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Democrat

Rep. Henry Cuellar (D)

Henry Cuellar Contact
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Email: n/a
DC Contact Information

Phone: 202-225-1640

Address: 2431 RHOB, DC 20515

State Office Contact Information

Phone: (210) 271-2851

Address: 615 East Houston Street, San Antonio TX 78205-2054

Laredo TX

Phone: (956) 725-0639

Fax: (956) 424-3936

Address: 602 East Calton Road, Laredo TX 78041-3693

Mission City TX

Phone: (956) 424-3942

Fax: (956) 631-3936

Address: 117 East Tom Landry, Mission City TX 78572-4610

Rio Grande City TX

Phone: (956) 487-5603

Fax: (956) 488-0952

Address: 100 North Farm to Market Road 3167, Rio Grande City TX 78582-6688

Henry Cuellar Staff
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Sort by INTEREST NAME TITLE
Swearingen, Megan
Legislative Director
Swearingen, Megan
Legislative Director
Swearingen, Megan
Legislative Director
Amodeo, Salvatore
Legislative Fellow
Garabyare, Hani
Legislative Assistant
Swearingen, Megan
Legislative Director
Swearingen, Megan
Legislative Director
Swearingen, Megan
Legislative Director
Swearingen, Megan
Legislative Director
Ramirez, Miguel
Staff Assistant; Department of Homeland Security Fellow
Swearingen, Megan
Legislative Director
Amodeo, Salvatore
Legislative Fellow
Swearingen, Megan
Legislative Director
Swearingen, Megan
Legislative Director
Garabyare, Hani
Legislative Assistant
Swearingen, Megan
Legislative Director
Swearingen, Megan
Legislative Director
Swearingen, Megan
Legislative Director
Swearingen, Megan
Legislative Director
Swearingen, Megan
Legislative Director
Amodeo, Salvatore
Legislative Fellow
Arguello, Pete
Constituent Services Representative
Gaona, Cynthia
Chief of Staff
Garabyare, Hani
Legislative Assistant
Hernandez, Nichole
Constituent Services Representative; Outreach Coordinator
LaFuente, Gilbert
Outreach Coordinator
Ramirez, Miguel
Staff Assistant; Department of Homeland Security Fellow
Sanchez, Juan
Legislative Fellow
Segovia, Sylvia
Constituent Services Representative
Swearingen, Megan
Legislative Director
Teel, Lindsey
Legislative Correspondent; Staff Assistant
Terrones, Narda
Outreach Coordinator
Travieso, Amy
Deputy Chief of Staff
Gaona, Cynthia
Chief of Staff
Hernandez, Nichole
Constituent Services Representative; Outreach Coordinator
LaFuente, Gilbert
Outreach Coordinator
Terrones, Narda
Outreach Coordinator
Travieso, Amy
Deputy Chief of Staff
Amodeo, Salvatore
Legislative Fellow
Ramirez, Miguel
Staff Assistant; Department of Homeland Security Fellow
Sanchez, Juan
Legislative Fellow
Garabyare, Hani
Legislative Assistant
Teel, Lindsey
Legislative Correspondent; Staff Assistant
Swearingen, Megan
Legislative Director
Arguello, Pete
Constituent Services Representative
Hernandez, Nichole
Constituent Services Representative; Outreach Coordinator
Segovia, Sylvia
Constituent Services Representative
Ramirez, Miguel
Staff Assistant; Department of Homeland Security Fellow
Teel, Lindsey
Legislative Correspondent; Staff Assistant
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Henry Cuellar Committees
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Henry Cuellar Biography
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  • Elected: 2004, 5th term.
  • District: Texas 28
  • Born: Sep. 19, 1955, Laredo
  • Home: Laredo
  • Education:

    Georgetown U., B.S. 1976, U. of TX, J.D. 1981, Ph.D. 1998, TX A&M U., M.A. 1982

  • Professional Career:

    Practicing atty., 1981-2004.

  • Political Career:

    TX House, 1986-2000; TX secy. of st., 2001.

