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Born in 1954 in San Benito, Texas, Mr. Peña is the first Chicano lobbyist with major national clients.
Mr. Peña talks about his college education in political science and history at Texas A & M University in Kingsville, Texas, where he earned his undergraduate degree. He also tells about his one year of law school at St. Mary's University in San Antonio and earning his graduate degree in Environmental Management at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Mr. Peña discusses the training in political management he received at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs in Austin, Texas. He elaborates upon his work experiences in public relations and government management with oil and gas energy companies, and he talks about his work with Miller Brewing Company as a lobbyist. Mr. Peña gives details about establishing his own private public relations firm, Emil T. Peña Interests, Inc. He talks about working for Lloyd Bentsen and he comments on the positive impact Mr. Bentsen had on his political thinking and philosophy. Mr. Peña explains the important role Al Brown played as his mentor in the lobbying process in national and local politics. He tells about establishing an educational foundation that incorporates oil and gas explorations with environmental concerns for the purpose of instruction in the schools, and he speaks to the importance of mentoring as an effective way to get young people trained for the work force. Mr. Peña concludes the interview with a discussion weighing the advantages and disadvantages of personal allegiance to a single political party agenda as opposed to maintaining one's independence from such commitment.
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