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Category: News

District Election Results Final

District Election Results Final

Pete Flores, Texas State Senator, released the following statement on last night’s election results.

“Yesterday’s election results were not what we had hoped for, but this campaign has come to an end.

“I send my heartfelt thanks to the people of the District. I appreciate the opportunity to serve as their State Senator for the 86th Session. I want to thank the Lt. Governor and my colleagues in the Texas Senate for their support as we accomplished a great many things for the people of Texas and this District. And most of all, I thank my family for their support and understanding throughout this time in public office.

“Together we made history, winning this seat in 2018. We again achieved historic and unprecedented results but fell short of reelection. Electorally, we made gains in every county, and for that I thank each and every one of you. I am encouraged by the fact that we held Mr. Gutierrez to under 50%.

“The results also show that we flipped Brewster, Frio, Reeves, and Val Verde counties from Blue to Red, and made double-digit gains in Maverick and Zavala. South and west Texas continue to trend Republican.

“This district is diverse and unique. While I have lived much of my life here, I learned each day from the people, and they have made me a better man.

“I will complete my term in January, but my service to the people of south and west Texas will continue,” Flores concluded.

Flores Campaign Statement on the Veritas Video Series

PLEASANTON TX – “Pete Flores has fought the Politiqueras throughout south and west Texas,” said campaign spokesman Allen Blakemore. “He spent nearly 30 years in law enforcement and has always been in the right side of law – he’s a man of unquestioned integrity.

“Politiqueras in south and west Texas area have been a problem throughout the modern political era, and voter fraud is real. These videos highlight a significant problem.

“Project Veritas has highlighted election integrity issues around the nation. While as often as not, their videos are manipulated and often deceptively edited, their tactics are questionable, and their journalistic standards are sloppy at best.

“Raquel Rodriguez makes some bold claims in her Project Veritas screen debut – yet when questioned by San Antonio reporter Yami Virgin of WOAI-TV (NBC), Ms. Rodriguez said, ‘…I made false statements to the operatives…’

“Here are the facts: Ms. Rodriguez solicited Senator Flores support to help sponsor food for a voter registration event in south Bexar County on August 8. She was paid by check and it was reported on the Senator’s campaign finance report. No other funds have been paid to Ms. Rodriguez.

“A member of the Flores campaign staff attending the Bexar County GOP Southside Headquarters Grand Opening on October 10 distributing Flores signs, caps, t-shirts, face masks provided Ms. Rodriguez fewer than 25 masks,” Blakemore concluded.

More information about Pete Flores is available at www.FloresforTexas.com.

Pete’s Periódico: Early Voting Begins

The economy is almost fully open, early voting is underway, pumpkins are being carved, and now you can enjoy a beer at your favorite watering hole. Per a recent Executive Order from Governor Greg Abbott, county judges are able to open bars and similar establishments to 50% capacity. The Governor’s order also increases the occupancy levels for all business establishments other than bars to 75% – all counties where COVID-19 hospitalizations are less than 15% of hospital capacity can open all businesses other than bars to 75% capacity.

Many business have suffered since March––given they have been almost fully closed, bars have suffered more than most businesses. For the sake of establishments across Senate District 19, I applaud the Governor for finally reducing restrictions on base and related business. We strongly encourage the opening of Texas as soon as possible.

The Governor’s decision comes with strong data from Texas State Health Services suggesting Texas has this virus under control. Daily new cases of COVID-19 in Texas peaked in mid-July and has consistently declined since; from around 11,00 daily new cases to around 4,000 now. For the past six weeks, daily new cases has hovered right around 4,000.

The daily new fatality numbers has steeply declined since mid-July as well, but we’re still losing Texans––family members, neighbors, coworkers––to this virus. We are faring better than many other states. Texas ranks #14 in cases per capita and #18 in deaths per capita, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Texas will continue to stand together and emerge from this pandemic stronger than before.

