Almanac A members-only database of searchable profiles compiled and adapted from the Almanac of American Politics

Biography

Elected: 1996, 9th term.

Born: August 20, 1940, Mercedes

Home: Mercedes

Education: U. of TX, B.B.A. 1962, M.B.A. 1980

Professional Career: Pres. & CEO, H&H Foods Inc., 1976-96; Consultant, H&H Foods Inc., 1996-2008.

Ethnicity: Hispanic/Latino

Religion: Catholic

Family: married (Marty) , 5 children

Rubén Hinojosa, a Democrat first elected in 1996, is known as a staunch advocate for improving education, housing, and rural economic development for Hispanics. He took over in 2013 as chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, giving him a prominent role in the debate over comprehensive immigration reform.

Hinojosa (ee-no-HO-sa) grew up in Mercedes, where his family owned H&H Foods, a company that produced Mexican foods and was one of the largest employers in the Rio Grande Valley. After earning his bachelor’s and M.B.A. from the University of Texas, he went into the family business and was active in civic affairs, primarily in education and regional development. He served on the state Board of Education and led an effort to create three regional magnet schools.

After Democratic Rep. Kika de la Garza announced he would not seek reelection in 1996, Hinojosa ran for the seat. In initial voting in the Democratic primary, he led Anglo lawyer Jim Selman 34%-33%. During the runoff campaign, Selman questioned Hinojosa’s Democratic credentials and said he profited from government contracts. Hinojosa emphasized his interest in improving educational opportunities and extending highways to the Lower Rio Grande Valley. Hinojosa took some moderate positions, calling for a reduction of the capital gains tax and investment tax credits for those making capital improvements. He won the runoff 52%-48% and easily won the general election.

Hinojosa once had a moderate voting record among House Democrats, especially on economic issues, but in recent years, has moved more in line with his party to back the Obama administration’s major initiatives. He decried House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s budget blueprint in March 2013 as a “cynical, cruel, and dishonest document” that would hurt the poor and elderly. He introduced a bill a month earlier to expand “Early College” schools that allow students to earn college credit while getting their high school diplomas. He has sought to protect benefits for legal immigrants, to promote the North American Free Trade Agreement, and to demand that Mexico deliver on its agreement for water to South Texas farmers. He has a proclivity for holding out on votes to make last-minute legislative deals. He supported Republican President George W. Bush’s proposal for broader authority to negotiate trade deals after he was promised a job training project for his district.

Taking over as head of the Hispanic Caucus, Hinojosa called the bipartisan Senate blueprint on the immigration “a good foundation for the legislation that is needed.” After Donald Trump told a conservative gathering that Europeans should get preference in emigrating to the United States, the congressman said the statement was “at best an ill-informed economic myth and at worst, racist rhetoric.”

But Hinojosa has struggled to advance in the House at times. Despite support in 2003 from the Texas delegation for a spot on the Ways and Means Committee, Hinojosa was passed over in favor of Texas Rep. Max Sandlin, an ally of Minority Whip Nancy Pelosi. In early 2005, Hinojosa made an unsuccessful bid for vice chairman of the Democratic Caucus, but abandoned his candidacy after two weeks due to lack of support.

After Democrats won control of the House in 2006, Hinojosa chaired the Higher Education, Life Long Learning, and Competitiveness Subcommittee, where he focused on families traditionally left behind in American education. After the GOP victories in 2010, he became the ranking Democrat on the panel, which was renamed Higher Education and Workforce Training. He joined Democrats in walking out of a March 2013 hearing to consider a Republican worker training bill that he and other committee leaders from his party said “was being advanced for political reasons, not to make the workforce investment system work better.”

In February 2011, Hinojosa made headlines when, as a member of the Financial Services Committee, he filed for personal bankruptcy. He blamed the problem on a loan that he guaranteed for his family’s food products company that led him to owe $2.6 million to Wells Fargo Bank.

His troubles were compounded by a lackluster first quarter of fundraising in which he brought in less than $8,000. But he recovered financially and spent $375,000 to easily dispatch four Democratic primary opponents—one of whom, Jane Cross, sought to file for the ballot as “Jane ‘Juanita Cruz’ Cross.” Republicans privately discussed making a serious run at Hinojosa, but their plans fell apart when their preferred candidate, Latina businesswoman Rebecca Cervera, lost in the GOP primary. Hinojosa crushed Republican Dale Brueggemann, 61%-37%, and subsequently emerged from bankruptcy.

