Paul Elizondo

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Paul Elizondo, Jr.

(Democratic politician and power broker in San Antonio, Texas)


Bexar County Commissioner
for Precinct 2
In office
1983–1987
In office
1989 – December 27, 2018
Succeeded by Justin Rodriguez

Texas State Representative for then District 57-I
In office
1979–1983
Preceded by R. L. "Bob" Vale
Succeeded by District re-numbered

Born June 12, 1935
San Antonio, Texas
Died December 27, 2018 (aged 83)
San Antonio, Texas
Spouse(s) Irene Elizondo (married c. 1964-2018, his death)
Children David Elizondo

Richard Elizondo
John Elizondo
Three granddaughters

Religion Roman Catholicism

Paul Elizondo, Jr. (June 12, 1935 – December 27, 2018), was a former music teacher who became a Democratic politician and power broker in his native San Antonio, Texas.

After two terms in the Texas House of Representatives during the first administration of Republican Governor Bill Clements from 1979 to 1983, Elizondo was elected the Precinct 2 representative for the five-member Bexar County Commissioners Court, the county governing body, which is usually 4-1 Democratic. He held that post, nonconsecutively, for thirty-three years from 1983 to 1987 and 1989 until his death in 2018. Considered "the lion" of politics on the West Side of San Antonio for nearly four decades, Elizondo took credit for many big projects, including the AT&T Center, the San Pedro Creek initiative, the Mission Reach, the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, the Women & Children's Inpatient Tower on the South Texas Medical Center campus, the Alameda Theater restoration and the new Paul Elizondo Adult Behavioral Health Clinic on West Commerce.[1]

In 2002, Elizondo outsmarted state legislator Mike Villarreal, who announced in 2001 that he would challenge Elizondo for re-nomination. The commissioners court hence redrew the district lines to remove Villarreal from Elizondo's Precinct 2. Elizondo quipped that Villarreal made a strategic error by announcing his plans too soon. Elizondo's political test was the 2018 Democratic primary in which he narrowly defeated two intra-party challengers,[1] the strongest of whom, Queta Rodriguez, forced Elizondo into a runoff primary. She later said that her candidacy challenging Elizondo caused her to lose her job as the Bexar County veterans service officer. Elizondo said that he was seeking his last term in 2018 and would if reelected have sought to bring other projects to fruition, including the transformation of the San Pedro Creek into a walkable linear park and the renovation of the long moribund downtown Alameda Theater.[2]

The son of Pablo, Sr., and Petra Elizondo, Commissioner Elizondo was a former teacher, band director, and music supervisor at the Edgewood and San Antonio independent school districts. He served in the United States Marine Corps.[3] Elizondo died at the age of eighty-three. He and his wife of fifty-four years, Irene Elizondo, had three sons, David Elizondo, Richard Elizondo, and John Elizondo, and three granddaughters. His Roman Catholic funeral mass was held on January 3 at San Fernando Cathedral in San Antonio. He is interred at San Fernando II Mausoleum.[4]

County Judge Nelson Wolff appointed a fellow Democrat, state Representative Justin Rodriguez of House District 123, to succeed Elizondo. Wolff once said, "You might characterize Elizondo as Mr. Insider and me as Mr. Outsider. ... I run around and take credit for what he’s done.”[1]

Rodriguez, who said that he will attempt to continue the Elizondo legacy, must still run in a special election in 2020 to fill the last two years of Elizondo's last elected term.[3]

The Paul Elizondo Adult Behavioral Health Clinic in San Antonio is named in his honor.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Gilbert Garcia (January 4, 2019). Elizondo wielded power with rare authority. San Antonio Express-News. Retrieved on January 5, 2019.
  2. In Democratic primary, Elizondo's experience sets him apart. The San Antonio Express-News (February 4, 2018). Retrieved on January 6, 2019.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Patrick Svitek (January 4, 2019). Justin Rodriguez leaving Texas House after being appointed Bexar County commissioner: The San Antonio Democrat was selected to replace Bexar County Commissioner Paul Elizondo, who died last week. The Texas Tribune. Retrieved on January 6, 2019.
  4. Obituary for Commissioner Paul Elizondo. Porter Loring Mortuary. Retrieved on January 5, 2018.