COVID-19 is destructive to small businesses, so is a lack of public safety. Cities across our country have seen local businesses destroyed by riots and criminal actors––I am thankful for the leadership of brave police chiefs, sheriffs, state law enforcement and their officers to keep Texas business, families, homes, and schools safe.

As a Texas Game Warden for 27 years, I serve in the Texas Legislature with a very unique perspective. I understand better than most the daily sacrifices and challenges our men and women face. While serving as a Warden, I had colleagues who died in the line of duty. They did not die in vain––those brave officers gave their life protecting Texas and the great people in it. We must always honor their memory and never take their sacrifice for granted.

 

While leading over 500 Wardens as Colonel, I always made sure my officers were fully prepared, mentally and physically, to interact with the public and keep Texans safe. Police departments across this state should act no differently. As a state, we must support our public safety officers and keep our communities safe. Public safety and maintaining law and order is the fundamental duty for any government. In this effort, we trust peace officers with incredible responsibility, held accountable by high standards. Texas law enforcement is regarded as some of the best in the world. We must always ensure our officers maintain high-quality character and decision-making.

 

Citizens engage best in all parts of their government by voting. Across this state, Texas are exercising their voice at the ballot box, choosing future public servants at the local, state, and federal level. Early voting ends on Friday, October 30. In-person polling locations can be found by contacting the county elections department or visiting the following website: www.votetexas.gov.

 

Eligible Texans are able to vote early by mail; deadline to apply for a ballot by mail is Friday, October 23. Texans can also call 1-800-252-VOTE (8683) for more information. Exercise your civic duty and vote.

Public Safety for Every Texan

I want to share my new TV spot. I believe the first responsibility of government is the public safety of every Texan. I will always support our police departments and continue to provide the tools that they need to enforce the rule of law. I’d be honored to have your vote. Thank you.

Pete’s Periódico: The Importance of Education in Senate District 19

Pete’s Periódico
The Importance of Education in Senate District 19

by Sen. Pete Flores, Senate District 19

No doubt this school year looks drastically different than expected. As students and teachers return to the classroom––physically and virtually––I am incredibly proud of the schools in Senate District 19. I am also very proud of the hard work we did last Legislative Session to support Texas public education.

Many called the most recent session the “Education Session” because of our significant work on school finance and property tax reform. The school finance system was in dire need of reform and drastically underfunded. We started with the largest student allotment increase in a decade––from $5,140 to $6,160 per student. This money goes straight to students, classrooms, and teachers. I voted for every increase to public education funding. It is a top priority of mine to ensure we maintain this funding during the next Legislative Session.

In addition to increasing the amount schools receive per student, we allocated $2 billion for dynamic pay raises for teachers, librarians, counselors, and nurses, including $140 million for a merit pay program to reward good teachers with better pay. As a co-author of Senate Bill 12, we provided a one-time supplemental check up to $2,000 for eligible retirees under the Teacher Retirement System of Texas. The Legislature also allocated funds to preserve current health care insurance costs, avoiding a spike in prices for retired educators.

Public education has never been more important. Across Senate District 19, teachers and administrators are selflessly serving our students, upholding the Texas Constitutional mandate to provide an “efficient system of public free schools.” As a sibling of six public school teachers, and public school student and parent myself, I voted to support public education at every level.

In Texas, public education is a right. In the United States, voting is a right. The deadline to register to vote in Texas is Monday, October 5. To register to vote in Texas, simply complete a voter registration application and return it to your county election office. A registration application, and more information on registering to vote, can be found at the website below.

Eligible Texans are able to vote early by mail; deadline to apply for a ballot by mail is Friday, October 23. In order to be eligible, a voter must: be 65 years or older; be disabled; be out of the county on election day and during the period for early voting by personal appearance; or be confined in jail, but otherwise eligible. Call 1-800-252-VOTE or visit the following website for more information: www.votetexas.gov.

In efforts to create more voting opportunities, Governor Greg Abbott signed an executive order to extend the early voting period by six days. Early voting for the November 3 general election now begins on Tuesday, October 13, and ends Friday, October 30. The Governor’s goal is to give voters greater flexibility and reduce crowding at polls.

