5 Candidates File to Run in Special Election for House District 125

Print Share on LinkedIn Comments More
(From left) Steve Huerta, Ray Lopez, Fred Rangel, Coda Rayo-Garza, and Art Reyna are running to represent Texas House District 125.

Courtesy Images ; Scott Ball and Jackie Wang / Rivard Report

(From left) Steve Huerta, Ray Lopez, Fred Rangel, Coda Rayo-Garza, and Art Reyna are running to represent Texas House District 125.

The Texas Secretary of State on Monday finalized a list of five candidates running to represent Texas House District 125. That seat became vacant when Justin Rodriguez was sworn in as Bexar County Commissioner for Precinct 2, triggering a special election for his former office in the Texas Legislature. The winner would serve the remainder of Rodriguez’s term, which expires in January 2021.

Early voting starts Jan. 28. Election Day is Feb. 12.

Steve Huerta (D)

Steve Huerta is a community organizer. He was formerly incarcerated and co-founded the Youth Alternative to Incarceration Program of the All of Us or None of Us project. Huerta has advised on criminal justice policy, founded the Texas 2nd Chance Democrat Movement to teach other formerly incarcerated people about voting requirements and rights, and serves as the Bexar County Democratic Party rules committee co-chair.

He said he is “running on a platform of change” because San Antonio’s economic growth has left many of the city’s communities behind.

“I strongly believe we have career politicians who are far too distant from the communities they’re serving,” Huerta said.

Ray Lopez (D)

Ray Lopez left the San Antonio City Council in 2017 after serving the maximum four terms as District 6 councilman. He served on the Northside Independent School District board of trustees for three terms. He also worked at AT&T for 34 years, retiring in 2009 as a signature client director.

Lopez said he brings political and governing experience to the table and feels secure in having developed relationships in his time as a city councilman. But name recognition doesn’t always mean a candidate is more likely to be elected, he said.

“If you don’t do a good job, if you haven’t been able to get the right governance, right policy, do the correct outreach, [voters] recognize that you’re not the guy,” he said. “It can be an advantage or disadvantage.”

He said he appreciates what former Reps. Justin Rodriguez and Joaquín Castro, who served as HD 125’s representative from 2003 to 2013, have done for the area. Lopez said he has the experience to help continue and manage the city’s growth as he’s worked on transportation and education in his eight years as city councilman.

Fred Rangel (R)

Fred Rangel is running as the lone Republican in the special election. He owns Adco Master Builders and Adco Professional Services, and works as a design-builder.

He has run for office before, including a City Council race and a bid for vice chair of the Republican Party of Texas. Rangel said he’s ready to tackle school finance and property tax reform should he reach the Texas Legislature.

Rangel said he first noticed school funding disparities when he and his brother attended schools in the Edgewood Independent School District in the 1960s. His brother had to endure classes year-round without air conditioning, while Rangel lacked equipment for his physics class.

“When I saw the opportunity here, I thought, ‘This is the time to speak up, this is the time to begin to make those changes and requests to our school finance program in the state of Texas,'” he said.

He said he’s confident in his support and ability to garner enough votes to win the special election without a runoff. Rangel hired strategist Matt Mackowiak, who helped State Sen. Pete Flores win the special election in September to fill former Sen. Carlos Uresti’s seat, to run his campaign.

“I believe that there is a good probability of a win here, and I’m going after it,” Rangel said.

Coda Rayo-Garza (D)

Coda Rayo-Garza is a policy advocate. She said education is her No. 1 focus, and that the Texas Legislature’s commitment to school finance reform was a sign for her to run.

“It felt like it was the moment,” Rayo-Garza said. “I work at a school district. I see how policy affects teachers, families, schools. The moment is right. The State is having conversations about school finance reform.”

Rayo-Garza said she also prioritizes property tax reform and addressing transportation and mobility issues.

“Bandera Road is the major artery for our district,” she said. “I’ve heard from my neighbors and people I talk to that we need to get this moving so people can spend less time in traffic.”

She chose to kick off her campaign at OP Schnabel Park in northwest San Antonio not only because her children love to play there, but also because it serves as a central gathering place for the community. Rayo-Garza mingled with supporters and her team and handed out yard signs at the park on Sunday. She said she’s not worried about running against candidates with more name recognition.

“I’m confident in the team we have,” she said. “I’m confident in the plan we’ve put together, and I know once I get to talking to people, it’ll resonate. I’m a working-class mom, just like a lot of people in the community.”

Rayo-Garza currently works as the senior coordinator for the deputy superintendent of schools at San Antonio Independent School District. She has previously directed policy for City Councilwoman Shirley Gonzales (D5), zoning and planning for then-Councilman Ron Nirenberg, and policy and strategic communications for the P16Plus Council of Greater Bexar County.

