BioBorn as one of eight children to migrant farm workers in Laredo, Texas, Congressman Cuellar was raised with strong family values and an unwavering work ethic to attain an advanced education. As the most degreed member of Congress, he points to education as the platform for his two decades of public service in Texas.
After earning his associate’s degree from Laredo Community College, he used the skills and confidence he gained to enroll in Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. While attending Georgetown, he washed dishes and worked other jobs to afford his college degree, graduating from Georgetown Cum Laude. When he returned to Texas, Congressman Cuellar completed a master’s degree in International Trade at Texas A&M International University and earned a law degree and Ph.D. in Government from the University of Texas at Austin.
In 1981, Congressman Cuellar opened his own law firm and became a licensed customs broker in 1983. He worked at his beloved alma mater, TAMIU, as an Adjunct Professor for International Commercial Law from 1984 to 1986. The following year, Congressman Cuellar decided to fully dedicate his life to public service and served as a Texas State Representative from 1987 until he was appointed as the Texas Secretary of State in 2001.
Congressman Cuellar and his wife, Imelda, reside in Laredo, Texas with their two daughters, Christy and Catie.
As Secretary of State, he redefined the office by making it easier for Texans to voice their concerns and opinions. Today, Texans still benefit from his new voter initiatives to register, educate, and protect voters’ rights, as well as his efforts to expand the Border/Mexico Affairs office to help the colonias. He also implemented new technology to make state agencies more customer-friendly, transparent and accountable.
In the 112th Congress, he currently serves on two House Congressional Committees, including Homeland Security and Agriculture. Congressman Cuellar has been a legislative champion for government transparency and accountability, authoring and passing legislation in Congress to reform federal agency procedures and to eliminate bureaucratic redundancy.
As a member of the fiscally-conservative Blue Dog Coalition, Congressman Cuellar is dedicated to reducing the nation's deficit by reforming how Congress appropriates federal funds. In 2009, he worked with his Blue Dog colleagues to help pass the landmark Pay-As-You-Go (PAYGO) legislation to reign-in federal spending and restore the budget surpluses of the 1990's.
Congressman Cuellar is currently the Ranking Member of the Border and Maritime Security Subcommittee in the House Homeland Security Committee. He believes in strong national security and homeland security efforts. Since coming to Congress, he's worked hand in hand with Customs and Border Protection, the Department of Homeland Security, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement and local law enforcement to reinforce border security initiatives along the U.S. southern border with Mexico.
In 2010, the House Homeland Security Committee appointed him as the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Border, Maritime and Global Counterterrorism.
In 2009, he authored a bill in Congress known as the Southern Border Security Taskforce Act of 2009, which directs the Department of Homeland Security to create a task force to coordinate the efforts of federal, state and local border law enforcement officials to protect U.S. border cities from violence associated with drug trafficking, gunrunning, human smuggling, and kidnapping. In December 2009, this bill was included in the Comprehensive Immigration Reform for America's Security and Prosperity Act of 2009 (CIR ASAP).
As the only Texas Democrat to serve on the House Agriculture Committee in the 112th Congress, Congressman Cuellar is a staunch advocate for the 12,000 farms and ranches in the 28th District of Texas. During his third term in Congress he worked closely with the Texas Farm Service Agency and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to secure drought relief assistance for Texas' farms. In 2008, he also passed an amendment in the Farm Bill to address cattle fever ticks, making it the first federal bill to specifically address this major South Texas concern. In 2009, Congressman Cuellar helped secure $9.9 million for Cattle Fever Tick Research.
Since coming to Congress, Congressman Cuellar has been a national advocate for equal opportunity for men and women of all backgrounds and he believes education, family values and a strong work ethic can increase opportunities for his constituents in the 28th District of Texas. He continues to improve education, national security, access to affordable health care and veterans assistance programs as a member of the 112th Congress.
•Currently serving his fourth term in the U.S. Congress
•Elected to Congress in 2005
•Served as a Texas State Representative for 14 years
•Served as the Texas Secretary of State
•Currently Serves as Vice Chairman of the Steering and Policy Committee
•Serves on two House Committees including, Homeland Security and Agriculture
•Regularly hosts “Community Office Hours” in the 28th District to stay in touch with his constituents
•With a total of 5 advanced degrees, Congressman Cuellar is the "Most Degreed Member" serving in the House
•Recognized by the City of Laredo with two schools named in his honor- the Doctor Henry Cuellar Elementary School and the Representative Henry Cuellar Charter School
•Honored as Laredoan of the Year, Distinguished Citizen of the Year and Humanitarian of the Year
•Elected Mr. South Texas 2008 for his significant contributions to the economic growth of Laredo and South Texas