I encourage all Senate District 19 constituents to stay safe as we weather this pandemic together. Next time you see a teacher, peace officer, firefighter, military veteran, or other first responder around town, show them gratitude for their service. They need our encouragement now more than ever.

Pete’s Periódico: Back to School

We made it to August, a month many see as a pivot from the slow summer break and to the busy fall filled with school, sports, holidays, and the occasional cool weather. Of course, this year is different, especially for our K–12 students.

The Texas Constitution states it is the duty of the Legislature to provide an “efficient system of public free schools.” The recent 86th Legislative Session was primarily focused on education; we increased funding per student, established pay increases for teachers, balanced the pension fund for retired educators, and provided some retirees with a one-time supplemental check. I strongly supported this position and my affirmative votes reflected it.

How to best serve students and open schools during this ongoing pandemic is an incredibly complex decision. But it is a decision that must be made by local school districts. In a state as large and diverse as Texas, a blanket order on school operation will likely do more harm than good. On this, I agree.

Last week, the state’s top elected officials – Governor Greg Abbott, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen – and the leaders of the Education Committees in the House and Senate released a statement regarding opening schools with a simple message: let districts decide. The authority to make decisions about when and how schools safely open rests with the constitutionally and statutorily established local school boards.

School districts can choose to open in August, September, or even later. But, whenever the local school board chooses to open, the board must comply with the requirement to provide the necessary number of days and hours of instruction for students. The Texas Education Agency and Texas Attorney General have been very helpful in providing clarity and resources on how this can be done.

By many factors, Texas remains incredibly healthy, ranking #22 in deaths per capita and #8 most deaths in the nation, despite being the second-largest state. We remain under statewide mandates on wearing masks, occupancy limits, and more in an effort to keep Texans safe. All policies have the potential for negative effects, but we must try something to slow the spread of COVID-19 and keep vulnerable Texans safe.

The best resources for COVID-19 remains the Texas Department of State Health Services: learn the symptoms, explore the data, and find testing locations at their website: https://dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus/. If you have specific questions about COVID-19, please do not hesitate to contact DSHS directly: dial 2-1-1 and choose option 6 or email coronavirus@dshs.texas.gov.

There are testing centers across Senate District 19 outside of Bexar County: Uvalde, Hondo, Eagle Pass, Del Rio, plus in relatively close cities such as Odessa, Van Horn, Sonora, and Junction. Mobile testing sites continue to make their way around underserved parts of Texas – keep an eye on the DSHS testing map for a mobile testing center coming to your community.

We must continue to work together to practice common sense hygiene and public behavior to contain the spread of the virus. The sooner we get our state working, the better it is for us all.

I must end on a tragic note – on Saturday, August 8, three Texas Parks and Wildlife Department employees died in a helicopter crash in Brewster County. They dedicated their lives to wildlife conservation in our great state and lost their lives doing what they believed in. The pilot, a private contractor, survived the crash and is undergoing further treatment. We will always remember their service to our state and Senate District 19.

We will prevail in true Texas fashion. I remain ever optimistic and am thankful to have the opportunity to honorably serve all of the people of Texas Senate District 19.

