The Monitor from McAllen, Texas on November 8, 1994 · 49
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The Monitor from McAllen, Texas · 49

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McAllen, Texas
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Tuesday, November 8, 1994
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49
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Tuesday, November 8, 1994 EL TURISTA - THE MONITOR, McAIIen, Texas 5F POLITICS I First Hispanic woman elected to Legislature reflects s By BARBARA KING The Monitor KINGSVELLE When Irma Rangel was elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 1976, she did not realize the historical significance of the moment "It wasn't until after I won that I learned I was the first Mexican-American woman ever elected to the Legislature," Rangel, D-Kingsville, said. Just last year, Rangel learned at a National Hispanic Law Conference in San Francisco that, in 1969, she was only the sixth Mexican-American woman in the nation to become licensed to practice law. The pattern of being first or among the first began before Rangel was elected to the House and continues today. Recently, Gov. Ann Richards selected her for induction into the Texas Women's Hall of Fame. "The only thing I wish I could change in my life is that my parents aren't here. It brings sadness that I can't share this with them," she said. The Hall of Fame, established in 1984 by the Governor's Commission for Women, honors women for outstanding achievements in the arts, civic and volunteer leadership, education, business and professional leadership, health, the environment and athletics. Rangel named in the category of "civic and volunteer leadership" was identified not only as the first Hispanic woman elected to the Legislature, but also as senior member and chair of the Mexican American Caucus. Rangel's District 37 encompasses Starr, ' Willacy, part of Cameron, Brooks, Kenedy and Kleberg counties. . She believes her age and experience helped her unite members of the Caucus, which split sharply last year over the choice of a new House speaker. I v Rangel also was the first woman elected to head the Mexican-American Caucus, notesormer State Rep. Juan Hinojosa, of McAIIen, who served 10 years in the House. Rangel has a lifelong commitment not pnly to the women's movement, but to her people, he said. "She's tough. What impressed me the most was that she was not afraid to take on anybody the leadership, establishment; whomever - if she felt it was in the best interests of her constituency," Hinojosa said. Gib Lewis, a former Texas Speaker of the House, considers Rangel a good friend. "She was one of my favorite people when I was with her in the Legislature," ; he said. "She almost drove me crazy promoting . South Texas higher education. It got to where, every time I saw her in the hall, I would turn around to run, but she was persistent," he said. ". She was steady, and she works hard. When she got on a . ' cause, she didn't let up." Rangel's list of accomplishments is long, but she is most proud of her role in the mergers of Pan American University into the University of Texas System, and of her alma mater, Texas A&I University, into the Texas A&M University system. "We got a lot of money this last session for South Texas for more master's and doctorate programs," she said, Alex Moreno, of Edinburg, another former House member who worked with Rangel, called her a "super lady" who gets along with everybody. Rangel supported the Pan Am-UT merger effort in the 1970s, but it was derailed due to lack of popular support. Still, he said, she demonstrated forward thinking and did not get flustered when she was attacked over that support. And Rangel's longevity in the House has allowed her to get a eir father English. Rangel describes her parents as -self-made people. Her mother eventually owned a successful dress shop on the site now occupied by Rangel's law offices. Her father worked first as a barber, and then as a farmer who continued to buy land. He later opened an appliance store, and was involved in politics. People often called him with their problems she recalls "They helped those who had not been as lucky as we'd been," Rangel said. Presciliano Rangel died in 1981, and Herminia died in 1983. The oldest of the three Rangel daughters, Olga Lumley, now suffers from Alzheimer's and lives in a nursing home, Henderson said, Lumley was the first ; Mexican-American woman named " Woman Athlete of the Year" at A&I. Little sister Irma1 followed suit, earning the title when she. went to college. Lumley once joined Rangel in answering an ad for a bilingual teacher in South America. Rangel wound up in Venezuela, where she taught the children of oil company employees. Later, Rangel wanted to serve people the way her parents did. After seven years of teaching, she decided she could achieve more as an attorney. An added inspiration was a friend of her father's, San Antonio attorney Gus Garcia. ,' ' ' "He went to the U.S. Supreme Court with the argument in the Hernandez case a case involving automatic exclusion of Mexican-Americans from serving on juries," Rangel said. "I was only 13 or 14, but I thought he was wonderful. He won." ft- Aspirations Rangel and attorney Hector Garcia opened a law office together in 1973, vowing not to get involved in politics but to build up a successful business. Friends enlisted her to run for Kleberg County Democratic Chairperson in 1974. Although she