This February State Representative Richard Raymond was honored with the Legislative Hero Award for his commitment to free civil legal services for the poor. The award was presented by the Texas Access to Justice Foundation and the Texas Access to Justice Commission.
Raymond was recognized at the Laredo branch office of Texas RioGrande Legal Aid (TRLA) for his outstanding leadership during the 81st Texas Legislature in fighting for funding for civil legal services for the poor and low-income Texans. His support led the Legislature to designate more than $20 million to fund legal aid organizations for the first time in legislative history.
“The support of the Texas legislature was critical to getting us through two years of a serious funding crisis,” said TRLA Executive Director David Hall. “Representative Raymond’s support was critical to sustaining our services and helping low-income Texans.”
Raymond was honored as part of the new Legislative Hero Award Program. The Texas Access to Justice Commission and Texas Access to Justice Foundation launched the award program to recognize legislators who have significantly advanced access to justice issues in Texas. Several other elected officials in TRLA’s service area have received the award including Representative Pete Gallego and Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa.
TRLA staff attended the celebration and thanked Raymond for his commitment. Among the attendees was TRLA attorney Fabiola Flores who served as Raymond’s legislative director during the 81st session.
With Texas facing a $27 billion budget shortfall, Raymond’s continued support will be critical to avoid the currently proposed fifty-one percent cut in state funding for civil legal aid. These cuts come in addition to a proposed eighteen percent cut in federal funding for legal aid organizations.
Added Hall, “Now is a critical time. Demand for our services is increasing and such a drastic cut in funding would be devastating for the people that need our help. Supporters like Representative Raymond will be vital to keep us going.”