Pete’s Periódico: Moving Forward in Difficult Times

Originally published on July 24, 2020.
From the beginning of this crisis, two primary factors drove decisions by Governor Greg Abbott and other state leaders: data and doctors. Governor Abbott eased restrictions and slowly opened Texas businesses, restaurants, bars, and other places in early May. Recently, Texas has experienced a new rise in COVID-19 cases, causing the Governor to re-evaluate and adjust regulations to keep Texans safe and businesses open
Seeing the rates of positivity and hospitalization rise, Governor Abbott decided in late June to immediately close all bars, limit restaurant capacity and outdoor gatherings of 100 or more people in an effort to slow the spread of the virus. The number of confirmed cases is rising in part due to increased testing––Texas has completed over 2,820,000 tests.
In Texas at time of writing, there are an estimated 136,000 recoveries and 3,200 fatalities, according to the Texas Health and Human Services Commission. In other words, 99.98% of Texans who contracted COVID-19 survived––the true number is likely higher, as not every individual with COVID-19 realized they were sick and received a test. One death is too many, but we can be grateful for such a high recovery rate.
If you feel sick, do not hesitate to get tested. Testing centers are up and running across Senate District 19 in San Antonio, Uvalde, Hondo, and Del Rio. Constituents can also find testing in nearby cities such as Kerrville, Junction, San Angelo, Odessa, and Presidio. Texas has mobile testing sites serving underserved areas, including many cities in Senate District 19. Constituents interesting in obtaining a COVID-19 test, especially those who live far away from the cities listed above, should be on the lookout for a mobile testing site, available by appointment only. More information on testing can be found by calling (512) 883-2400 or visiting www.dshs.state.tx.us/coronavirus or txcovidtest.org.
A central question many are wondering as summer passes its midpoint: will schools be open in the fall? Earlier this month, the Texas Education Agency issued guidance for a safe return to school, including giving the parents the option between on-campus instruction or remote learning. The TEA is hoping to give parents flexibility and I agree: parents and local school boards should determine what is best for their school children.
A one-size-fits-all approach is not the answer to the various needs of our Senate District and our state. Senate District 19 is incredibly diverse––what works for Bexar county schools will not work for Val Verde county. These decisions should be made locally. I believe Texas can honor its constitutional requirement to provide a quality education without mandating districts to operate beyond their ability.
For those students in college pursuing service in the armed forces, I encourage you to apply for the Texas Armed Services Scholarship Program. I have the ability to nominate one constituent for a scholarship up to $10,000. Applicants must be completing a baccalaureate degree and intending to become a member of a brand of the military. Constituents interested in applying need to submit a cover letter, resume, and essay by July 31, 2020––more information can be found at www.flores.senate.texas.gov
For the sake of struggling businesses across this state, I sincerely hope Texas does not revert to a full economic shutdown. I remain optimistic we can work together and emerge from this crisis in true Texas fashion: stronger and more united, continuing to lead as the best state in the nation.

Pete’s Periódico: Opening Back Up

Originally published on June 9, 2020.
Restaurants, bars, and stores are open again. With the beginning of June, Texas entered the third phase to safely reopen the economy––effective immediately, all businesses in Texas can operate at up to 50% capacity with very limited exceptions. Business that previously have been able to operate at 100% capacity may continue to do so and most outdoor areas are not subject to capacity limits. All businesses and customers should continue to follow minimum standard health protocols laid out by the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS).
Effective June 12, Restaurants may expand their occupancy levels to 75%. Counties with 10 or less active COVID-19 cases may expand their occupancy limits to 75%. Counties that fit this category but have not previously filed an attestation with DSHS will need to do so. On June 19, amusement parks and carnivals in counties with more than 1,000 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 may open at 50% capacity.
All businesses should continue to follow the minimum standard health protocols from DSHS. For details and a full list of guidelines, openings, and relevant dates, visit http://open.texas.gov. Small business owners and their employees bore the economic brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic––I urge all able Texans to get out and support local businesses.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) continues to process unemployment applications to those out of work. For those still waiting on your application to be processed, please be patient as TWC handles the same quantity of applications it normally receives over years, not months. This pandemic has stretched TWC like never before and I am impressed with their ability to adapt and serve Texans. Please do not hesitate to contact my office if you need assistance; we have been working nonstop to serve Senate District 19 constituents.
I stand with my fellow Americans when I say what happened to George Floyd was wrong. Our system of justice will prevail and hold those guilty of wrongdoing responsible. The rights we all have for peaceful protest is protected and promoted in this country under the First Amendment. I strongly support people acting lawfully to express themselves and I will continue to work hard to uphold our Constitution.
I strongly condemn those who unlawfully riot and attack innocent people, destroy businesses, and hurt our communities. They are to be held criminally responsible for their actions. The rule of law applies to us all. I thank all of our first responders and law enforcement officers for their continued service and dedication to serve each of us.
Congratulations to Senate District 19 2020 graduates––whether high school, trade school, or college, earning a diploma is no small task. I am always encouraged when I interact with new graduates. You are entering a world of wonderful opportunities; dare greatly and achieve your full potential.
No matter what happens in our state and country, Texans and Americans are strongest when we stand together. I find the hardworking people of Senate District 19 agree on much more than they disagree. Let’s find those areas of commonalties first––Texans are strong and we will get through this together.

