County commissioner takes on state rep

BROWNSVILLE — Cameron County Precinct 2 Commissioner Alex Dominguez is going to take another shot at challenging House District 37 State Rep. Rene Oliveira in the Democratic primary.

Dominguez, who lost to Oliveira in 2012, filed the paperwork to run last Friday.

In 2014, Dominguez, a lawyer practicing in both civil and criminal law, was elected to Commissioners Court. And during that time, he thought more and more about running for the District 37 seat.

“What we’re finding is a whole bunch, the vast amount of people at the Legislature, haven’t served as a city commissioner or a county commissioner,” Dominguez said. “They’re not really thinking about how these laws are going to be implemented.”

Dominguez believes that the experience he gained serving as a county commissioner will provide a practical approach to lawmaking that will help him bridge political divides in Austin.

“It’s a matter of bringing my county experience to the state capitol,” Dominguez said.

Among areas where Dominguez hopes to make a difference, if elected, is the tug-and-pull between the state and local government entities over local control.

“We got frustrated with the Legislature this last session because some inexperienced legislators were pushing agendas,” he said.

If elected, Dominguez said he would work to make sure counties and municipalities retain local control.

Another area of focus on which Dominguez would concentrate is the contentious fight in Texas over how the state funds school districts.

“It’s a fundamentally flawed approach,” Dominguez said.

Dominguez also said he wants to be an advocate in Austin for the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley students from Brownsville’s campus, who he said are lacking representation with University of Texas officials.

Locally, Dominguez said he thinks counties need ordinance-making power over “junkyard homes” in unincorporated parts of Cameron County because of health hazards.

When asked what the difference is between this primary and the 2012 primary, Dominguez said the past few years have provided him more name recognition.

“I think the bigger difference is back then, nobody really knew me outside of the courthouse,” Dominguez said. “I’m certainly pretty visible now.”

House District 37 covers the eastern portion of Cameron County.