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Born October 5, 1934 in Fort Worth Texas. He is the first Mexican American elected to the Fort Worth City Council.
The interview begins with a discussion of Mr. Zapata's family history and genealogy. Mr. Zapata credits his leadership and organizational abilities to his experience as a union member when he was employed as a printer with Bell Helicopter. He elaborates upon his work with the U.S. State Department and the Mexican government to eradicate Mexican marijuana field production. Mr. Zapata describes how his campaigns were conducted and financed and how he went into considerable debt trying to stay in elected public office. He talks about his 14-year service on the Fort Worth City Council and he tells why he was defeated. Mr. Zapata discusses his involvement with the formation of the Hispanic Elected Local Officials (HELO) organization in 1976 where he served for seven years as its chairman. He also elaborates upon how he became a member of the Board of Directors for the National League of Cities, the parent organization of HELO. Mr. Zapata gives details about his membership in the Mexican American Democrats (MAD) organization and its split resulting in the formation of the Tejano Democrats. He describes his accomplishments while he was Chairman of Board of Directors for the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, and he concludes the interview by discussing his work with congressman Jim Wright for the preservation and renovation of the Fort Worth Stockyards.
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