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Mr. García was born in 1934. He received his B.B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin in 1959 and earned his CPA in 1961. García served on the Austin city council from 1991 to 2000 and was its mayor pro-tem from 1996 to 1998. In 1972, he was elected to a six-year term on the Austin Independent School District/Austin Community College Board; he served as its president 1977-1978. Among other offices and honors, García was president of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors (1982-1983) and was named Businessman of the Year by the Texas Association of Mexican American Chambers of Commerce in 1984. He was elected mayor of Austin, Texas, in 2001.
García begins the interview by recounting the genealogy and history of his Martinez and García ancestors in Mexico. After summarizing his school career and military service, he describes his early work history as an accountant and the establishment of his own CPA firm. In describing how he became politically active, García discusses Austin, Texas, political races of the early 1970s and his own election to the Austin school board in 1972. He recalls the attempts made to achieve Hispanic representation on the board. He talks of campaign fundraising and the nature of political support in Austin. García recounts his unsuccessful efforts to win election to the State Board of Education in 1978 and 1982 and mentions his successful races for city council in 1991 and 1997 (he was unopposed in 1994). He describes what it takes to accomplish political goals in Austin, discusses the state of Hispanic representation in city jobs, and talks about the causes of racial and ethnic tensions. García concludes the interview by giving at length his views on the definition of leadership.
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