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For The First Time Since 2013, HD74 Will Have A New Representative. Here Are The Candidates.

Texas House District 74 covers a massive chunk of South and West Texas, including 12 counties bordering Mexico and spanning two time zones. The western limit of the district stops just short of El Paso and its eastern boundary is at the edge of Maverick County, including the city of Eagle Pass.

The district became up for grabs last year when Poncho Nevárez announced he wouldn't seek reelection in 2020. Shortly before it became public, he turned himself into authorities after dropping an envelope with cocaine at the Austin Airport. The Eagle Pass Democrat confessed the incident was why he wouldn't run for re-election. 

With Nevarez stepping down, five candidates have entered the race for HD74.

Click on the audio player at the top of the page to listen to an extended conversation between Marfa Public Radio's Carlos Morales and Sally Beauvais about the candidates and their views on three key policy areas: healthcare, the border and gun control legislation.

Ruben Falcon, R-Fort Stockton

Ruben Falcon stepped down from his seat on the Fort Stockton City Council to run for HD74. Falcon has been involved in local politics there for 20 years and served as Fort Stockton's mayor at one time.

The lifelong Republican says the district has been represented by a Democrat for too long and that it's time for a Republican to be the lead HD74.


Robert Garza, R-Del Rio

Robert Garza is a lawyer from Del Rio. The onetime Democrat turned Republican, who only just recently switched his party affiliation, has served in local government for years and had a stint as Del Rio's mayor. Garza writes on his website that he is pro-life and that Texas needs to preserve what he calls traditional family values. <br>

Among his policy views, Garza says state highways in HD74 need massive improvements. He believes infrastructure upgrades will lead to business opportunities, especially with the transportation of goods over the border from Mexico into the U.S. at different points in the district.

Rowland Garza, D-Del Rio

Rowland Garza was born and raised in Del Rio. He has spent his professional career working at various levels of government.

Garza was first elected to the city council in Del Rio in 2012 and worked off and on for about 20 years for former state legislator Pete Gallego, a familiar name to West Texans. Garza also helped former HD74 Rep. Poncho Nevárez, who Garza says encouraged him to run in Democratic primary. Outside of his work, Garza is also a little league and soccer coach.

Eddie Morales, D-Eagle Pass

Eddie Morales is from Eagle Pass. After attending law school, Morales returned to his hometown, where he's now the City Attorney. He grew up in one of the region’s colonias — and says that was a foundational experience in his life. Among several businesses, Morales owns Piedras Negras Tortilla Factory which he bought from his parents when they retired a few years ago. Morales, a Democrat, is fairly new to politics and considers himself a bit of an outsider— something he says makes him stand out from his opponents.

Ramsey English Cantú, D-Eagle Pass

As of deadline, Democratic primary candidate Ramsey English Cantú hasn't responded yet to Marfa Public Radio's request for an interview.

Correction: An earlier version of this article mistakenly said Edit Morales is the city manager for Eagle Pass. He's the city attorney.

Carlos Morales is Marfa Public Radio's News Director.
Sally Beauvais is a reporter at Marfa Public Radio.