LONGORIA, RAUL L. (1921 ~ 2001). Raul L. Longoria, state legislator and district judge, was born February 22, 1921, in La Grulla, Starr County, Texas, to Andres and Maria Enriqueta Longoria. The sixth of seven children, he graduated from the La Grulla public schools and enlisted in the U. S. Army in 1942.
During World War II, Longoria served in the European Theater of Operations, until the end of the war when he was discharged in 1946. After returning home, he enrolled in the University of Texas at Austin, and, in 1947, married Earlene Moorman, of Gorham, Texas. After receiving his Bachelor of Business Arts degree from UT in 1950, he enrolled in the Universitys Law School and received a Doctor of Jurisprudence degree in 1952.
Following his graduation, the Longorias moved to the Rio Grande Valley, where he began practicing law in Edinburg, Hidalgo County. While there, he worked to improve the rights of Texas' Hispanic population, which, ultimately, led to his election to the Texas House of Representatives in 1959, and the Texas Senate in 1972.
As a member of the Legislature, Longoria continued to fight for Hispanic rights and the people of the Rio Grande Valley. He wrote and sponsored legislation that led to the improvement of higher education in South Texas and the protection of migrant workers. He also worked to improve labor, health, and educational issues throughout the state. His work in the Legislature provided opportunities for both economic and social advancements for South Texas.
In his last term in office, Longoria, along with 11 other senators, made national news when they left the Capitol in protest of a bill that would have changed the date of the presidential primary in Texas. The bill would have helped former governor John Connally in his campaign for President of the United States. The absent senators, who were dubbed the "Killer Bees" by Lieutenant Governor Bill Hobby, hid out in an Austin garage apartment for 13 days to prevent the Senate from obtaining a quorum, which was needed to introduce the bill for a vote. At the end of the 13 days, after successfully blocking the bill's introduction, Longoria and his colleagues returned to the Capitol and a heroes' welcome.
Following his 1980 election as judge of the 139th Judicial District of Texas, Longoria resigned his seat in the Senate. After taking office on January 2, 1981, he was reelected to that post three more times, 1984, 1988, and 1992, and served until 1994, when he retired from public office.
Throughout his 34 year career as a public official, Longoria received appointments to the Legislature's most powerful committees, House Appropriations and Senate Finance, and was elected President Pro Tempore of the Senate by his fellow colleagues during the 65th Session. During his tenure as President Pro Tem, he served as "Governor for a Day" on December 9, 1978. Also in 1978, Judge Longoria was honored by having a road in Hidalgo County named after him, as well as an elementary school in the Pharr-San Juan- Alamo School District. He also funded the Raul L. Longoria Scholarship Fund at the University of Texas at Pan American.
After leaving public office in 1994, Judge Longoria and his wife moved to Liberty, Texas. Suffering from congestive heart failure and acute pneumonia, he passed away in Houston's Methodist Hospital on May 7, 2001. Because of his service to the State of Texas, he was buried in the Texas State Cemetery three days later and was survived by his wife of 53 years, Earlene, his five children, Sam, Roy, Janiece, Elaine and Cecilia, and four grandchildren.
Information taken from:, Raul Longoria succumbs to illness, dies at 80, The Monitor, McAllen, Texas, May 8, 2001; Lawmaker became famous as a member of Killer Bees: Raul Longoria 1921 - 2001, Austin American-Statesman, May 9, 200; Obituary, Austin American-Statesman, May 10, 2001; Senate Resolution No. 1121, May 21, 2001.