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

Irene Favila


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(82 pages)

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Biography:

Irene Fávila was born Irene Salas in 1955 in Lockney, Texas. She worked with her parents every summer as a migrant farm worker until she graduated high school in 1973. She graduated from Southwest Business College and worked as a court reporter in Amarillo. She was a member of the Council of Governments and served as chairperson of the Human Relations Commission for the City of Plainview. She was first elected to the Plainview City Council in 1992, making her the first Mexican American woman to be elected to do so. At the time of the interview, she was serving her second elected term in office, working as the director of Motivation, Education and Training (MET), was a member of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) chapter 4452, and had been elected as vice president of the National Hispanic Institute.

Interview Summary:

Irene Fávila begins with her family background, growing up in a migrant farm family, and working summers in Kansas and Colorado. She details her responsibilities as the oldest of eleven children and her efforts to make her own living apart from the family. She talks about the effect of losing two of her siblings had on her life and refers to her failed first marriage. She speaks at length on her work at Motivation, Education and Training (MET) and recalls how former MET employee, Brian R. Craddock, opened the first Texas Rural Legal Aid (TRLA, which is now a part of Texas Legal Services Union) office in Hereford. She describes several cases involving TRLA's assistance in resolving migrant worker issues, one concerning the David Wilder, the president of the First National Bank of Plainview and chairman of the Hale County Housing Authority, and the second involving cropdusting while laborers were present in the fields. She explains the voluntary redistricting conducted in Plainview and gives details about the election campaigns. She comments on getting assistance from the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project and on the election campaign of her husband, Rogelio 'Rocky' Fávila. She recounts an incident of false arrest, discusses the problems of police brutality directed at Hispanics, and assails the nepotism in local law enforcement agencies, but counters with a city scandal that prompted the suspension of Plainview's Chief of Police. She provides statistics of the racial makeup of the city of Plainview and its departments and notes the city's economic growth. She tells about a joint program which she sponsored through the Texas Migrant Council, the YMCA, and the Caprock Community Action Association, and the MET to operate children's summer recreation programs. She discusses the undermining of her seat on the Council of Governments by the mayor of Plainview and an accomplice, Daniel Rascón, a vice president of Hill County State Bank and the mayor's zealous denial. She speaks often of the support of Plainview businessman Onofre Hinojosa and frequently mentions fellow city council member Rey Rosas.

Locations of residence or activity:

Plainview

Interview Date:

3/1/1998