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Frank Madla was born in San Antonio in 1937 and raised in Helotes, Texas. He graduated from Catholic Central High School in San Antonio in 1955 and began his teaching career after receiving his Bachelor of Science Degree in Poliltical Science in 1959 from St. Mary's University where he also earned a master's degree. In 1971, he was elected to the South San Antonio Independent School District's board of trustees. In 1972, he was elected to the Texas House of Representatives where he served until his election to the Texas Senate. He was elected to the Texas Senate in 1993 where he served until he resigned in May 2006 when he lost the Democratic primary election. At the time of the interview, Senator Madla was in Albuquerque, New Mexico along with other Texas Democratic Party senators who were in absentia to protest Governor Rick Perry's special legistlative session on redistricting. In November 2006, Madla died unexpectedly in a house fire.
Frank Madla provides details of his family's background and Mexican-American heritage, but also notes his Polish ancestry. He discusses his difficulties in grade school because he spoke only Spanish and tells about his childhood enterprises to earn money. He attributes the influence of Democrat Lalo Solís and Professor Bill Crane at St. Mary's University for his political interests, describes his first political campaign running for precinct commmitteeman, and tells about his campaign for the Texas House of Representatives in 1970. He credits legistlative redistricting and his support of Paul Silver for boosting his second campaign to win his election to the Texas House in 1972. He talks at length about his friendship with Frank Tejeda, recalls his run for the Texas Senate against Ciro Rodriguez, and points to his campaign manager for garnering support in West Texas. He discusses his campaign finances and explains the complexity of pushing an unpopular bill through the Senate. He refers to the American GI Forum and the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC). He mentions such prominent Mexican Americans as New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, Henry B. Gonzalez, Pete Torres, John Alaniz, and Albert Pen?a
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