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Solomon Porfirio Ortiz (born June 3, 1937 in Robstownmarker, Texasmarker) is an Americanmarker politician from the State of Texasmarker who currently serves in the United States House of Representatives from ( map) based in Corpus Christimarker.

Early life

Solomon Porfirio Ortiz was born in Robstownmarker, Nueces County, Texasmarker. His family had migrated to Texas from Mexicomarker. Ortiz identifies himself as a member of the Methodist Church. As a young boy, he worked as a shoeshiner and an inker for the letter press of his hometown newspaper, The Robstown Record. During his jobs, he made friends with law enforcement officers. Ortiz was very impressed with the officers and he became fascinated with law and law enforcement because of them. He went to school at Robstown High School and attended Del Mar College from 1965 to 1967.


When Ortiz was 16, his father died, leaving him to support the family. In 1960, Ortiz decided to join the army because it gave him a place to stay and a good way to make money. Ortiz got his education in the army, getting the equivalent of a high school diploma. He was trained in Fort Hoodmarker, Texas and then was sent to Verdunmarker and Vitry-le-Françoismarker, Francemarker.

One day, an officer inspecting his barracks found books about crime investigations and police techniques. The officer asked if he was interested in police work, which he enthusiastically replied, "Yes". He was reassigned to the 61st Military Police Company Criminal Investigation Office. In Fort Gordon, Georgia, he received his advanced military police training until 1962. This was a step in the direction of his future government work.

Running for Sheriff

Back in South Texas, Ortiz worked as an insurance agent for three years. Then, his friends convinced him that he should run for the Nueces Countymarker Country Constable (Constable — A public officer similar to a sheriff also having judicial duties). They said that his experience in the Army would help.

In 1964, Ortiz began gathering support and talking to other Hispanics about what he would do for justice. Later, Ortiz realized that he had to pay a $600 filing fee to apply for the campaign. Ortiz talked to his mother about this and was surprised by her reaction. She said they would take out a $1000 loan, for the filing fee and to help pay the Hispanic poll tax.

Unluckily, soon after, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was passed, which outlawed poll taxes. In his first election, Ortiz was sure he would fail, but he was amazed to find that he had made it into the runoff by defeating the current Constable. In 1965, he won the final election.

Rapid Rise

Ortiz served as Constable for four years until 1968. In 1969, he ran for County Commissioners Court of Nueces Countymarker and won. He was a County Commissioner until 1976, when he became the Nueces County Sheriff.

In 1982, due to Texas' population increase, the 27th District of Texas was created and Ortiz ran for the Congressional seat. He was elected as a Democrat to Congress in 1982 (taking office January 3, 1983), and he has served continuously since then. Ortiz was assigned to the House Armed Services Committee and the House Merchant Marine and Fisheries Committee. This assignment covers four military bases. Since then, Ortiz's specialty has become defense policy and the readiness of the Armed Forces.

Current status

During his terms in office, Ortiz has been working in the Pacific Rim to create more industry and jobs in South Texas.

He is a senior member of two important committees, co-chair of the Border Caucus, House Depot Caucus and Naval Mine Warfare Caucus, and as dean of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.Ortiz has passed many bills that relate to Energy and Water, development, transportation, Veterans, agricultural issues, homeland security, defense and the military.

During his time in the House, he has maintained a moderate voting record, with a reputation of bipartisanship. His voting record is not as liberal as has become typical of Hispanic Democrats — for example, he opposes abortion in most circumstances.

Committee assignments


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