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Nine-term Texas state legislator is Tulane Law graduation speaker

May 03, 2023 11:45 AM
Alina Hernandez ahernandez4@tulane.edu



A nine-term Texas state legislator and Tulane Law alumnus will be the graduation speaker at ceremonies for the Class of 2023.

Texas Rep. Rafael Anchía, a 1993 graduate of Tulane Law and the son of Mexican immigrants raised in Miami, will address this year’s graduating class May 20 at Devlin Fieldhouse.

Anchía’s public service roots go way back to his time at Tulane Law School, where, as a student in the Legislative Advocacy Clinic, he helped secure the passage of legislation creating a statewide ombudsperson to monitor conditions in nursing homes. That early success laid a foundation for a public service career of exceptional impact. 

Anchía was first elected as a trustee of the Dallas Independent School District at age 32. During his tenure, he helped lead the successful effort of the Dallas schools to win public approval of a $1.37 billion school bond package. The district progressed from having 2,000 teacher vacancies to none for the first time in 20 years.

In 2004, Anchía was elected to the Texas House of Representatives in a district that covers parts of Dallas and Irving. During his tenure, he has served on the Energy Resources Committee, House Administration Committee, International Relations and Economic Development Committee (Chair), and the Texas Privacy Protection Advisory Council Committee.

Rep. Anchía at Tulane Law last fall.

Now in his ninth term, Anchía is a senior Democratic leader with a reputation as an ardent and effective advocate for civil rights, education, environmental protection, and expanding access to health care for women and children.

His work has earned him wide respect for his leadership and, between 2017 and 2022, he served as Chair of the Mexican American Legislative Caucus (MALC), the country’s oldest and largest Latino caucus.

In addition to his public service, Anchía has built an equally impressive career in law practice and private enterprise. A corporate lawyer for more than 25 years, he is Of Counsel with Haynes & Boone, the largest law firm in Dallas, and is the co-founder and Managing Director of Civitas Capital Group, where he is responsible for new market development, public policy, and public-private partnerships.

From 2011 to 2015, he served as an appointee of President Barack Obama to the Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations, which advises the U.S. Trade Representative on issues related to international investment and trade.  

In the 30 years since he left Tulane Law, he has remained closely connected to his alma mater. He returns regularly to guest-lecture and mentor students and serves on the Law School Dean’s Advisory Board.  Last month, he hosted a reception and private tour of the Texas Capitol for Tulane Law alumni and admitted students in Austin, in the fall, met spoke to Tulane Law students about public service as a path after law school.