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2010-04-11 / Front Page

Meet State Rep.-elect J.M. Lozano and family

Photos and Story By Gloria Bigger-Cantu

FAMILY MAN — J.M. Lozano is pictured with wife and children, from left, wife Avelina ‘Abby’ Lozano, children J.M. Lozano III, and Penelope. FAMILY MAN — J.M. Lozano is pictured with wife and children, from left, wife Avelina ‘Abby’ Lozano, children J.M. Lozano III, and Penelope. When he was a freshman student at Premont High School J.M. Lozano traveled with other students to participate in the University Interscholastic League state competition.

The students toured the University of Texas campus and the state Capitol during their last night in Austin.

While taking a picture of the UT tower, Lozano noticed the magnitude of the Capitol and realized someday he wanted to serve in the legislature.

At that moment Lozano made a commitment that he would attend the University of Texas and would serve as public servant in the future. Lozano was 14 years old at that time.

Now at age 29 both of his personal commitments have became realities.

He graduated from the University of Texas in Austin and was elected District 43 State Representative last month. He adheres to his family’s values and goals that have helped him become a success.

BIRTHDAY TIME — J.M. Lozano is pictured celebrating his third birthday surrounded by his sisters and cousins while living in Chicago. BIRTHDAY TIME — J.M. Lozano is pictured celebrating his third birthday surrounded by his sisters and cousins while living in Chicago. He lives by this motto: “You either lead, you follow, or you get out of the way.”

“I chose to lead for the betterment of District 43,” he said. “Complacency is not in my vocabulary.”

Lozano’s commitment to seek the District 43 state representative office began July 2009 when he gauged whether he had support or not. That month he built the framework of his campaign team in each county.

“Nine out of 10 encouraged me to run because they wanted something different,” said Lozano, a Kingsville businessman.

He made his announcement on Youtube which was the first time in Texas anyone had announced on the Internet. He blitzed his campaign with newspaper, television, and mail out advertisement.

He also knocked on over 2,000 houses in the District 43 counties.

About 150 volunteers helped him with his campaign.

The core of his financial supporters came from family members and the medical community.

Besides Kleberg County, District 43 encompasses Brooks, Cameron, Jim Hogg, Kenedy and Willacy counties. Lozano’s early planning and persistent campaign won the race for him. Lozano received 58 percent of the votes defeating first term state representative, Tara Rios Ybarra, a South Padre Island dentist. He received 70 percent of the vote in Kleberg County.

“I am honored to have been blessed with this opportunity to serve as state representative,” Lozano said.

He is also getting ready for his new post. During the last week of March he traveled to Austin to make preparations when he takes office in Jan. 2011. He met with state representatives and the speaker of the house and also attended a four-day conference on redistricting.

“I also wanted to make sure that I can open an office by Jan. 1 so my constituents can get the results they deserve during the legislative session,” Lozano said.

Lozano’s leadership qualities surfaced early in life in the rural community of Premont when he participated in scholastic and sports activities.

When he was a member of the Little League All Stars and the team was losing, he began a rally. This pumped up the teammates and soon they were hitting the ball and won the game. Later he served as president of the Junior High and High School Student Council. While in college he was a member of Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity, University of Texas Mock Trial Team and Student Association.

He attended Premont Schools from kindergarten until the twelfth grade and graduated in 1998. Lozano excelled in playing baseball from age six throughout his freshman year and later in high school he chose to focus on debate and football. While in junior high his teacher encouraged him to go to the district UIL meet in Freer, Texas. He competed in the oratory and impromptu speaking events and placed first in district in both of the categories.

As a high school student, he attended Baylor’s University lauded debate camp and won the UIL State championship in public speaking.

“When I would debate in the summers at Baylor debate camp, I would picture myself engaged in a policy debate in our Capitol. The only way to change policy for the betterment of your community is to convince a legislator to start the fight,” Lozano stated. “An effective legislator for your district can mean the difference between hundreds of millions of dollars in education, health and infrastructure.”