Pete’s Periódico: Lives and Livelihoods

Originally published on May 20, 2020.
Texas is (almost) open again. Under the leadership of Governor Greg Abbott, business across the state can open doors, furloughed or laid-off Texans can earn a paycheck again, and we can take small steps back to “normal” life. As usual, Texas will lead the nation and show how we can protect lives and rebuild livelihoods.
Governor Greg Abbott has announced a multiple-phase plan to Open Texas, pairing nationally recognized medical experts with public and private-sector business leaders in the recently announced Strike Force to Open Texas for advice and expertise. The goal is to move methodically: staggering reopening of business and public places, allowing time for data on infections to be reported. Maintaining lives and public health is Texas’ top concern––Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) is issuing minimum standard health protocols for all businesses and individuals to follow.
Texas cannot afford to wait much longer. By the end of the first week of May, 1.8 million Texans filed for unemployment. The odds are every Texan still employed has a loved one or close friend who is not. I’ve heard stories from struggling business owners across Senate District 19, worried their doors may need to close for good if they cannot return to normal operations soon.
Per the Governor and his Strike Force, all retail stores, restaurants, movie theaters, and malls are permitted to reopen starting the beginning of this month. These services must limit their capacity to 25% of their listed occupancy. Within shopping malls, the food-court dining areas, play areas, and interactive displays and settings must remain closed.
All museums and libraries may open under the same 25% occupancy limitation, but interactive areas of museums must remain closed. State libraries and museums are able to open; local public museums and libraries may reopen only if permitted by the local government. Single-person offices may reopen as well.
The next phase of Open Texas began Friday, May 8, allowing barber shops, hair salons, nail salons, and cosmetology stores to reopen. As with other phases, these stores should practice social distancing and other measures––customers should make appointments to avoid a rush of people, for instance. The next phase, planned to begin May 18, will allow gyms, manufactures, and office-based employers to reopen. For more information on the Governor’s plan, please visit: gov.texas.gov/opentexas.
These openings are supported by public health expertise, data, and gained knowledge of the virus over the past few weeks. Based on data from the Texas Department of State Health Services, 76% of confirmed COVID-19 fatalities in Texas were individuals 65 years of age or older. Across America, less than 3% of fatalities are individuals younger than 44 and the majority of hospitalizations patients due to coronavirus have pre-existing conditions, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
Texas, the second-largest state, ranks 15th in the number of COVID-19 fatalities. One death is too many from this virus, but we can be grateful for the superb leadership at the state and local level––plus a commitment from all Texans––for potentially saving tens of thousands of lives.
Every Texan is at risk for contracting the coronavirus and a cure remains undiscovered. But there is a clear trend here: the elderly and individuals with preexisting medical conditions are at a higher risk from getting very sick, and potentially dying, from COVID-19. I urge all Texans who fit this description to take increased precautions.
As we Open Texas again, please continue observed health practices: wash hands often and longer, use hand sanitizer, avoid touching face, disinfectant surfaces often, avoid contact with people who are sick, continue to practice social distancing, avoid crowds, limit physical contact, and wear a mask when necessary. Texans will overcome this challenge as we always do.