did little campaigning, she said, she won. It took another incident to ignite real political ambition in Rangel. . ; At an Austin conference on women in politics, Rangel noticed no Mexican-American women were introduced or asked to speak; She and other members of the Mexican-American Caucus congregated outside. "They decided I was going to have to run for state rep," she said. "Then the Women's Political Caucus approached me and said they would support me. That's how I got there." During her first session, Rangel sponsored a bill to provide training and educa- . tion to help women get off welfare. Then- Gov. Bill Clements later vetoed funding, and the program went down the drain, . Rangel said. . During her second session, Rangel co-sponsored a bill providing funds for shelters for battered women; in 1979, she helped, pass a bill that led to establishing food banks . Last year, after reflecting on her seniori- -ty and her election as chairperson of the Mexican-American Caucus, Rangel gave up her private la& practice. If she was to benefit from the situation, she decided, she would need more free time. - i- . "Right now, I'm working at being able' to go back and get additional funding from , the appropriations committee of the House to continue the advanced degree programs in South Texas," Rangel said. FAMILIES Attention deficit children need special care By BARBARA KING The Monitor - McALLEN Once they were called "minimal brain dysfunction" kids. Now they are known as "attention deficit . disorder" children. Whatever term is used to ' describe them, children who suffer from this disorder need special attention from their parents. Attention deficit disorder , children are more aggressive, restless, active, impulsive and easily distracted than other children. A child with the disorder bounces his legs even when he's sitting still. "It is not your fault It's genetic,", said Dr. Will Mosier, a child development specialist from Weslaco. Mosier spoke recently at a conference sponsored by the Hidalgo County' Head Start Program and' Texas Tech University of Lubbock. One of 10 people have attention deficit disorder, a trait connected to certain chromosomes, Mosier said. Many with the disorder seem predisposed to becoming drug addicts or alcoholics. Others don't respond to the "time out" method of correction. A national study shows one in five attention deficit disorder children are female. But Mosier believes that females are under diagnosed. According to his study of 300 patients, as many as one in three are female. When an embryo forms in the uterus, the right side of the brain begins torming 10 days before the left side. The right side of the brain controls activity, and in nine out of 10 embryos, the right side of the brain slows development to allow . the left side to catch up. For those with attention deficit disorder, , however, the development of the right side doesn't slow down, and . that side remains more advanced than the left side, Mosier said. , Children with the disorder are in turn affectionate and angry! Their moods quickly change because the , emotional and motor activity are controlled by the right side of the brain. On the left side, which is more closely tied to academic issues, the temporal lobe is underdeveloped. Language skills also are underdeveloped. . "ADD has nothing to do with intelligence, but it's related to difficulty in utilizing things we - need to sit down, pay attention and listen in the classroom," Mosier said. ", , : That does not mean attention deficit disorder children cannot properly develop. They just need a ;': different kind of parenting to teach self-control. "You have to let your kids fend for themselves so you have to learn not to keep telling them what to do," Mosier said. If a parent tells a young child to do something get dressed, for example and he refuses, the parent should not argue. Do not give the child's resistance your attention, Mosier said. Instead, physically make the child do what - he was told. pick him up," he said. "Don't give Remember to separate the child hm a11 this attention for hurting from his behavior. Be positive, not ' himself. V , punitive sing or hum a song, ' and talk in the first person singular, saying "I'm putting on my socks -now, etc." That programs the toddler to do it on his own, Mosier said. t. Parents should allow children who cry easily to express their feelings. If the child comes to you - and wants physical comfort, hold him. Wait until the child has calmed down before offering verbal comfort, Mosier said. When a child hits or bites another child, parents must find a way to show logical consequences. Mosier's advice: Instead of hitting the aggressive child which only. teaches a child to be more aggressive take the child oyer to the child he hit Put your hand on top of his and touch the victim, . saying, "I touch my friend : gently." Then, keep the aggressive .child by your side for a transition period. "If you want him to learn from "Tell him, 'I'm going to keep his mistake, you don't run over and you with me until I feel safe that you won't bite her again,' " Mosier said. The child will argue, but the , parent should ignore him. Let the child talk; but do not respond verbally or you condition him to continue. ' Children also have the inalienable right of freedom of speech, he pointed out The child has not forgotten that the parent said 'No, so do not repeat yourself and don't be angry. . 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