Irma Rangel was the first Mexican American woman elected to Texas House of Representatives in 1976. She was born in Kingsville, Texas, on May 15, 1931. Growing up in South Texas, Rangel’s lived experiences shaped her consciousness about racial and social justice. She attended Texas A&I University and earned a degree in business administration. She taught in South Texas, California, and later in Venezuela. After years of teaching, Rangel wanted to do more for her community, which led her to earn a law degree from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas, in 1969. Soon after, Rangel moved to Corpus Christi, Texas, and worked as an assistant district attorney. She later moved home to Kingsville and opened up a practice with Hector P. Garcia. While in Kingsville, she became active in local politics and served as chairperson for the Kleberg County Democratic Party in 1974. In 1975, Chicanas from the Texas Women’s Political Caucus and the Mexican American Business and Professional Women’s Association encouraged Rangel to run for a seat on the Texas State House of Representatives. In 1976, Rangel ran a grassroots campaign against an opponent who had the support of the King Ranch. Rangel is most remembered in Texas for her landmark bill, known as the Top Ten Percent Plan, which transformed higher education in Texas. Rangel remained in public office until her death in 2003.


“…we’ve got a sense of obligation and responsibility to the people who sent us there.”

Title “State Rep. Irma Rangel’s biography”
Date March 19, 2003
Source Victoria-Advocate