On Friday, Oct. 12, the swearing-in ceremony of newly elected Texas State Senator Peter P. Flores, R-Pleasanton was held in Austin in the Senate Chamber. Flores, who resides in Pleasanton, was elected in a special election last month to represent Senate District 19, a sprawling 17 county district which includes the South Side of San Antonio.
Lt. Governor Patrick, who was a significant supporter of Flores, said that the win by Flores and having a part in swearing him in will be one of the highest points of his career. “I want to congratulate the Texas Senate’s newest member, Sen. Pete Flores, whose historic victory is a testament to his hard work and commitment to the people of his district. Pete is a man of faith and a principled conservative with a long history of public service. I am proud to have him in the Texas Senate. I look forward to working with him.”
Patrick noted that Flores is the first Republican to be elected to represent Senate District 19 since 1876 and he is the first Hispanic Republican to serve in the Texas Senate.
“Our campaign was hard fought, and I want to thank the other candidates who stepped up because that is the American way,” said Flores. “To present our position and then you the voter gets to choose. You hire us, and you fire us. You are the most powerful people on earth…the American voter. Exercise it and when you do you get the government that you deserve and respect.”
Flores said the victory was deemed as a surprise to many but not to him and his supporters. Flores said going forward he wants to serve not so much as a Republican but serving as a conservative who works for everyone in Senate District 19.
He ran his campaign with the main focus on property tax reform followed by economic development, protecting the rights of the unborn and the second amendment.
“Well here we are. We made it,” said Flores to thunderous applause at the opening of his remarks. “First of all, I would like to thank God almighty and our savior Jesus Christ. And, honor my mother and my father… excuse me… Margarito Flores and Lydia Solis Flores,” said Flores who had to stop for a moment. “My father has passed, but he is watching. He is watching. And momma had a stroke four months ago, so that is why she is not here, but she is here. Please excuse my tears but not really. I only cry for important things, and that is important,” said Flores. “Honoring God. Honoring family. With God and with the will anything is possible” said Flores.
Flores told the packed Senate Chamber at the Capitol of Texas that he would like to thank them from the bottom of his heart for being part of the swearing-in ceremony and that he was very humbled. “To you the constituents of Senate District 19, I thank you for this opportunity to be able to serve you. I look forward to working with you and for you for the state of Texas,” said Flores. “Welcome to your house. This is your house,” said Flores. “The beauty of the constitution of our republic is that we recognize, those of us who have been elected to serve here, that we are not your bosses. You are the boss. I look forward to working for you in Senate District 19.”
Flores stated that he has been specially prepared for this position having grown up along the border and having worked hard from the time he was a child to working his way through college at Texas A&M. But, it was his 27-year career experience as a game warden where he reached the rank of Colonel that prepared him the most to serve as Texas Senator of District 19.
“Through my life experience and all the things I have been privileged to do I learned how to effectively work with local level, the county level, the state level, the national level and the international level working with the Mexican states and the borders of Texas.”
Senate District 19 has the largest land mass of any Texas district. Flores put some 5000 miles on his bright red truck covering the district in just a few short months.
“This is a massive district. For those of you not familiar with Senate District 19, it covers onethird of San Antonio down to Atascosa County where I live in Pleasanton,” said Flores. “Runs across to Eagle Pass…400 miles up the Rio Grande, to Alpine, Ft. Stockton, Ozona to just south of Carlsbad, New Mexico on the state line. Back to Ozona, Edwards County, our great Medina County then back to Bexar County. Think of the diverse community we represent. But, it is all one and all Texans.”
Flores said that he is going to keep going back to the cities and counties in Senate District 19. “One of the things that I heard was ‘Will you come back to see us?’,” said Flores. “To me I found that to be profound. I told them, of course, I will come back to see you. I work for you. How else will I know what is on your mind and what you need? I will be back.”
Flores said that he learned a long time ago from a mentor, ‘El tiempo de cara hace milagros.’ “Facetime makes miracles,” said Flores. “So no matter what you do remember that showing up and giving is important. We have limited minutes in our lives that the good Lord has given us and every bit of that is precious. Make miracles by making a difference in your community, in your family and in your everyday life by exercising that simple right ‘El tiempo de cara hace milagros.’ Your face time, your presence, your time with each other, spend it well. It served us well because we showed up for you. We showed up in the neighborhoods. We showed up at rodeos. We showed up in places unexpected. I could tell you some great places to eat in SD19.”
For priorities of the moment, Flores stated “We have a supermajority. But I am sure that all 31 of us will not agree upon everything. He who is surrounded by yes men is surrounded by fools. We are not here to be yes men, we are here to represent and to govern. One thing I know we all agree upon in this chamber is that we are all here for a better Texas. With me, you are going to have an open mind and someone who will listen and is with you working towards the same goal to be a better Texas and to serve our bosses – the people.”
Flores closed by saying, “We will pass meaningful property tax reform, support the booming industries in our district, create jobs and boost our economy. We will provide for security in our communities, fighting for our law enforcement and providing our constituents service in this district which they so desperately need. Our first responders, our military, our veterans, our teachers, we owe you a great debt for everything you have done for us. And I will work very hard to ensure that other members of this Senate have the same sentiment. And if I am overstepping my bounds, please excuse me. We are going to make sure that whatever deal we make with you that we will keep it.”
“I am here to serve and not be served,” said Flores. “Now it is time to go to work. God bless you, and God bless Texas.”
Flores swearing-in ceremony was attended by hundreds of supporters from Senate District 19 including the Honorable Roy Barrera, Jr., of San Antonio, the Master of Ceremonies. Other speakers included Atascosa County Judge, Robert Hurley, and former Val Verde County Sheriff, D’wayne Jernigan and St. Andrew Catholic Priest Father Prasanna Mese.
Flores is a retired Colonel Game Warden for Texas Parks and Wildlife. He grew up in South Texas and graduated from high school in Laredo and attended Laredo Junior College before graduating from Texas A&M University in College Station. He was the first Hispanic Director of Law Enforcement for the Texas Parks and Wildlife. Flores is a graduate of the Governor’s Executive Development Program and the National Conservation Leadership Institute’s Fellowship Program and served as vice president of the National Association of Conservation Law Enforcement Chiefs (USA).