Tano Tijerina

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Tano Eduardo Tijerina​

County Judge of Webb County, Texas
In office
January 1, 2015​ – ​
Preceded by Danny Valdez

Born June 23, 1974
Laredo, Texas​
Nationality Mexican-American
Political party Democrat
Spouse(s) Kimberly Jean Walker Tijerina​
Relations Rosaura Tijerina (county commissioner and aunt by marriage)​

Gene S. Walker, Sr. (great-uncle by marriage)​

Children Four children​

Cayetano, III, and Rosalinda Flores Tijerina​

Residence Laredo, Texas​
Alma mater J. W. Nixon High School (Laredo)​

Navarro College
(Corsicana, Texas)
​ Texas A&M International University (Laredo)​

Occupation Rancher; businessman

Former baseball pitcher​

Religion Non-denominational Christian

Tano Eduardo Tijerina (born June 23, 1974) is a rancher and businessman from his native Laredo, Texas, who is the county judge of Webb County. On January 1, 2015, he became the 23rd person to hold the elected office since Webb County was established in 1848. For five years beginning in 1993, Tijerina was a baseball player for minor-league teams of the Milwaukee Brewers.​


Tijerina is the older of two sons of Cayetano Tijerina, III, and the former Rosalinda Flores, educators in Webb County. His brother is Carlos Roberto Tijerina (born 1976). Tijerina's grandfather, Cayetano "Tito" Tijerina, Jr. (1919–2014), was a sharpshooter in the United States Marine Corps in the Pacific theater of operations in World War II and for forty-six years an employee of the United States Postal Service in Laredo. He and his late wife, Dora, had fifteen children.[1] His aunt by marriage, Rosaura Palacios "Wawi" Tijerina, the wife of Tijerina's uncle, Omar, is a Laredo attorney and former educator who has served since 2007 as the Precinct 2 Webb County Commissioner, one of four positions, along with the county judge, that governs the county.[2][3]

While in high school, Tijerina worked in the early 1990s for H-E-B grocery and a fence company in Laredo.[4]


In 1992, Tijerina graduated from J. W. Nixon High School, at which he played baseball for the Nixon Mustangs under coach Butch Flores. Tijerina was named to the Class 5A All-State team and played in the Texas High School North–South All-Star game in the Houston Astrodome.[5] He thereafter enrolled at the two-year Navarro College in Corsicana, south of Dallas, Texas.​

In 1993, Tijerina was drafted at the age of eighteen in the eighth round by the Milwaukee Brewers and pitched right-handed for that organization's minor league clubs for five years.[6] He played for the Arizona League Brewers team in Phoenix, the Beloit (Wisconsin) Snappers, the Helena Brewers in Helena, Montana, and the Rio Grande Valley WhiteWings in Harlingen, Texas. Tijerina spent five years in the Brewers organization. He peaked at Low-A ball for the Beloit Snappers and in six seasons posted a 16-19 record and a 6.48 earned run average.[7] In his third spring training Tijerina was sidelined by an injury which required surgery on his elbow and limited his potential to enter the major leagues.[5]

In 2002, having left the Brewers he played a sixth season in the Central Baseball League for the Edinburg Roadrunners in Edinburg, Texas. In 2009, at the age of thirty-five, Tijerina played a single season for the since defunct Laredo Broncos in United League Baseball.[8]

After retiring from baseball, Tijerina in 2002 earned his college degree in Laredo from Texas A&M International University.[6]

In 2004, Tijerina was inducted into the Laredo Latin American International Sports Hall of Fame.[5]

The Laredo Lemurs, which existed in Laredo from 2012 to 2016, named Tijerina the starting pitcher in the 2013 inaugural "Family Chevrolet Sister Cities Baseball Classic" on September 26 at Uni-Trade Stadium in Laredo.[7][9]

Political career

In 2010 in his first bid for public office, Tijerina narrowly lost the Democratic nomination, equivalent to election in Webb County, in the primary runoff election to the incumbent County Judge Danny Valdez, who assumed the position on January 1, 2007 and vacated the office on December 31, 2014. In a low-turnout contest, Valdez received 14,227 votes (51.2 percent) to Tijerina's 13,575 ballots (48.8 percent).[10] In the primary election held on March 2, 2010, Valdez had also led Tijerina by a narrow margin. Two other candidates were eliminated in the primary: former County Judge Andres "Andy" Ramos, Jr., and former County Judge Louis H. Bruni, Valdez's predecessor in the office.[11]

In September 2013, Tijerina announced before a large turnout of supporters that he would again challenge Valdez for county judge in the Democratic primary held on March 4, 2014. Tijerina vowed to focus in his second campaign for the office on matters of public health, safety, and government service. "We almost pulled off the greatest upset in Webb County's history four years ago. This year I am a lot older and wiser, and I've listened to the people. I feel the same frustration that the people have now with the Webb County government."[3] On October 3, 2013, in his announcement of candidacy, Valdez said that water quality would have been his top concern had he been retained by voters.[12]

