State Senator César J. Blanco

With the New Year officially upon us, it’s the time of year to reflect on how we are giving back to our community. 2021 has been a busy year for our firm. This was my first year as a senator from your state, and we faced many unprecedented challenges ahead of the 87th legislative session. We needed to pass legislation to support our state’s COVID-19 recovery, get Texans back to work, and increase access to health care. We had to make sure our kids had the resources they needed to succeed, like access to school supplies. As we reflect on the past year, we have successfully solved the problems of our constituents and uplifted our neighbors through the services we have provided and the legislation we have passed.

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the health and finances of countless Texans. Many lost their jobs, needed unemployment insurance or had questions about their health insurance. Our office understands that cutting red tape from a government agency can be a challenge, so we have prioritized providing useful and meaningful services to members of our community. If you need help, we can help you with a range of questions, including food stamps (SNAP), Medicaid, unemployment insurance, children’s health insurance, driver’s license and identification. , elderly and aging services, and child and adult protection services. This year, we successfully assisted over 300 voters by reducing state bureaucracy and helping our constituents get the resources and benefits they needed from state agencies.

El Paso Sheriff Richard Wiles and State Senator Caesar J. Blanco attend the dedication ceremony for the Del Valle Middle School Library for Deputy Peter John Herrera, Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2021. Herrera was killed in the performance of his duties. He died on March 24, 2019, two days after being shot.

Our office is also committed to organizing appropriate community service events to provide essential support to residents in need. Since I took office on January 12, 2021, we have directly hosted 29 community service events and 31 town hall meetings and presentations. We hand-delivered nearly 500 turkeys to Senate District 29 for our 7th Annual Thanksgiving Turkey Giveaway. We provided back-to-school supplies to children attending elementary schools across the district, including El Paso County. We held virtual workshops for mental health providers dealing with military personnel and families and held several COVID-19 vaccination campaigns through which more than 2,500 voters were vaccinated. We also donated box fans to seniors to help them beat the heat and held a citizenship workshop to help members with the naturalization process. In total, our office directly served over 6,000 constituents through our events over the past year.

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We also helped lift El Paso through the legislation we passed this year. With four sessions, we were able to accomplish a lot. During the Third Special Session, I co-wrote Senate Bill 8 to allocate more than $13 billion to Texas in the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) for COVID-19 recovery, including $7 billion to the Unemployment Compensation Fund, $180 million for tourism and travel, and $35 million for our veterans homes. I also secured over $112 million for infrastructure improvements at UTEP and TTUHSCEP to accommodate enrollment growth and enable continued innovation.

During the 87th Legislature, I worked hard to improve the economy and increase access to health care in El Paso. I’ve written bills to fight gun violence and hate and passed laws to crack down on criminals who try to buy or possess guns. I have co-authored and co-sponsored bills aimed at improving bilingual education and addressing the shortage of bilingual educators in our state. The pandemic has impacted our local businesses, so I sponsored and passed a bill to create jobs and provide small businesses with a lifeline to jump-start their recovery with access to capital.

State Senator César Blanco speaks during the celebration of life for President Emeritus Diana Natalicio on Sunday, October 24, 2021, at Centennial Plaza on the UTEP campus.

State Senator César Blanco speaks during the celebration of life for President Emeritus Diana Natalicio on Sunday, October 24, 2021, at Centennial Plaza on the UTEP campus.

We had a lot of work to do for our community this year, and I’m proud of what we accomplished. It has been a privilege to serve you as your state senator. While the work we do on Capitol Hill is important, you can count on me to continue to put our constituents first with the service events we host in the District. If you need help cutting red tape from a state agency or have ideas for improving our community, please don’t hesitate to contact me. It is, after all, YOUR Senate office. To contact me or make a request, email us at [email protected] or call 915-595-5955.

I look forward to continuing to work for you this year and beyond.

State Sen. César J. Blanco, D-El Paso, represents District 29.

This article originally appeared on El Paso Times: Reflecting on Serving El Paso in the Texas Senate: Senator César J. Blanco

Norman D. Briggs