Listen to the interview
Sergio L. De León was born in 1971 in Fort Worth, Texas, and attended Holy Family Catholic School as a child. The family moved to Burleson, Texas in 1979, and lived in the small town of Bigelow in Perry County, Arkansas from 1985 to 1991, where he graduated from East End High School, involving himself in Future Business Leaders of America, Young Democrats, and Future Farmers of America. He studied at the University of Central Arkansas, but left school to work on Bill Clinton's presidential campaign in Tarrant County. Returning to Fort Worth in 1992, De León earned his Associate of Applied Science degree from Tarrant County College's criminal justice program and earned his Bachelor of Science degree in political science from Texas Wesleyan University in 1998. At the time of his election to the office of County Constable for Precinct 5, he was the youngest elected official in Tarrant County and the first Mexican American to serve as Constable in his precinct. At the time of the interview, he was a member of the Texas Justice of the Peace and Constable Association, the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO), and the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), and in 2009, he was a member of the board of Leadership Fort Worth (LFW).
Sergio L. De León begins with his push for a bilingual campaign to stop illegal trash dumping in Tarrant County when he was a Tarrant County Constable. He provides his family's background and details of his childhood with a brief reference to the race discrimination he faced in Arkansas. He touches on his first political election win in 1990 to the Democratic Central Committee representing Union, Arkansas as a Township Committee Person. He covers his education and the time he took off to work for Bill Clinton's presidential campaign, noting particularly his work with the Democratic National committee in 1993. He talks about his return to Fort Worth, his work for Fort Worth City Councilman David F. Chappell prior to his unsuccessful attempt at election as Tarrant County Constable in 1996 against incumbent Jim Palmer, and his election as a delegate to the 1996 Democratic National Convention. He discusses his failed effort to be elected as a State Representative in 1998 against incumbent Sue Palmer and speaks briefly about the Alamo Heights Neighborhood Association and Citizens on Patrol (COP). He explains his participation in the Student Action Review Team and the changes he brought about in the policy to combat the problem of truancy. He refers to the assistance given to him by his political cohorts, Mario Pérez, Luke Ellis, and Joseph W. Bleeker and describes the neighborhoods included in his precinct since redistricting has taken place . He talks about his 1985 visit to then Governor Bill Clinton's office as the spark that ignited his fire for politics and mentions prominent Mexican American Henry Cisneros. De León discusses his campaign finances and strategies and assails Mexican American neighborhood leadership in Tarrant County for failing to seek local public office.
Locations of residence or activity:
Arlington; Fort Worth?