Although, the high school counselor encouraged him to apply at Ivy League schools, Lozano chose UT and within 45 days after graduation he was living in Austin. He majored in government and was accepted to a legislative internship program where he worked for Carlos Truan of Corpus Christi who was a former state senator. He demonstrated his leadership qualities when he was chosen one of two students to participate in the UT Mock Trial Team.

During his UT senior year his favorite course was a redistricting law course that was taught by Ramiro Canales. He would become his favorite professor and mentor and Canales, an attorney, served as the Chief of Staff for the late District 43 State Representative Irma Rangel. Canales argued on her behalf during the redistricting and ultimately drew the district Lozano will represent next year.

After graduating from UT in 2003 Lozano began working with U.S. Congressman Ruben Hinojosa in McAllen, Texas, and soon became involved in his first redistricting battle. During this time he met his future wife, Avelina “ Abby” Rodriguez, of Edinburg. She was the daughter of a strict but well-known politician. While they were dating Abby had to be home by 10 p m. and one time Lozano was parked in his future father-in- law’s parking space. Her father asked: “you were leaving , right?” “Yes sir, I just came by to tell you goodbye, ” Lozano replied.

The couple married and moved to San Antonio and both earned masters degree. He received a master’s degree in business at Incarnate Word and she received a master’s degree in educational administration at St. Mary’s University. His wife previously taught high school Spanish. The couple have two children who are Penelope, age two, and J.M. Lozano III., age five months.

While in San Antonio the couple often ate at Wingstop and decided they would like to go into this business. They own a local Wingstop here and one in Alice with a total of 32 employees.

“When my wife and I opened our restaurant in Kingsville and nearly set a Wingstop franchise record, I knew I was indebted to Kingsville for life. After joining the Kingsville Chamber of Commerce and making new friends, I knew Kingsville would be a great place to call home,” Lozano stated. The couple moved here three years ago.

As the only son of six children, Lozano spent much of his time with his father, a physician. Lozano recalled the best memories date to the late eighties when he lived with his loving parents and five sisters before the siblings went off to college.

“Even the smell of hairs pray takes me back to my sisters getting ready for school in the morning,” Lozano said. Two of the sisters live in Kingsville.

Lozano was named after his father Jose Manuel Lozano and he attributes his values to his parents. He traveled with his father on house calls and waited for him between hospitals in Kingsville and Falfurrias. One time a local rancher showed up to their home with a goat as a gift to his father for taking him as a patient with no charge.

Dr. Jose Lozano, a native of Guadalajara, completed his medical residency in Chicago, Illinois. After visiting a few South Texas counties he decided to move the family to Premont in 1985. As a doctor he served patients in Falfurrias, Premont and the surrounding communities. Dr. Jose Lozano serves as Chief of Staff at Christus Spohn Kleberg.

Dr. Jose Lozano shared with his son that his values came from his family and faith.

“The best advice my father gave me was that my opportunities will come from my education, but these gifts come with the responsibility to give back to your community,” Lozano stated.

Lozano’s background reflects several years ago in Mexico where his ancestors lived.

Dr. Lozano’s mother, Cleotilde Salinas, and her family lost their family ranch in Jalisco during the Mexican Revolution. Her mother and sister moved to Guadalajara while her father and brothers stayed behind and later died while defending their land.

She moved to Guadalajara where she met her future husband Reyes Lozano. The couple had eight children that included Jose Manuel. As the family matriarch, she guided her children to be hard working and always do what is fair and just. She always told her grandson, J.M. or “Pepito” as she called him that as the only son of his fathers, it was his role to carry the name with honor and respect. His grandmother lived to be 95 years old and died in Kingsville February 2009.

Once he asked his grandmother if she had ever thought about getting her land back through the courts. “God has a plan and things happen for specific reasons that are greater than us; that is destiny.”

It is obvious that Lozano stayed true to the values passed on by his family.

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