Office Contact Information

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 225-2531

(202) 225-5688

RHOB- Rayburn House Office Building Room 2262
Washington, DC 20515-4315

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 225-2531

(202) 225-5688

RHOB- Rayburn House Office Building Room 2262
Washington, DC 20515-4315

DISTRICT OFFICE

(956) 682-5545

(956) 682-0141

2864 West Trenton Road
Edinburg, TX 78539-9232

DISTRICT OFFICE

(956) 682-5545

(956) 682-0141

2864 West Trenton Road
Edinburg, TX 78539-9232

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

10125 North Tenth Street Suite E
McAllen, TX 78504

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

10125 North Tenth Street Suite E
McAllen, TX 78504

Staff

Sort by: Interest Name Title

Abortion

Faith Williams
Legislative Correspondent

Agriculture

Roberto Sada
Legislative Assistant

Animal Rights

Faith Williams
Legislative Correspondent

Appropriations

Peter Spiro
Chief of Staff

Rosa Garcia
Legislative Director

Arts

Dolores Gomez
Legislative Assistant

Banking

Roberto Haddad
Legislative Counsel

Budget

Roberto Haddad
Legislative Counsel

Commerce

Roberto Haddad
Legislative Counsel

Education

Dolores Gomez
Legislative Assistant

Energy

Roberto Sada
Legislative Assistant

Environment

Roberto Sada
Legislative Assistant

Finance

Roberto Haddad
Legislative Counsel

Foreign

Roberto Sada
Legislative Assistant

Govt Ops

Faith Williams
Legislative Correspondent

Peter Spiro
Chief of Staff

Rosa Garcia
Legislative Director

Health

Roberto Sada
Legislative Assistant

Homeland Security

Roberto Sada
Legislative Assistant

Housing

Roberto Haddad
Legislative Counsel

Human Rights

Roberto Haddad
Legislative Counsel

Immigration

Roberto Haddad
Legislative Counsel

Judiciary

Roberto Haddad
Legislative Counsel

Labor

Dolores Gomez
Legislative Assistant

Roberto Haddad
Legislative Counsel

Public Works

Roberto Sada
Legislative Assistant

Rural Affairs

Roberto Sada
Legislative Assistant

Science

Dolores Gomez
Legislative Assistant

Small Business

Roberto Haddad
Legislative Counsel

Social Security

Dolores Gomez
Legislative Assistant

Tax

Roberto Haddad
Legislative Counsel

Technology

Dolores Gomez
Legislative Assistant

Telecommunications

Faith Williams
Legislative Correspondent

Trade

Roberto Haddad
Legislative Counsel

Transportation

Roberto Sada
Legislative Assistant

Veterans

Faith Williams
Legislative Correspondent

Welfare

Dolores Gomez
Legislative Assistant

Election Results

2012 GENERAL
Rubén Hinojosa
Votes: 89,296
Percent: 60.89%
Dale Brueggemann
Votes: 54,056
Percent: 36.86%
2012 PRIMARY
Rubén Hinojosa
Votes: 29,397
Percent: 71.16%
David Cantu
Votes: 5,008
Percent: 12.12%
Jane Cross
Votes: 4,208
Percent: 10.19%
2010 GENERAL
Rubén Hinojosa
Votes: 53,546
Percent: 55.73%
Eddie Zamora
Votes: 39,964
Percent: 41.59%
2010 PRIMARY
Rubén Hinojosa
Votes: 37,430
Percent: 83.71%
Doug Purl
Votes: 7,282
Percent: 16.29%
2008 GENERAL
Rubén Hinojosa
Votes: 107,578
Percent: 65.71%
Eddie Zamora
Votes: 52,303
Percent: 31.95%
2008 PRIMARY
Rubén Hinojosa
Votes: 77,227
Percent: 100.0%
Prior Winning Percentages
2010 (56%), 2008 (66%), 2006 (62%), 2004 (58%), 2002 (100%), 2000 (88%), 1998 (58%), 1996 (62%)

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