  • Ethnicity: Hispanic/Latino
  • Religion:

    Catholic

  • Family: Married (Imelda); 2 children

Henry Cuellar, elected in 2004, is one of the most conservative Hispanic Democrats, with a voting record putting him near the center of the House as a whole. But he has shown enough loyalty to his party to win a coveted seat on the Appropriations Committee in 2013. Read More

Henry Cuellar, elected in 2004, is one of the most conservative Hispanic Democrats, with a voting record putting him near the center of the House as a whole. But he has shown enough loyalty to his party to win a coveted seat on the Appropriations Committee in 2013.

Cuellar (KWAY-ar) was the oldest of eight children of migrant workers who had only elementary school educations. He graduated from Georgetown University and the University of Texas law school, and he later got a Ph.D. in government from UT. From his base in Laredo, he served in the Texas House from 1986 to 2000, where he helped to author the Texas Grant college aid program. In 2001, Republican Gov. Rick Perry appointed him secretary of State even though he is a Democrat.

Cuellar resigned in 2002 to run against veteran Republican Rep. Henry Bonilla in the old 23rd District. He got a big boost from a Bonilla gaffe; Bonilla claimed he didn’t need Laredo to win, and in response, the Webb County Republican chairman endorsed Cuellar. Cuellar attacked Bonilla for his votes against funding for the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, the Family and Medical Leave Act, and Pell grants. Bonilla had the money advantage. Cuellar carried Webb County 84%-15%, but only when the Bexar County votes were counted a few days later was it clear that Bonilla had won 52%-47%.

Redistricting in 2003 strengthened Bonilla in the 23rd District, but it also gave Cuellar an opportunity to run in the 28th against incumbent Democratic Rep. Ciro Rodriguez of San Antonio, who had the most liberal voting record of Texas’ Hispanic Democrats in Congress and was chairman of the Hispanic Caucus. When Cuellar announced his candidacy, Rodriguez expressed disbelief that a friend and former legislative colleague for whom he had raised money in 2002 would run against him. The ambitious Cuellar explained that primary bids like his were a common political occurrence in South Texas. He sealed the end of the friendship when he told a local reporter, “Nobody died and made him king.”

Rodriguez had little time to get acquainted with the new district; the March primary took place just five months after the map became official. Cuellar criticized Rodriguez for voting against the GOP’s 2003 Medicare prescription drug bill, while Rodriguez pointed up Cuellar’s collusion with Republicans as secretary of State. The initial vote count showed Rodriguez ahead by 145 votes, but a subsequent recount put Cuellar ahead by 203 votes. After a lawsuit, a second recount, and a state appellate court ruling in July, Cuellar was declared the Democratic nominee by 58 votes out of 49,000 cast. He went on to win in November 59%-39%. Later, in September 2007, the Federal Election Commission fined Cuellar $28,500 for failing to disclose a $200,000 bank loan in his 2004 campaign.

In the House, Cuellar was the ninth most conservative Democrat in 2012, according to National Journal’s annual rankings. He is a member of the rapidly shrinking Blue Dog Coalition of Democratic fiscal conservatives and was one of just 22 Democrats to support a failed amendment for a fiscal 2013 budget based on the recommendations of the Simpson-Bowles deficit reduction commission. Since President Barack Obama took office, however, Cuellar has been more inclined to join his party on major legislation. A major exception in the 111th Congress (2009-10) was the Dodd-Frank financial industry overhaul. Cuellar was one of 19 Democrats—many of them members of the Blue Dogs —to oppose it. He also joined other Texas delegation members in voting against lifting the financial liability cap on oil spills in 2010.

Before joining Appropriations, Cuellar served on the Homeland Security Committee and won the chairmanship of its border security subcommittee in January 2010. He got into a spat with Fox News host Greta Van Susteren in 2011 after two retired generals issued a report characterizing the Texas border as a “war zone.” Cuellar aggressively challenged their conclusions, prompting Van Susteren to accuse him of “disgraceful behavior” and being “a phony.” He called for a new strategy to replace the Merida Initiative security agreement with Mexico that would improve the State Department’s management and speed up money for training and equipment. He also helped broker a 2010 agreement between the Homeland Security Department and Federal Aviation Administration to use unmanned drones along the border for the first time.

Cuellar has emphasized a bipartisan approach and as a result has had success getting legislation passed. With Republican help, he won passage of a bill to create a national gang intelligence center at the Federal Bureau of Investigation and to toughen penalties for sex offenders who break the terms of their release. He also got a bill into law in 2010 requiring federal agencies to establish measurable performance goals and devise systems for tracking them. And in 2012, the House passed his bill requiring the Office of Management and Budget to establish customer service standards for federal agencies.

