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Funded in part by a grant from TexTreasures and by the UT Arlington Library.

Joe Soliz

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(33 pages)

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Born and raised in Hereford, Texas, Joe Soliz graduated from Hereford High School in 1982 and went on to earn his Bachelor's Degree. His interest in politics began when he worked on the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project in 1982. A teacher and businessman in Hereford, he was elected to the Hereford City Commission in 1996, but resigned his seat. At the time of the interview, he was working as a substitute teacher in Amarillo, Texas, and awaiting trial on felony criminal charges.

Interview Summary:

Joe Soliz discusses race discrimination in Hereford, Texas and gives his perspective on Hereford politics. He begins with his election as a city commissioner in 1996 and explains his thwarted efforts to expose alleged illegal activity by the city commission. He speaks at length on his resignation from the city commission, his financial struggles, and the tactics used by the Texas Rangers to manipulate his ex-wife and former in-laws into bringing criminal charges against him. He assails the town newspaper, the 'Hereford Brand,' for its biased coverage and talks about the effects on the local economy by the pull out of major employers like the Holly Sugar Corporation. Joe Soliz provides his family background and details his father's own legal battle against discrimination in Hereford. Mr. Soliz mentions his efforts to solicit assistance from Texas Rural Legal Aid (TRLA) which is now part of Texas Legal Services Union, and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF). He describes his political interests in high school, his involvement with the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project led by Willie Velázquez, and how he organized a 1992 political rally to support Mexican American candidates. He notes the success of Trine Gamez in bringing about changes in the school system in Hereford and shares his opinions on Mexican Americans in office in Hereford and Deaf Smith County, including Sylvana Juarez and Eugene Condarco.

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