GUERRERO, LENA (1957 ~ 2008). The following is an obituary for former Railroad Commissioner and State Representative Lena Guerrero. The obituary was published in the April 25, 2008 edition of the Austin American-Statesman.
"Lena Guerrero, former State Representative and Texas Railroad Commissioner, passed away in her sleep on April 24, 2008 under the loving care of her husband Lionel 'Leo' Aguirre.
Lena was a force of nature and the center of her two Leo's lives, and that of her very extended family and extensive network of friends and political colleagues. Lena was diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer over eight years ago and given only months to live. They didn't know Lena. Lena Guerrero was a champion. In her professional and political career, she was a champion for the disenfranchised, those who needed someone to help fight for their rights in Austin. She had a particular passion for mentoring young Hispanic women. Within her family, she was a champion too. She dealt with the struggles in her personal life in the same way she dealt with those in her public life - with tenacity, vigor and a sense of humor that will be missed more than words can say.
Lena was born in 1957 and reared in Mission, Texas. She moved to Austin in 1976 to attend the University of Texas where she became active in politics and public affairs in the Democratic Party. She was elected president of Texas Young Democrats at the age of 21 in 1979. In 1984, at the age of 25, she became only the second female Hispanic elected to the Texas Legislature. Her district included parts of central and east Austin. She quickly mastered the rules, procedures and politics of the House to become known as one of the state's most effective lawmakers -- often out good 'ol boying the good 'ol boys.
During her legislative career, she was known as a champion for the rights of migrant farm workers and the prevention of teenage pregnancy. She also played a central role in passing legislation to preserve the views of the Texas Capitol. In 1991, she became the first woman and first Hispanic to serve on the Railroad Commission of Texas when appointed by Governor Ann Richards. She lead the effort to help independent oil and gas producers increase production in Texas at a time when the industry was struggling, and she was a strong advocate for the use of alternative fuels.
Lena is the daughter of Adela Salazar Guerrero and the late Alvaro Guerrero. Her mother, her husband, Lionel 'Leo' Aguirre -- whom she married in 1983 -- and her son, Leo G. Aguirre, survive her. In addition, she is survived by her siblings Judy Alberts and husband, Don; Carmen Guerrero; Alvaro Guerrero, Jr. and wife, Mari; Mary Guerrero-McDonald; Rosie Villarreal; Sue Guerrero; Elda Guerrero and Everett Guerrero. She is preceded in death by her father in law Fermin Aguirre. Other surviving family members include Lena's mother in law Esperanza Aguirre, Elma and Joaquin Rodriguez, Fermin and Lorena Aguirre, Raul and Linda Aguirre, Rolando Aguirre, and numerous nieces and nephews.
Public visitation will be at 6:30 p.m. on Friday at the Mission Funeral Home, 6204 S. First Street in Austin. Recitation of Holy Rosary will be at 7:30 p.m. Mass of Christian burial will be held on Saturday at 9:00 a.m. at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church, 1206 E. Ninth Street in Austin. Burial will follow at the Texas State Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family encourages donations to Ballet Austin, 501 W. 3rd Street, Austin, Texas or United Farm Workers, P.O. Box 62, Keene, California, 93531, Attn: Arturo Rodriguez, President. They are both organizations that Lena actively supported personally and professionally. If you prefer, please make a donation to a charity of your choice."
Further information is available through the Texas State Cemetery research department.