In Cuellar’s first reelection bid in 2006, Rodriguez was back to challenge him in the primary, but struggled to match him in fundraising. Cuellar won the primary comfortably this time, 53% to 40%. He has won reelection easily since then.

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Henry Cuellar Election Results
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2012 General
Henry Cuellar (D)
Votes: 112,456
Percent: 67.89%
William Hayward (R)
Votes: 49,309
Percent: 29.77%
2012 Primary
Henry Cuellar (D)
Votes: 35,350
Percent: 100.0%
Prior Winning Percentages
2010 (56%), 2008 (69%), 2006 (68%), 2004 (59%)
Henry Cuellar Votes and Bills
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National Journal’s rating system is an objective method of analyzing voting. The liberal score means that the lawmaker’s votes were more liberal than that percentage of his colleagues’ votes. The conservative score means his votes were more conservative than that percentage of his colleagues’ votes. The composite score is an average of a lawmaker’s six issue-based scores. See all NJ Voting

More Liberal
More Conservative
2013 2012 2011
Economic 55 (L) : 45 (C) 59 (L) : 41 (C) 58 (L) : 42 (C)
Social 55 (L) : 45 (C) 59 (L) : 41 (C) 57 (L) : 43 (C)
Foreign 55 (L) : 45 (C) 55 (L) : 45 (C) 58 (L) : 42 (C)
Composite 55.0 (L) : 45.0 (C) 57.7 (L) : 42.3 (C) 57.7 (L) : 42.3 (C)
Interest Group Ratings

The vote ratings by 10 special interest groups provide insight into a lawmaker’s general ideology and the degree to which he or she agrees with the group’s point of view. Two organizations provide just one combined rating for 2011 and 2012, the two sessions of the 112th Congress. They are the ACLU and the ITIC. About the interest groups.

20112012
FRC2066
LCV5149
CFG2243
ITIC-100
NTU3333
20112012
COC88-
ACLU-30
ACU1236
ADA5040
AFSCME57-
Key House Votes

The key votes show how a member of Congress voted on the major bills of the year. N indicates a "no" vote; Y a "yes" vote. If a member voted "present" or was absent, the bill caption is not shown. For a complete description of the bills included in key votes, see the Almanac's Guide to Usage.

    • Pass GOP budget
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2012
    • End fiscal cliff
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2012
    • Extend payroll tax cut
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2012
    • Find AG in contempt
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2012
    • Stop student loan hike
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2012
    • Repeal health care
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2012
    • Raise debt limit
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2011
    • Pass cut, cap, balance
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2011
    • Defund Planned Parenthood
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2011
    • Repeal lightbulb ban
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2011
    • Add endangered listings
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2011
    • Speed troop withdrawal
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2011
    • Regulate financial firms
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2010
    • Pass tax cuts for some
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2010
    • Stop detainee transfers
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2010
    • Legalize immigrants' kids
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2010
    • Repeal don't ask, tell
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2010
    • Limit campaign funds
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2010
    • Overturn Ledbetter
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2009
    • Pass $820 billion stimulus
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2009
    • Let guns in national parks
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2009
    • Pass cap-and-trade
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2009
    • Bar federal abortion funds
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2009
    • Pass health care bill
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2009
    • Bail out financial markets
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2008
    • Repeal D.C. gun law
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2008
    • Overhaul FISA
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2008
    • Increase minimum wage
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2007
    • Expand SCHIP
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2007
    • Raise CAFE standards
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2007
    • Share immigration data
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2007
    • Foreign aid abortion ban
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2007
    • Ban gay bias in workplace
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2007
    • Withdraw troops 8/08
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2007
    • No operations in Iran
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2007
    • Free trade with Peru
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2007
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The Almanac is a members-only database of searchable profiles compiled and adapted from the Almanac of American Politics. Comprehensive online profiles include biographical and political summaries of elected officials, campaign expenditures, voting records, interest-group ratings, and congressional staff look-ups. In-depth overviews of each state and house district are included as well, along with demographic data, analysis of voting trends, and political histories.
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