Congressman Rubén Hinojosa (D-TX) was elected to Congress in 1996 and is currently serving his ninth term as the representative of the 15th District of Texas. The 15th Congressional District stretches from the Rio Grande Valley to historic Guadalupe County. Much of the region is rural, however Hidalgo County is the third fastest growing metropolitan statistical area in the country.
In Congress, Rubén Hinojosa is regarded as a champion for the disadvantaged and has distinguished himself as a strong advocate for education, housing and economic development. His primary goal in Congress has been to reduce the chronic unemployment rate in regions of the district. By focusing on developing a highly educated, well-trained workforce, modernizing the local infrastructure including roads and highways, and creating new job opportunities, Congressman Hinojosa has been instrumental in bringing unemployment rates from 22% in 1997 to record lows of 6% in 2008.
Congressman Hinojosa serves on two House committees: the Committee on Education and the Workforce and the Committee on Financial Services. He serves as the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training. Congressman Hinojosa also serves on the Subcommittee on Health Employment Labor and Pensions. He was elected by acclamation in November of 2012 as the Chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus for the 113th Congress.
As a senior member of the Education and the Workforce Committee, Congressman Hinojosa is widely recognized as a champion for investing in human capital through education. He is a powerful voice for the aspirations of communities traditionally left behind in America’s education system: low-income families, minorities, students with disabilities, English language learners, and the children of migrant and seasonal farm workers. He is also committed to making sure that every child graduates prepared and able to afford a college education.
In January 2007, Congressman Hinojosa was appointed Chairman of the Subcommittee on Higher Education, Lifelong Learning, and Competitiveness. As incoming chair, Congressman Hinojosa helped guide into law the historic College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007. Congressman Hinojosa’s leadership has also enabled the passage of an unprecedented number of measures in the 110th Congress that boost the achievement of Hispanics and African Americans in higher education. His successful initiatives include a landmark $510 million investment in minority institutions and a program to support graduate degree attainment at Hispanic- Serving Institutions (HSIs). In 2007, Hinojosa was presented with the American Chemical Society’s Public Service Award honoring his legislative efforts to help students pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and math.
In 2008, Congressman Hinojosa played an instrumental role in successfully ushering through Congress the first reauthorization of the Higher Education Act in 10 years. Now signed into law, The Higher Education Opportunity Act will provide greater access to higher education for every student. Specifically, the legislation will provide students with consumer-friendly information on college pricing and the factors driving tuition increases. It also will increase the authorized Pell grant maximum to $8,000 by 2014, streamline the federal financial aid application process, and increase college aid and support programs for veterans. Hinojosa also successfully added a provision that will for the first time establish a program, authorized at $100 million, to help set up long overdue graduate programs at Hispanic-serving Institutions (HSIs).
On March 30, 2010, Congressman Hinojosa joined President Barack Obama for the signing of H.R. 4871: The Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010. This legislation represents the single largest increase in student financial aid since the G.I. bill was signed in 1945. This bill invests $2.55 billion in historically Black Colleges and Universities and in Hispanic-Serving Institutions and other Minority Serving Institutions.
During his 16 years in Congress, Congressman Hinojosa has also succeeded in vaulting Hispanic-Serving Institutions to a position of prominence in higher education. In the 1998 amendments to the Higher Education Act, he succeeded in establishing a separate title of the Act dedicated to the development of HSIs. Since that time, funding for HSIs has grown from $12 million to nearly $221 million in FY12.
As the former chairman of the Education Task Force for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Congressman Hinojosa ensures that federal education policy never loses sight of the youngest and fastest growing population in the country – Hispanic Americans. By focusing on a group of proven federal education programs that are critical to the Hispanic community, often referred to as the Hispanic Education Action Plan (HEAP), Hinojosa has helped to secure dramatic increases in resources that enrich Hispanic communities. In the 111th Congress he chaired the Commerce/International Relations taskforce.
On the House Financial Services Committee, Congressman Hinojosa serves on two Subcommittees, the Subcommittee on Capital Markets and Government Sponsored Enterprises and the Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit. Congressman Hinojosa is widely recognized as a leader on issues affecting the underserved, from banking to housing. He and Congresswoman Judy Biggert co-founded the House Financial Literacy and Economic Education Caucus in 2004, which currently numbers 87 members from both sides of the aisle.
To address the plight of families in his district and across rural America, Congressman Hinojosa formed the Rural Housing Caucus to bring national attention to the scarcity of housing in rural areas. He introduced legislation to improve the situation and is working with his colleagues and advocates towards the Caucus’s goal.
In recognition of Congressman Hinojosa’s achievements in Congress and service to his community, he has received numerous awards and recognitions including the naming of two new elementary schools and the Rubén Hinojosa Highway and the Industrial Park in the Delta Region of South Texas.
Prior to his election, Congressman Hinojosa served twenty years as President and Chief Financial Officer of a family-owned food processing company, H&H Foods. He earned a Bachelor in Business Administration and a Master in Business Administration from the University of Texas in Austin and in Edinburg, respectively. He is married to Martha Lopez Hinojosa and has one son, Ruben Jr., and four daughters Laura, Iliana, Kaitlin and Karén.