From OpenCongress Wiki
|This profile of a DEFEATED 2008 U.S. Senate candidate to represent Texas is part of the Wiki the Vote project.|
|See all the Texas members of Congress, candidates and blogs at the Texas portal.|
|This article is a stub. You can help by expanding it.|
Rick Noriega is a Democratic candidate in the 2008 congressional elections for the Senate in Texas. He the Democratic nominee who will challenge incumbent Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas). He won in primary elections which took place on March 4, 2008. 
Positions, record and controversies
Rick Noriega is no stranger to public service. Having served in both the armed forces and in public office, he is prepared to restore integrity in the U.S. Senate.
A Native Houstonian:
Rick was raised in Houston, Texas. He graduated from Mt. Carmel High School in 1976 and attended Alvin Junior College on a Rusk athletic scholarship. It was during these formative years that he learned to work hard to get far in life.
In 1984, Rick completed his undergraduate education with the help of an ROTC scholarship at the University of Houston, receiving his commission in the United States Army. He went on to earn a Master's Degree in Public Administration in 1990 at the Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government, where he was an editor of the Harvard Journal of Hispanic Policy.
Answering the Call in the Armed Forces:
Rick felt compelled to answer the call and serve in the U.S. Army in the wake of the 1979 Iran hostage crisis. He was an airborne school and service commander of the 143rd Infantry Detachment (Long-Range Surveillance), an aide to Brigadier General David Heuer, and aide-de-camp to General Samuel Turk, Adjutant General of the Texas Army National Guard.
But Rick's service in the Army did not end there. He became a Lieutenant Colonel in the Texas Army National Guard, and served as deputy garrison commander of the KMTC training facility in Kabul, Afghanistan after 9/11. He was also the Laredo Border Sector Commander in Operation Jump Start; Rick was deployed in Afghanistan for a total of 14 months until August 2005.
Upon his return from Afghanistan, Rick was tapped by Mayor Bill White as Incident Commander of Houston's Hurricane Katrina relief efforts at the George R. Brown Convention Center. His leadership with the military, as well as his record in community service, was crucial as the GRB was transformed into a virtual city that cared for nearly 30,000 evacuees, and was then dismantled in the course of less than a month. At the center, Rick coordinated medical, employment, travel, housing and food services for more than 2,000 evacuees living on-site.
Rick's Family Life:
Rick and his wife, Melissa, were married on Valentine's Day in 1991. Like Rick, Melissa is active in her community, and she currently sits on the Houston City Council.
The Noriegas have two sons, Alex and Ricky Jr., and are members of Christ Church Cathedral in downtown Houston. Though busy, Rick works hard to balance his life as a Representative, husband, and father. (Back to top)
Early Public Service in State Government:
Upon his return to Houston, Rick became project manager for Communities in Schools. He also taught for the Houston Independent School District and Houston Community College System before becoming a staffer in the Texas State Senate.
As a staff member, Rick coordinated the passage of the current 911 Poison Control law. He joined Houston Industries, Inc., (now CenterPoint Energy, Inc.) as part of the Governmental Affairs department in November 1993. He became a manager of economic development for CenterPoint Energy after winning the Democratic nomination for State Representative, District 145, in the spring of 1998.
An Effective and Accomplished Texas Representative:
A 67% majority in the 1998 general election sent Rick to the Texas House of Representatives, where he took his first oath of office on January 12, 1999. During his first term, he authored or sponsored legislation relating to economic development, emergency repairs for schools, tougher penalties for selling inhalants to minors, regulating automobile title services in Harris County to reduce fraud, financial aid for custodial grandparents, and tuition assistance for some Texas Army National Guard members.
Rick was re-elected to a second term in the Texas House in November 2000, where he continued to serve on the Human Services and Transportation Committees. His legislative package increased benefits for custodial grandparents; established a memorial to honor Texas hero Juan Seguin; removed the statute of limitation for prosecution of fatal-hit and-run accidents and required bilingual notices to residents living near convicted sex offenders.
The most significant accomplishment of Rick's second session in 2001 was passage of House Bill 1403. This was an historic bill, making Texas the first state in the country to provide in-state tuition rates and financial assistance for certain immigrant children; today, thousands of them are attending college. To date eight other states, have passed or proposed similar eligibility programs and, in Congress; first, Senator Orrin Hatch (Utah) and currently others have brought forward The DREAM Act, to accomplish the same purpose at the federal level.
For his courage in authoring HB 1403 and his leadership in shepherding the bill through the legislative process, Rick received numerous awards including one from the Texas Association of Bilingual Educators, Texas LULAC. He was also selected by the Texas Association of Chicanos in Higher Education (TACHE) and Hispanic Journal as "2001 Legislator of the Year." The government of Mexico honored Rick with the Ohtli Award, presented to U.S. citizens of Mexican descent who have distinguished themselves in public service in 2002.
Rick was elected to his 4th term in the Texas House of Representatives in November 2004, at the same time as he was serving his state and his country in the US Army, training a new Army for Afghanistan. His wife, Melissa Meisgeier Noriega, made history when she was sworn in as his temporary replacement for the 79th Legislature on January 11, 2005, and she served in his stead on the Corrections and Defense Affairs and State and Federal Relations committees.
Answering the Call Once More:
During the summer of 2007, Rick was drafted by activists, both online and offline, to run for U.S. Senate. Our nation is headed in the wrong direction, and Rick is ready to stand up for those who have been marginalized by the Bush administration. Rick is proud of how much he has accomplished by living up to high standards, and intends to dedicate himself toward restoring integrity in the U.S. Senate. He is honored by the draft effort and is answering the call to run for Senate in 2008.
Money in politics
Committees and affiliations
Noriega will be assigned committees if and when he is elected to Congress.
More background data
Articles and resources
- 2008 U.S. congressional elections
- Portal:Texas and the U.S. Congress
- ↑ Texas 2008 General Election,"The Green Papers", July 7, 2008
- ↑ 2008 Race Tracker page on Texas’s Senate Race
- ↑ Noriega's FEC filings for the 2007-08 election cycle