Tijerina won the endorsement of The Laredo Morning Times, which said that "the picture of crisis after crisis ... abuse, fraud, and waste ... the mess we find outselves in ... results in the absence of effective leadership at the top," which the publication said could be remedied by "new leadership" from a "successful businessman-rancher".[13] He was also the first candidate ever to win the backing of LareDOS, a former monthly news magazine. Editor and publisher Maria Eugenia Guerra said that the support for Tijerina is the first for any candidate for office in the twenty years the magazine had been in publication.[14]

This time in a two-candidate field, Tijerina unseated Valdez by a wide margin, 17,514 (65 percent) to 9,446 (35 percent).[15]​ ​ In July 2015, Judge Tijerina, following up from a commissioners court request, called for a grand jury investigation of County Auditor Leo Flores. The request came in a letter to Webb County District Attorney Isidro R. "Chilo" Alaniz. Tijeria alleged the misappropriation of funds from restricted accounts. Flores predicted that any investigation will reveal nothing irregular: "Nothing inappropriate or illegal has been done by my office. The truth will surface, and I look forward to that time. ..."[16]​ ​ On July 23, 2015, the occasion of Donald Trump's Republican presidential campaign visit to Laredo, Tijerina said that he welcomed the opportunity to show Trump "our legacy of hard-working, generous, and honorable citizens. I hope that an accurate image of our Hispanic community is highlighted ... our community is the perfect example of Hispanic heritage, progress, and potential."[17] Trump was greeted on his arrival in the city by Mayor Pete Saenz, a Democrat in a nonpartisan position, and Randy Blair, the then Webb County Republican chairman. In his three-hour visit, Trump, who wore a white sports cap for protection from the South Texas sun, had been scheduled to meet with representatives of the United States Border Patrol, but the BP union nixed those plans at the last minute.[18]

In May 2016, Tijerina faced a $12 million budget shortfall in county revenues caused by a decline in monies from petroleum and natural gas mineral property taxes. To reign in the deficit, the county froze hiring for vacant positions and considered a voluntary separation plan for county employees already eligible to retire.[19]

In the Democratic primary election held on March 6, 2018, Tijerina defeated Assessor-Collector Patricia Barrera, who gave up her office to make the race for county judge. He then defeated a Republican challenge in the November 6 general election from Alfonso Ignacio "Poncho" Casso (born February 9, 1958), a businessman, former member of the Laredo City Council, and a previous unsuccessful candidate for mayor. Casso proposed a four-year freeze in higher property taxes in Webb County. In the 2018 budget, the commissioners court adopted the same tax rate as in 2017 but collected nearly $8 million more in revenue because of increases in property valuations and new developments. Casso said that, if elected county judge, he would make the annual property appraisals irrelevant.[20]​ ​ Tijerina polled 37,179 votes (76.3 percent) to Casso's 11,533 (23.7 percent). Casso trailed ticket mate U.S. Senator Ted Cruz in Webb County by 2,280 votes; Cruz finished his race against liberal Democrat Beto O'Rourke with 28 percent of the Webb County ballots.[21]

Border security

In July 2017, Tijerina announced that while he opposed Texas Senate Bill 4, which requires local law-enforcement officers to cooperate with federal authorities in apprehending illegal aliens, he opposed the county joining a lawsuit against the measure because of the likely loss of millions in state and federal funds to the governmental entities in Webb County. Commissioner John Galo said: "We have to obey whatever the law is. But to be threatened for voicing our concerns over it, I find that unacceptable."[22]

In September 2021, the Democrat Tijerina called for the resignation of U.S. President Joe Biden because of the administration's open-borders policy on the Rio Grande, which has wreaked havoc in Webb County.[23]

In March 2022, Tijerina embraced a border security operation to arrest migrants suspected of illegal crossings on state charges, a measure championed by Republican Governor Greg Abbott. Webb County is thus far the most populous county to support the plan. “We’re just in the initiation stages,” Tijerina told The Texas Tribune: “We’re almost there to start getting everything that we need to do as far as arrests.” The partnership would be a win for Abbott, who has previously found Democratic regions less willing to participate in his “catch-and-jail” strategy, in contrast to the Biden administration's "catch-and-release" stance.[24]

Personal life

Tijerina is married to the former Kimberly Jean Walker (born 1974), the daughter of James Dixon Walker and the former Sherra Castle. Mrs. Tijerina was the treasurer of her husband's campaign. Tijerina's business interests include oil and natural gas, ranching, rodeo stock management, trucking, and investments.[6] He worked for El Bosal LLC as a rancher.[3] In 2006, he sponsored the first of two "Giving God the Glory" team roping events.[4][25]

