About Norma...

All politics is local. No one understands this precept more than Norma Chávez. It has been the hallmark of her career as a community organizer and the cornerstone for her success as a Texas legislator.

From the neighborhood to the statehouse, Norma has never lost her touch with the people, or her instinctive ability to bring together coalitions of stakeholders with common interests and organize them to affect change in their community. She possesses a rare, panoramic perspective on lawmaking often lacking in elected officials – a view of the legislative process not only from the inside out, but also from the ground up.

A community organizer at heart, Norma’s career began at the grassroots level, walking blocks and knocking on doors in her native El Paso, educating her neighbors on local issues. Her early organizing activities focused on cultural, environmental, and human rights matters. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Norma spearheaded efforts to preserve Mexican-American culture in her home city, teamed with other concerned citizens to successfully oppose efforts to build a nuclear waste site in Sierra Blanca, and spent two years as a community organizer for the United Farm Workers Union.

In 1990, Norma embarked on a citizen’s campaign that ultimately launched her career in public service. After receiving notice of federal legislation that would impact her family-owned gas station (NCN Texaco; Norman, Connie, Norma), Norma intensively researched proposed amendments to the 1990 Federal Clean Air Act and organized a successful citizens’ lobby of El Paso small businesses, car dealers from across the state, and other interest groups to defeat centralized automobile emissions testing. As part of this five-year statewide and national effort, Norma testified before the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in Washington and the Texas Air Control Board in Austin. Ultimately, she was instrumental in the passage of state legislation that preserved the rights of small businesses to perform emissions testing and repairs, protected the environment, and ensured a balance between business and environmental interests -- while saving thousands of Texas jobs and cleaning the air. Shortly after this successful campaign, Norma announced her candidacy to represent her ommunity in Austin. 

She was elected and took office in January 1997, becoming the first Latina elected to the Texas Legislature from El Paso.      

As Norma gained experience and seniority, she served in increasingly influential roles, including as Chair of the House Border and International Affairs Committee and Vice Chair of three standing House committees – Rules and Resolutions, Human Services, and Calendars Committee, a powerful Speaker Appointment Committee, serving under two different Speakers. As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, she became intricately familiar with the budget-writing process.

During her 14-year tenure as a state representative, Norma authored and passed dozens of bills, but she also became proficient at utilizing the rules to kill bills harmful to her El Paso community and to the State of Texas. Her legislative career was marked by achievements in the areas of accountability and transparency in government; the arts and Mexican-American culture; bank lending practices; the creation of El Paso courts of law; economic development; education; financial literacy and responsibility; financial assistance for economically distressed areas including water for Colonia residents statewide; gaming; health care and medical research; immigration; pension solvency; public safety; skills development for workers; senior citizen care; transportation; veterans affairs; and voting and civil rights, as well as many others.

Norma left the Texas House in 2011. For two years, she produced and hosted an independent radio talk show in El Paso called “Border Talk,” leading an ongoing public dialogue on issues affecting the borderlands, Latino interests, politics, culture, music, and the arts.

Norma is the founder of Texico Communications & Productions. Texaco Communications is a public strategy, consulting, and communications company.  She draws on her intricate knowledge of grassroots organizing and consensus-building, her insider’s understanding of parliamentary procedure and the legislative process, and her media and communications skills to advance her El Paso’s interests. In addition, Texico Productions produced various music events in El Paso including the Texas Folklife Resources "Accordian Kings" and a United Farm Workers Association benefit concert at Dudley Field with Grammy Award winners Mexican rock band "Cafe Tacuba". Norma also helped showcase El Paso bands and musicians in Austin, Texas. In the Texas legislature she authored legislation for Mary Wilson of the Supremes to protect original bands and their music from copy cats acts with no original band members.

Norma is also an Airbnb Superhost and advocate for the short term rental industry in Texas, across the nation, and around the world.

Norma Chávez is the only daughter of Norman and Connie Chavez. She loves her parents, and loves her dogs, she prefers live music of all types, she took piano lessons for 10 years starting at age 6 and can read music (she calls it her third language), and likes to read print newspapers from whatever town she visits.

In 2015, a near death experience gave Norma a new perspective on life after an emergency colostomy required her to have an ostomy, a stoma, and a bag for six months. It is this humbling experience that gave her a renewed spiritual foundation that grounds her Christian faith. 

Norma graduated from The University of Texas at Austin in 2009 with a Bachelor of Arts, Government Major/Business Minor. She is proud that her college degree includes her basics from Angelo State University and the University of Texas at El Paso. In addition,  Norma completed a summer leadership program for Seniors in Executive State and Local Government at Harvard University Kennedy School of Government. Norma was also a delegate to Japan as a member of the American Council of Young Political Leaders (ACYPL) representing leaders throughout the United States. Throughout her 14 years as a legislator she was invited to participate in various fellowship and leadership development programs. Prior to serving in public office, Norma was identified by the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF) as a leader and was invited to attend the community based organizer training. Both Dolores Huerta and Cesar Chavez participated in the IAF leadership training.

Norma Chavez is ready to serve the people of El Paso as the first Congresswoman from El Paso District 16. 

 

Paid for by the Norma for Congresswoman 16 Committee
Dolores Huerta, Treasurer
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