Pete’s Periódico: Texas is Stronger than the Coronavirus

Originally published on April 14, 2020. 
Whether on the fields of San Jacinto or floods of Hurricane Harvey, Texans are resilient in the face of a challenge. Together we are strong and together we can overcome anything––including this coronavirus outbreak.
A quick review of the present situation: we officially remain in a statewide public health disaster, recently continued by Governor Greg Abbott indefinitely. Many cities and counties have issued various shelter-in-place orders, which remain a local government imperative. The Governor has no plans for a statewide order given Texas is too geographically diverse: what works for San Antonio will not work for Ft. Stockton.
Millions of Personal Protection Equipment (masks, gowns, gloves) have been delivered to the state and distributed to health care centers; more are on the way as Texas businesses step up to produce more equipment. The Governor has signed dozens of executive orders, waiving laws and regulations that slow public health response. Testing centers are up and running––through private and public labs, the state has tested almost 125,000 Texans thus far. Our testing ability will continue to increase.
The hardest part: at least 271 Texans have died from coronavirus at the time of writing. Among those hardest hit are our nursing homes, where elderly Texans fight the coronavirus disadvantaged by age and preexisting conditions. My heart breaks for every Texan we have lost and those who currently lie sick. The State of Texas, working in conjunction with local leaders, is doing everything it can to prevent further loss of life from coronavirus.
Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) has a hotline Texans should call for more information on coronavirus and local testing: 2-1-1. If you’re feeling sick, self-quarantine and contact your doctor––Governor Abbott has allowed increased use of telemedicine by healthcare professionals. Do not go to the hospital unless you cannot breathe or otherwise in critical condition. Of course, I am a former Game Warden and not a doctor––please contact your doctor for in-depth medical information, visit DSHS and Center for Diseases Control and Prevention websites, and continue to use 9-1-1 for any emergencies.
Schools remain closed by Governor Abbott until May 4 at the earliest. All schools are still offering continued instruction, though it looks different––it is times like this when we realize how truly grateful we are for Texas teachers. Given the instability of our present situation, the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) testing requirements are waived for the 2019-2020 school year.
Many schools continue to provide food for students that rely on those meals––the Texas Education Agency (TEA) created a webpage where families can find food pick-up locations: www.txschools.gov. Any specific question on education should be made to your local school district or TEA, which can be reached via email disasterinfo@tea.texas.gov or phone (512) 463-9734. TEA also has a dedicated webpage providing administrators, educators, and parents with updated information, announcements, operating procedures, and more: www.tea.texas.gov/coronavirus.
With businesses closed around the state, many Texans are suffering financially. The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) has experienced an unprecedented number of inquiries––more people have opened claims in the last five weeks than all of 2019. To handle this heavy load and help as many Texans as possible, government employees from other departments, including my office, are beginning to volunteer their time to help TWC claims. Additionally, TWC is asking Texans to call at staggered times assigned by the first digit in a phone’s area code. More information can be found at the following TWC webpage: www.twc.texas.gov/news/covid-19-resources-job-seekers.
In an effort to help fellow Texans newly out of work for no fault of their own, I encourage all able Senate District 19 constituents to donate food or funds to a local food bank. Food banks are under heavy strain right now due to the increase of people in need; they rely on donations to keep serving our fellow citizens. I recently signed a letter with other members of the Bexar County legislative delegation requesting Texas accept the State of Texas Assistance Request for San Antonio Food Bank, which serves Bexar and 15 surrounding counties. How you can help and more information on the San Antonio Food Bank can be found by visiting the following website: www.safoodbank.org or South Texas Food Bank in Laredo, which services many constituents in Senate District 19, at: www.southtexasfoodbank.org.
My office works daily to serve you. We are working remotely, but still accessible via phone and email. Do not hesitate to reach out by emailing District19.Flores@senate.texas.gov, an email inbox we check multiple times a day. Other contact information can be found on my Senate webpage: www.flores.senate.texas.gov. Information is also posted regularly to my social media accounts: www.facebook.com/SenatorPeteFlores and www.twitter.com/PeteFlores_TX.
Texans must do their part to remain healthy: be vigilant about washing and disinfecting surfaces, practice social distancing, limit contact to at-risk populations, wear a facemask in public if you have one, and stay home if sick. Our state, and our people, are capable of defeating this virus.