He is a former member of the board of South Texas Food Bank and chairman of Ranchers for the Hungry, a program launched in 2008 with a deer harvest coordinated by the Zapata County ranchers Robert and Oscar Laurel. Ranchers for the Hungry was recognized at a Feeding America National Conference as "the food resourcing program of the year."[26] Also active in the food bank is Tijerina's father-in-law, Jim Walker (born 1945), the Webb County 2014 "Rancher of the Yea."[27]

In July 2017, Tijerina and his wife were sued for more than $1 million regarding injuries sustained by three individuals involved in an automobile accident in April on the Bob Bullock Loop in which Cayetano Tijerina, the couple's then 16-year-old son, was cited for having failed to yield the right of way. Leticia, Roberto, and Valerine Gutierrez, occupants of one of the vehicles, seek damages for alleged pain and suffering relating to the collision.[28]


  1. Cayetano "Tito" Tijerina, Jr., obituary, The Laredo Morning Times, November 20, 2014, p. 10A.
  2. Biographical History. webbcountytx.gov. Retrieved on May 26, 2020.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Aldo Amato, "Tijerina to seek judge's post, The Laredo Morning Times, September 5, 2013, p. 3.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Tano for County Judge. linkedin.com. Retrieved on May 26, 2020.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 "Tano Tijerina picked to Latin Hall," The Laredo Morning Times, January 9, 2004.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 "Meet Tano," tanoforcountyjudge.com, April 27, 2014; material no longer on-line.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Tano Tijerina to Pitch in First Sister Cities Classic, September 18, 2013. oursportscentral.com. Retrieved on May 26, 2020.
  8. Tano Tijerina. baseball-reference.com. Retrieved on May 26, 2020.
  9. Zach Davis, "Lemurs add local: Laredo's Tano Tijerina to pitch against Tecos," Laredo Morning Times, September 19, 2013, p. B1.
  10. Zach Lindsey, "Webb County Judge: Valdez emerges victorious, Laredo Morning Times, April 14, 2010, p. 1.
  11. The Laredo Morning Times, March 3, 2010.
  12. "Valdez to seek re-election," Laredo Morning Times, October 4, 2013, p. 3A.
  13. "Editorial Board announces endorsements for Primary," Laredo Morning Times, February 18, 2014, p. 4A.
  14. Maria Eugenia Guerra, "Tano receives first ever endorsement by LareDOS," February 25, 2014.
  15. Final primary election results released. Laredo Morning Times (March 5, 2014). Retrieved on May 26, 2020.
  16. Kendra Ablaza, "Investigation request: Tijerina alleges misappropriation of funds by auditor," Laredo Morning Times, July 22, 2015, pp. 1, 7A.
  17. Kendra Ablaza, "Trump visits Laredo: To meet with law endorsement, Laredo Morning Times, July 23, 2015, pp. 1, 7A.
  18. Kendra Ablaza, "3 hours in Laredo: Donald Trump tours border," The Laredo Morning Times, July 24, 2015, p. 1.
  19. Gabriela A. Trevino, "County mulls ways to offset $12 million budget shortfall," The Laredo Morning Times,May 13, 2016.
  20. Julia Wallace. Former City Councilman announces campaign for Webb County judge. The Laredo Morning Times. Retrieved on May 26, 2020.
  21. Final voting results from the November 2018 general and special elections in Webb County. The Laredo Morning Times (November 7, 2018). Retrieved on May 26, 2020.
  22. Julia Wallace (July 25, 2017). Webb County Commissioners Court votes against 'show me your papers' lawsuit: The County Attorney's Office fears a loss of funding. The Laredo Morning Times. Retrieved on May 26, 2020.
  23. Charles Kim (August 30, 2021). [​https://www.newsmax.com/politics/tijerina-texas-biden-border/2021/08/30/id/1034386/ Democratic Texas Judge to Newsmax: Biden Should Resign Over Border Crisis]. newsmax.com. Retrieved on March 17, 2022.
  24. Jolie McCullough (March 13, 2022). Democratic stronghold Webb County is set to welcome Abbott’s controversial migrant arrests. The Texas Tribune, accessed through the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. Retrieved on March 17, 2022.
  25. Tano Tijerina to Officially Announce Candidacy for Webb County Judge. laredobuzz.com (September 14, 2009). Retrieved on May 26, 2020.
  26. Sol Otero, "Food bank boosted by LIFE donation," The Laredo Morning Times, March 12, 2014.
  27. L.I.F.E. 2014 Rancher of the Year: James D. Walker. laredofair.com. Retrieved on May 26, 2020.
  28. Taryn Walters (July 8, 2017). Webb County Judge, wife sued for more than $1 million over vehicle collision. The Laredo Morning Times. Retrieved on May 26, 2020.

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