Domingo García is an American attorney and politician from Texas. A lifelong civil rights activist. Loving father to two children. Husband to Dr. Elba Garcia Dallas county commissioner.
He was elected to the Dallas City Council in 1991 and served until 1995. He was elected Mayor Pro Tem of Dallas in 1993 and became the first Latino to hold that post. He served in the Texas House of Representatives for three terms. He was the co-author of the HB1403, the Texas instate tuition act (The Texas Dream Act), the first in the country that allowed undocumented Texas high school students to go to college. He was a candidate for the 2012 elections and lost a close race 49% to 50%. He opted not to run for Congress in 2014.
Now the national president of The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC). As the leader of the oldest and largest organization for Hispanics, Garcia wants to raise LULAC's profile and membership as it works to increase voting rights and help migrants crossing the border. He believes in fighting for others so they, too, have the opportunity to achieve the American dream.
His parents, both farmworkers who immigrated from Mexico, never got past the second grade.
When he flunked his English class at North Texas, he was determined to improve his writing skills -- so he minored in English. He majored in political science, working as a waiter and bartender during the school year and in construction during the summer to pay for classes.
Garcia DJed at the Rock Bottom Lounge in the Union, and he hosted La Onda Tejano, the Tejano music radio show on KNTU that also ran as La Pura Onda until it ended this year. He founded and served as president of the organization La CAUSA, Chicanos Actively United for Social Advancement, and was a member of Delta Sigma Phi and an intern for the Intracultural Services Office.
But politics was his main interest. He ran for the Denton City Council with the slogan of "It Can Be Done," on a platform of decriminalizing marijuana and extending the hours for nightclubs. He came in third place, but it was the beginning of a long and sometimes controversial career in public service.
He earned his law degree from Texas Southern University in Houston in 1983, then worked as a personal injury lawyer. He built up the law firm, which now has four offices across the state and more than 200 employees. By age 30, he was a millionaire.
And in 1991, at age 33, Garcia became the youngest member of the Dallas City Council. He was elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 1996, where he oversaw his greatest accomplishment: the Texas Dream Act, passed in 2001, which made undocumented immigrants eligible for in-state college tuition rates.
He lost his bid for Dallas mayor in 2002. As president of LULAC, Garcia wants to raise membership to a million members and increase its profile to that of other national organizations, such as the ACLU and NAACP. Recently, LULAC opened new councils in Alabama and Alaska, and its national convention in July hosted many of the Democratic presidential hopefuls. He also has visited migrant camps in Clint, Texas, and fought for greater voting access.
Garcia, who has established a scholarship fund at UNT in his name for political science students, encourages students to get into politics.
"That's how you can make a difference," he says. "That's how you open doors."