was also a reliable ally in pushing back against restrictive property tax proposals.
“René has proven a true friend of county government over the years with his consistent support of issues important to counties, including preserving grassroots governing and keeping decision-making at the local level,” said TAC Legislative Director Paul Sugg. “He understands that property taxpayers benefit from local control, instead of the state imposing a top-down, one-size fits all system the 254 diverse counties of this state.”
In his acceptance remarks, Oliveira urged county officials to stay vigilant
and get involved early in efforts to preserve local decision-making authority in their communities.
“We need you to be very, very active. I don’t think this assault on local government is going to stop,” Oliveira said. “They want to micromanage counties and cities, school districts and water districts and everything.”
Oliveira, who chairs the Business and Industry Committee, and sits on the State Affairs Committee, House Select Committee on Economic Competitiveness, and the House Select Committee on Ports Innovation and Infrastructure, is a long-time friend to county officials, and one of the longest-serving members currently in the Texas House of Representatives. First elected in 1981, Oliveira ranks fifth in overall seniority. This is the second time he has received the Friend of County Government Award. He was also named Champion of County Government in 2009.
He previously served as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, and is a former chairman of the House Economic Development Committee and the House Committee on Land and Resource Management, and has served as a past vice-chairman of the House Public Education Committee.