Birthdate: Aug. 20, 1940
Birth Place: Edcouch, TX, United States
Residence: Mercedes, TX
First Elected: 1996
District: District 15
Ruben Hinojosa was born in Edcouch, Texas, and lives in Mercedes. He earned a bachelor's in business administration at the University of Texas in 1962 and a master's in business administration at the University of Texas-Pan American in 1980.
After graduating, Hinojosa worked for the family business, H&H Foods, a food manufacturing company. He eventually became the company's president and chief executive officer.
Hinojosa entered public life shortly after graduating from college. He has served on numerous boards, including the Mercedes school board, a hospital board, the board of trustees of South Texas Community College and the State Bar Board of Directors.
He was elected to the Texas State Board of Education in 1974. He was first elected to the U.S. House in 1996.
Hinojosa and his wife, Martha, have five children.
Ruben Hinojosa is considered more centrist than some of his fellow Texas Democrats.
He voted for the 2010 health care reform bill, which he said would help thousands of his constituents, more than 40 percent of whom he says do not have health insurance. Nearly 30,000 south Texans with pre-existing conditions would now be able to obtain health insurance, Hinojosa said at the time.
He also supported the 2010 Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act, attached to the health care reform reconciliation bill, which would reform the federal student loan system and boost funding for Pell Grants.
Hinojosa, who sits on the Financial Services Committee, suffered a financial stumble in early 2011 when he was forced to declare bankruptcy. Claiming $2.9 million in liabilities, Hinojosa blamed the bankruptcy on a loan he provided to his family's meat company, H&H, which was forced to declare its own bankruptcy due to the economic crisis. Hinojosa said he had not managed the company for the past 14 years but remained obligated by a bank line of credit.
"I have done everything humanly possible to avoid filing for bankruptcy protection to no avail," Hinojosa said in a statement at the time. "The bank debt of H&H was more than I could handle financially."
Hinojosa voted in 2009 for the approximately $800 billion economic stimulus package pushed by President Barack Obama, saying the package would create roughly 22,000 jobs in the Rio Grande Valley and include $220 million for the repair of the International Boundary and Water Commission's levees along the Rio Grande.
Hinojosa leads the Congressional Hispanic Caucus' task force on education. In that role, he has kept a watchful eye on funding for Hispanic Serving Institutions, schools where the student population is majority Hispanic.
He has been a consistent champion of improved education and job opportunities for residents in his overwhelmingly Mexican-American district.
Hinojosa authored a 2008 bill that called for grants to universities that developed programs coordinating available support services for military veterans attending college. And he introduced legislation in 2007 that would give grants to organizations helping schools improve their graduation rates.
His district was long considered a safe Democratic minority seat, but Texas' 2003 redistricting altered that, making the district more competitive for Republican challengers.
Hinojosa voted against President George W. Bush's tax cuts. He also opposed the war in Iraq and Bush's faith-based initiatives.
But Hinojosa voted for a ban on the procedure critics call "partial-birth abortions" and voted to give Bush authority to promote trade.
He is a founder of the Rural Housing Caucus and in 2007 introduced bills to spur innovative affordable housing solutions in rural areas and improve economic development opportunities.
Source: Associated Press