By Juan Montoya
No sooner do the state and federal dignitaries make their way to the border to address the flood of unaccompanied migrant minors crossing the Rio Grande than our esteemed Texas State Senator Eddie Lucio Jr. makes a grab for the spotlight.
You remember when the state legislature was considering establishing the new, improved, super-duper University of Texas Rio Grande Valley and the new medical school? There was Eddie hugging and smooching with Gov. Rick Perry like they were the best of buds.
Well, the torrent of illegal minors spilling across the river has expanded Eddie's horizons. Now he's hobnobbing with the likes of U.S. Reps, Nancy Pelosi and Fil Vela Jr. decrying the inhumane treatment of these minors and clamoring for more bucks to address the issue.
He praises the Democratic U.S. House leadership in the same breath as praising Perry not realizing that the coiffed governor used the immigration soapbox to sling a few choice criticisms of Democratic President Barack Obama.
The irony doesn't stop there.
Recently he was asked to swear in Texas Southmost College trustee Ed Rivera and between pointing out that his son Eddie III was in the audience and performing magnificently in the Texas House, that his father had been a veteran and had attended TSC, etc. how much he loved good ole TSC.
Of course, he knew everyone's daddy, had worked alongside everyone's uncle, joshed about their relatives with his best East Texas affected drawl, etc., and in short , charmed everyone with his pearly whites shining atop his bow tie.
Only the stern rebuke from the education committee chairman for higher education made them abandon that effort and support having both a university and a free-standing community college. Eddie and Rene were ready to let it all go.
We wonder if at any one time Lucio looks in the mirror and sees what we all see – a pompous, calculating self-serving politician who has more than one time thrown his constituents under the bus and made them even poorer by taking his cut and the public be damned.
He, after all, was the one who convinced the Port of Brownsville commissioners – while getting paid consultant fees – to drop Brown and Root and go to Dannebaum Engineering which resulted in a $21 million loss on the infamous Bridge to Nowhere. And he also "consulted" to convince Willacy County commissioners to steer business toward his client to build private prisons. Several Willacy County commissioners were tried and convicted of taking bribes. Curiously, the bribers went scot free and Eddie slithered away with nary a scratch.
It used to be said about former City of Brownsville Mayor Nacho Garza that no disaster could be a considered a real disaster unless he appeared on the scene such as the Amigo Store collapse and the huge used-clothes warehouse fires on 14th Street.
Eddie seems to have taken over that role: It's not a real disaster until Eddie shows up and certifies it for a photo op.