Art Reyna (D)

Art Reyna is no stranger to HD 125. Reyna served as the district’s representative from 1997 to 2003 and as a Leon Valley City Councilman for four terms. If elected, Reyna said he would focus on public education, health care, women’s rights, equality, and justice.

“The public education system is being dismantled by people who are trying to make a profit off of it, and our kids are getting a second-class education,” Reyna said. “Health care is still not affordable for all Texans, especially vulnerable populations like children and the elderly. We have this horrible assault on women’s rights not just here in Texas, but across the country.”

He stressed that his previous years in the Texas House position him to be the most useful representative for the district. The Legislature values seniority, and his three terms count toward that, he said.

Reyna started as a freshman legislator at the same time as newly-elected Speaker of the House Dennis Bonnen, and his relationship with Bonnen would make him more effective, he said.

“I promise whoever comes in, other than me, does not have that relationship, cannot address [Bonnen] in the same way, approach him in the same way,” he said.

Reyna currently works as an attorney in San Antonio. He has and continues to work for various nonprofits and foundations primarily focused on public education.

18 thoughts on “5 Candidates File to Run in Special Election for House District 125

  1. Recognize several names that have held past political office; Time for Change… move toward a fresh start. This special election will serve this legislative session and SH125 will be up for 2020 election cycle. GO 50.1%- No run off!!

  2. Mr. Reyna has identified the biggest issue that has slipped under the radar of most of the other candidates and that is public education is under threat from those that would see it privatized and run by unelected groups. We need a strong advocate that recognizes this and with his previous experience working in the Texas House of Representatives he would be a very strong defender of our kids!

    • He is also a year or so short of a pension and I believe this is his motivation. Lopez is a very successful councilman and left his office due to term restrictions.
      Vote Ray

      Even the mayor of Mr. Rayna home town supports Lopez

  3. With the session having already begun, Art Reyna is the one candidate who could hit the ground running. He knows how the legislature works, how to get things done in that environment, and the seniority he would bring with him is a real plus.

  4. You can’t be a progressive if you don’t support teachers and communities in their struggle to stave-off the charter-led privatization of public education in this country. Art Reyna is the only candidate openly advocating for public schools that really belong to, and lie at the heart of our communities. His voting record on education (pre-K, school funding, non-discrimination regulations) speaks for itself, as does his career-long advocacy for women’s rights, and the rights of immigrant communities. There’s a clear choice to make in this special election, and Art is the progressive choice for sure.

    • Better look and the candidates.
      He (Ray Lopez) served on the Northside Independent School District board of trustees for three terms.

      Mr. Rayna has opinions but Mr. Lopez actually served. The Mayor of Mr. Rayna home town of Leon Valley supports Lopez.

      • Ray Lopez may have served, but he is an older member of the community, and they tend to always want to preserve the status quo, which will help no one, save for other people possibly afraid of change.

        However, for progress, there must be change, and we must welcome new ideas, not a rehash of old ways that have kept us decades behind Austin, Dallas, Chicago, and other major cities dotting the country. We must let loose of the stagnant represented by Mr. Lopez, and courageously embrace the new as represented by Art Reyna. Business as usual hasn’t gotten us anywhere. It’s time for a change.

        • Ray Lopez did a good job as District 6 Council Representative for 8 years.I believe he knows how to get things done. He’s a good husband and father as well.

  5. Art Reyna has the experience. I’m confident he would hit the ground running. We need a strong advocate for PUBLIC education. His voting record is solid when it comes to education. If you are a public school supporter, support Art. He’s the best choice.

  6. Glad to see a solid conservative running. Fred Rangel is a wonderful man, loves to serve people with patience and experience. I have known him for many years and he never asserts a position on you without giving a good ear to listen. He is fresh and vibrant with those ideals that protect peoples property tax, property rights, strong business growth as he is a small business owner himself and then knows the value of keeping kids in schools that produce. I am supporting Fred Rangel, the conservative and new change for 125.

  7. I was fortunate enough to see a notice of Art Reyna’s campaign kickoff event and was happy to attend. Art’s love for district 125 and passion for public service was evident in the stories he shared. As an educator, I was happy to see his tremendous record and support for students and educators. I believe District 125 would be represented well with Art Reyna.

  8. Having worked as a full time member in charge of volunteers at Republican Headquarters for over 15yrs. I came to know Fred Rangel as a great assist to the office and Bexar County. He was available to help with whatever was asked of him.
    He is a hard working individual that is committed to our City, our County and our State. He is the only Republican running for this office and he is extremely qualified to serve all of our Community, and will be a wonderful addition.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *