Representative Ina Minjarez was elected to serve the constituents of Texas House District 124 after a quick special election in April 2015. During her 30 days at the Capitol, Ina accomplished a great deal for hardworking Texas families. Though she was elected after the deadline to file any of her own legislation, she served as an important swing vote in the House Committees on Transportation and State Affairs.
By the end of the 84th Legislative Session, Ina had joint-authored 17 bills, co-authored 45 bills, sponsored or joint-sponsored 8 bills, and the Governor signed 6 of these bills into law. During the interim session, the speaker of the house, Joe Straus, appointed her to serve on the Federal Environmental House Committee.
For the 85th Legislative session, Representative Minjarez was appointed to the House Committee on Transportation, the House Committee on Human Services and the Local and Consent Calendars Committee. She was able to successfully pass important legislation that will help our military families, protect our military bases, combat cyberbullying in schools, provide meaningful resources for children in foster care as well as foster care redesign. Furthermore, she was successful by amending several bills, from the budget and CPS legislation to the Texas Department of Transportation sunset bill. Representative Minjarez was also elected Vice-Chair of the Women's Health Caucus during the 85th legislative session. She also is a member of the bipartisan House Research Organization Steering Committee. By the end of the 85th session, she was named "Rookie of the Year" by Texas Monthly and received a Certificate of Appreciation from the Department of Defense for her leadership in policy changes that benefit Military Service members. In addition, she was recently awarded The Advocacy Women's Award by the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
During the 86th Legislative Session, Representative Minjarez served on the House Committee on Appropriations, including the Subcommittee on Articles VI, VII, VIII, which oversees natural resources, business and economic development, and regulatory agencies. She was also a member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on State Infrastructure, Resiliency, and Investment, which was responsible for overseeing priority state budget items ranging from state cybersecurity to Hurricane Harvey relief and recovery. She also served on the House Committees on Land and Resource Management and Redistricting. The 86th Legislative Session focused heavily on school finance reform, teacher retirement, and Hurricane Harvey relief, and Representative Minjarez advocated heavily for these issues and others that Bexar County faced. Rep. Minjarez's HB 37, which successfully passed and was signed into law, addressed the issues of mail theft in HD 124 and across Texas by creating a statute on mail theft. Of the ten bills authored by Rep. Minjarez during the 86th, they addressed the needs of foster children, rental tenants, and roadway safety.
During the 87th Legislative Session, Representative Minjarez was appointed to the House Committee on Appropriations, where she serves as Vice-Chair of the Subcommittee on Strategic Fiscal Review and Federal Relief Funds, which is responsible for appropriating billions of federal COVID-19 relief dollars and overseeing comprehensive budget analysis of state agencies undergoing the strategic fiscal review process. She also sits on Article III Subcommittee, which crafts the public and higher education portion of the state's two-year budget. Additionally, she is a member of the House Committee on Urban Affairs and the House Committee on Redistricting, which is responsible for drawing the state's legislative, congressional, and state board of education maps based on updated data from the once-in-a-decade U.S. Census.
As the only member of the Bexar County Delegation to serve on both the Appropriations and Redistricting committees, Representative Minjarez played a pivotal role in ensuring San Antonio and Bexar County secured federal COVID-19 relief funds and equitable political maps. Representative Minjarez championed several local initiatives, including a budget rider allocating $7.5 million to the Morgan's Wonderland MAC Project, which will provide wrap-around services to children and adults with disabilities in a facility next door to San Antonio's Morgan's Wonderland. She was also able to secure $3.5 million to University of Texas at San Antonio's Foster Care Pilot Program, which will assist children aging out of the foster care system attend and succeed in college.
In San Antonio, Representative Minjarez is active on several local boards and commissions. These include an appointment as a board member for ChildSafe. She also serves on the executive committee of the San Antonio Mobility Coalition.
Ina was born and raised in El Paso, Texas by two hardworking parents with deep roots in social justice. From an early age, Ina and her sister were taught that hard work and education would kick open the doors of opportunity. She was awarded several academic scholarships to attend the University of Notre Dame, where Ina wrote about social justice issues and traveled to serve the underprivileged and the oppressed. She picked crops with migrant workers and interned in the office of an El Paso attorney who helped migrants and refugees file for legal residency.
After graduation, Ina attended St. Mary’s Law School in San Antonio. During her studies, Ina interned with the Bexar County Criminal District Court Administration. Ina has had a successful career prosecuting defendants charged with crimes against children. Later, Ina opened her private practice, and represented children who were victims of abuse and neglect in Child Protective Service cases. Ina has also represented workers in employment law disputes and on-the-job injuries.
She and her husband, Leo Gomez, recently celebrated their fifth wedding anniversary. She has two wonderful step children, Manuel and April Gomez. In her free time, Ina enjoys running marathons and spending time with their three dogs, Pepe, Lillie, and Luna.