Silvestre Reyes

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Silvestre Reyes
Silvestre Reyes.jpg
U.S. House, Texas, District 16
Former member
In office
January 3, 1997-January 3, 2013
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 6, 2012
First electedNovember 5, 1996
Term limitsN/A
High schoolCanutillo High School, TX
AssociateEl Paso Community College
Military service
Service/branchUnited States Army
Years of service1966-1968
Date of birthNovember 10, 1944
Place of birthCanutillo, TX
Net worth$16,001
Campaign website
Silvestre Reyes (b. November 10, 1944) was a Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives from the state of Texas. Reyes represented the 16th congressional district of Texas from 1997 to 2013.

Reyes ran for re-election in 2012. He was defeated by Beto O'Rourke in the Democratic primary on May 29, 2012.

Politico had listed Reyes as an incumbent facing a serious primary challenge in 2012.[1]

Based on an analysis of bill sponsorship by GovTrack, Reyes was a "rank-and-file Democrat".[2]


After earning his associate's degree, Reyes served in the U.S. Army for two years, including service in Vietnam. Reyes then joined the U.S. Border Patrol, where he worked for over 26 years.[3]


  • 1997-2013: U.S. House of Representatives
  • 1969-1995: U.S. Border Patrol
  • 1966-1968: U.S. Army

Committee assignments

U.S. House


Reyes was a member of the following House committees[4]:


Campaign themes


Silvestre Reyes campaign logo.

Reyes' website listed the following issues:[5]

  • Expanding Educational Opportunities
Excerpt: "Education is both the birthright of every American and the foundation of our nations greatness and success. Education has made us a freer people and unleashed the great potential of our diverse country."
  • Providing Access to Quality and Affordable Health Care
Excerpt: "As a border community, El Paso faces unique health care challenges, including a high incidence of diseases like diabetes, tuberculosis, and cancer; a disproportionate number of uninsured and underinsured; and a shortage of health care professionals."
  • Securing Our Borders and Our Nation
Excerpt: "As residents of the US-Mexico border region in the post-September 11th world, El Pasoans understand the challenges of balancing our binational lifestyle and economy with our safety and security. To have true national security, we need to safeguard ourselves from attack while also safeguarding our economy and way of life."
  • Leading on Border Issues
Excerpt: "I ran for Congress in 1996 after serving in the United States Border Patrol for over 26 years to address what I saw as a lack of leadership in Washington on border issues. Thirteen years later, I remain the only Member of Congress with federal border law enforcement experience, and I am proud to provide leadership to my colleagues, my party, and my country on border security immigration, and other border issues."
  • Providing Water for El Paso and Protecting Our Natural Resources
Excerpt: "Water is the most precious natural resource, especially in a desert city like El Paso. Competent resource management and cooperation among stakeholders is essential if we are to grow as a city and ensure our survival"
  • Improving Care for Veterans
Excerpt: "As a Vietnam combat veteran and as the federal representative for the El Paso region's nearly 60,000 veterans, one of my top priorities as a Member of Congress is the well being of our veterans."
  • Supporting Our Soldiers and Ft. Bliss
Excerpt: "The military and the economy are closely intertwined in El Paso. Our military base, Fort Bliss, has grown into one of the crown jewels of the United States Army, and it has become a major positive force in the El Paso economy."
  • Supporting a Strong Workforce
Excerpt: "The election of a Democratic Congress and the inauguration of President Barack Obama brought with it a renewed sense of hope and optimism for our country and the labor movement in particular. After years of Republican leadership that was disconnected from the plight of everyday working Americans, indifferent toward middle class families, and focused on providing tax breaks for the wealthy, there is now renewed hope in Washington, D.C."
  • Supporting Small Businesses in El Paso
Excerpt: "Small businesses are the engine of America's economic system and supporting their growth and vitality in El Paso is a top priority. Fostering and maintaining a business-friendly environment is key to sustained economic growth."

Specific votes

Fiscal Cliff

Voted "Yes" Reyes voted for the fiscal cliff compromise bill, which made permanent most of the Bush tax cuts originally passed in 2001 and 2003 while also raising tax rates on the highest income levels. He was one of 172 Democrats that voted in favor of the bill. The bill was passed in the House by a 257/167 vote on January 1, 2013.[6]



See also: Texas' 16th congressional district elections, 2012

Reyes ran for re-election in the 2012 election for the U.S. House, representing Texas' 16th District. He was defeated by Beto O'Rourke in the Democratic primary on May 29, 2012.[7]

According to a March 30, 2012 article from The Washington Post, that noted the top 10 incumbents who could lose their primaries, Reyes was the 2nd most likely incumbent to lose his primary.[8] Competition in the primary from former El Paso City Councilman Beto O'Rourke and being targeted by the Campaign for Primary Accountability were the main reasons for his vulnerability.[8] The article even goes so far as to state, "Reyes may be the Democrat most likely to lose his primary."[8]

Politico has also noted Reyes' vulnerability, saying Reyes faced his first primary threat since 1996. Beto O'Rourke portrayed Reyes as unresponsive and entrenched; the challenger also raised significant funding and received support from the Campaign for Primary Accountability. Reyes responded by gathering endorsements from Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, as well as pointing out O'Rourke's support of marijuana legalization.[1]


Reyes was targeted by the Super PAC Campaign for Primary Accountability in the 16th district Democratic primary. The PAC targeted Reyes because he had served for a long time, his constituents are dissatisfied, and there was a capable challenger.[9]

A Reyes spokesperson criticized the Campaign for Primary Accountability's implicit support of primary Reyes challenger Beto O'Rourke, pointing out that Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor had contributed to the PAC for its efforts in a Republican primary in Illinois. The Huffington Post reports that the PAC's targeting of both Democratic and Republican incumbents means contributions like Cantor's will be controversial.[10]


On November 2, 2010, Reyes won re-election to the U.S. House of Representatives, defeating Tim Besco (R), Bill Collins (L), and Tim Collins (Write-in).[11]

U.S. House of Representatives General Election, Texas Congressional District 16, 2010
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngSilvestre Reyes Incumbent 58.1% 49,301
     Republican Tim Besco 36.6% 31,051
     Libertarian Bill Collins 5.1% 4,319
     Write-in Tim Collins 0.3% 221
Total Votes 84,892

Campaign donors

Breakdown of the source of Reyes's campaign funds before the 2010 election.

Reyes won re-election to the U.S. House in 2010. During that re-election cycle, Reyes' campaign committee raised a total of $1,044,123 and spent $1,040,966.[12]


Congressional staff salaries

See also: Staff salaries of United States Senators and Representatives

The website Legistorm compiles staff salary information for members of Congress. Reyes paid his congressional staff a total of $960,984 in 2011. Overall, Texas ranked 27th in average salary for representative staff. The average U.S. House of Representatives congressional staff was paid $954,912.20 in fiscal year 2011.[13]

Net worth

See also: Net Worth of United States Senators and Representatives


Based on congressional financial disclosure forms and calculations made available by - The Center for Responsive Politics, Reyes' net worth as of 2011 was estimated between $2,002 to $30,000. That averages to $16,001, which is lower than the average net worth of Democratic House members in 2011 of $5,107,874. His average net worth increased by 100.01% from 2010.[14]


Based on congressional financial disclosure forms and calculations made available by - The Center for Responsive Politics, Reyes' net worth as of 2010 was estimated between $1,001 to $15,000. That averages to $8,000.50 which is lower than the average net worth of Democratic Representatives in 2010 of $4,465,875.[15]

National Journal vote ratings

See also: National Journal vote ratings


Each year National Journal publishes an analysis of how liberally or conservatively each member of congress voted in the previous year. Reyes ranked 131st in the liberal rankings among members of the U.S. House.[16]


Each year National Journal publishes an analysis of how liberally or conservatively each member of congress voted in the previous year. Reyes ranked 163rd in the liberal rankings among members of the U.S. House.[17]

Percentage voting with party

November 2011

Reyes voted with the Democratic Party 88.8% of the time, which ranked 155 among the 192 House Democratic members as of November 2011.[18]

Recent news

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Reyes and his wife, Carolina, have three children and four grandchildren.[3]

External links


Political offices
Preceded by
Ronald D. Coleman
U.S. House of Representatives - Texas, 16th District
Succeeded by
Beto O'Rourke