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Frank M. Tejeda Post Office Building

Rep. John M. McHugh

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Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and pass the bill (H.R. 499) to designate the facility of the U.S. Postal Service under construction at 7411 Barlite Boulevard in San Antonio, TX, as the ``Frank M. Tejeda Post Office Building.''

The Clerk read as follows:

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

The facility of the United States Postal Service under construction at 7411 Barlite Boulevard in San Antonio, Texas, shall be known and designated as the ``Frank M. Tejeda Post Office Building''.

Any reference in a law, map, regulation, document, paper, or other record of the United States to the facility referred to in section 1 shall be deemed to be a reference to the ``Frank M. Tejeda Post Office Building''.

Pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from New York [Mr. McHUGH] and the gentleman from Pennsylvania [Mr. Fattah] each will control 20 minutes.

The Chair recognizes the gentleman from New York [Mr. McHUGH].

Rep. John M. McHugh

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Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

(Mr. McHUGH asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)

Rep. John M. McHugh

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Mr. Speaker, the legislation before us was introduced by the gentleman from Texas [Mr. Bonilla] and supported by the Texas House Delegation.

H.R. 499 designates the facility of the U.S. Postal Service being constructed at 7411 Barlite Blvd., San Antonio, TX as the Frank M. Tejeda Post Office Building.

Mr. Speaker, this legislation honors our colleague Frank Tejeda, who died at the age of 51 at his home in San Antonio, TX on January 31 after succumbing to a 17-month battle with a malignant brain tumor.

Frank was born on October 2, 1945 in San Antonio, TX and grew up in that city's south side. He did not finish high school, having been told not to return after an incident with a school counselor. Frank then joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 1963 during the Vietnam conflict, and 2 weeks before his scheduled return home from Vietnam in 1966, he was ambushed and struck in his leg by shrapnel. Frank Tejeda was awarded the Purple Heart, the Bronze Star, the Commandant's Trophy, the Marine Corps Association Award, and many others for his valor and for his soldiering skills. Just recently, Mr. Speaker, he was posthumously awarded the Silver Star.

Mr. Speaker, I have a very extensive statement on the many achievements of this fine American and of this man whom we all knew and loved very deeply, and I would like to enter that more full statement into the Record in its entirety.

Frank Tejeda loved the Marine Corps; even as a Member of Congress, Frank continued to serve in the Marine Corps Reserve. When attending officer candidate school, Frank maintained a 99.6 academic average, the highest in the history of the Marine Corps. After leaving the Corps, Frank earned his undergraduate degree in government from St. Mary's University in San Antonio, a J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley in 1974, a master's degree in public administration from Harvard in 1980, and a master of law from Yale in 1989.

He served in the Texas House in Austin from 1977 until 1986 when he was elected to the Texas Senate where he remained until 1992. He was the leader of the south side political coalition in San Antonio. Frank Tejeda left his imprint on workers' compensation reform, business initiatives for minorities and women, housing for veterans, protection of crime victims, and he promoted measures to ensure voting rights for minorities. He became known for his investigation into the malfeasance of two members of the Texas Supreme Court, who were disciplined. The result of this investigation was the enmity of the State's trial lawyers.

Frank Tejeda was elected the first Representative to Congress from the 28th District of Texas in 1992. He was known as a quiet, dedicated, and independent-minded Representative, voting his conscience and the concerns of his constituency. He was a staunch defender of veterans, active duty personnel and military installations and he served on the Committees on Veterans Affairs and National Security.

Coincidently, Mr. Speaker, toward the end of the 104th Congress, on October 9, 1996, the President signed Public Law 104-255, the designation of the Amos F. Longoria Post Office Building in Elmendorf, TX, introduced by Frank Tejeda, honoring Elmendorf's native son who lost his life in service to his country during World War II. It is fitting that this House now remembers one of its own by designating a new post office building in San Antonio as the Frank M. Tejeda Post Office Building.

Mr. Speaker, I urge all our colleagues to support the measure before us.

Mr. Speaker, at this time I would like to yield to other Members who have gathered here in the House to pay honor to this great American, and I reserve the balance of my time.

Rep. Chaka Fattah

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Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, I rise also in support of House Resolution 499. This is a moment in which the House has an opportunity to show its respect for a fallen comrad. This is a gentleman whose work here in the Congress and his life sets an example for us all. And it has been offered by two of his colleagues from Texas, both Congressman Ortiz and Congressman Bonilla, and we want to on this side suggest that this is a truly bipartisan effort to recognize the accomplishments of a great American.

Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.

Rep. John M. McHugh

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Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from Pennsylvania for his very appropriate remarks.

Mr. Speaker, I yield 5\1/2\ minutes to the gentleman from Texas [Mr. Bonilla], the primary sponsor of the bill.

(Mr. BONILLA asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)

Rep. Henry Bonilla

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Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from New York for yielding me the time.

Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of H.R. 499 to designate this new postal facility under construction in the 28th congressional district as the Frank M. Tejeda Post Office Building. I am honored to sponsor this legislation, along with my dear friend and Frank's long time dear friend, the gentleman from Texas, Congressman Solomon Ortiz.

Although it is a small gesture to recognize Frank's lifetime of commitment to our country and to his constituents, this post office will serve as a reminder of his legacy for generations to come. This post office will combine the present Terrell Wells, Harlandale and south San Antonio stations. The new facility will service the largest square mile area, the largest geographic area in San Antonio.

The Frank Tejeda Post Office will deliver mail to more than 40,000 city customers. It will house 118 postal employees. Coincidentally, it is going to be built on Barlite Street, which is a street that I grew up about half a mile away from, and used to ride my bicycle up and down that street all the time. I bring that up because Frank and I are from the same part of town. He went to Harlandale High School, and I went to South San Antonio High School, which Barlite runs right alongside. We often talked about coming from that part of town and wondered how we had become so blessed as to serve in this great body at the same time. He and I were elected at the same time.

This post office will be only the second one in the city to be named in honor of an individual, the first one being the J. Frank Dobie station in honor of a pioneer Texan and historian born in the 1800's. This bill will provide a permanent landmark in memory of a great patriot and a great friend. Frank represented all that is good about America. He always led by example, and he had the utmost character and dignity, and inspired all who met him.

Frank was an outstanding representative for his district, and he made us all very proud. I cannot think of a better way to lead than by example. That is exactly what Frank did and will be remembered for. He was a dedicated public servant whose memory will continue to serve as an ideal example for many.

It is difficult to accept that someone with such character, intelligence, vigor, and promise has been taken from us. As I mentioned earlier, we were often together on the airplane flying back and forth between San Antonio, spending hours on the airplane talking about all of the things we wanted to do and all the things we wanted to accomplish while we were in the U.S. Congress. It is now hard to believe that Frank will not be here with us to see some of his ideas carried through.

I will always be grateful for my time in Congress. It gave me the opportunity to become friends with Frank. We will miss Frank, but we know that he is always with us, and his legacy will live on forever.

Rep. Solomon P. Ortiz

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Mr. Speaker, will the gentleman yield?

Rep. Henry Bonilla

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I yield to my friend, the gentleman from Texas, Solomon Ortiz, a cosponsor of this legislation. Just to reflect on some of the great moments he and I spent with Frank on this House floor and oftentimes walking between here and our office buildings across the street, it is hard to believe he is not with us.

(Mr. ORTIZ asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)

Rep. Solomon P. Ortiz

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That is right, Mr. Speaker. Frank was a good leader. As we well know, he was very reserved. The gentleman and I and Frank and some of our friends would sit behind there and joke and kid about south Texas, and talk about our friends. He was a great father, a very dedicated American, a gentleman who gave freely of his life, whether in public service or in the military, like he did.

I am so happy that we are naming a post office after Frank. This is a way that we can pay tribute to a great American who has contributed so much to our society, to our country.

I understand, at the same time, that they are sponsoring or raising funds for a contribution for Frank Tejeda's scholarship fund. Those Members who might be listening to us who would like to contribute, to also honor Frank in another way, feel free to call my office or call the gentleman's office.

In a resolution before the House yesterday that commemorated Frank, Member after Member from both sides praised Frank for the way he acted and the way he led our country.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate my good friend, the gentleman from Texas [Mr. Bonilla]. I would also like to thank the leadership on both sides for giving us time to bring this bill to the floor. I know the gentleman was close to Frank. We have lost a great friend, a great American, but I know, my friend, that you are in a better place.

Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the bill renaming the Terrell Wells Station in San Antonio as the Frank M. Tejeda Post Office Building after our friend and colleague.

Many friends across the Nation as well as in Texas and the close-knit south Texas community have grieved mightily for our friend Frank since his death last Thursday night.

For this reason we want to commemorate him in a very public way, and the best way to do so is to name a post office in his honor.

In the resolution before the House yesterday that commemorated Frank, Member after Member rose to praise him for his outstanding service from the jungles of Vietnam to the corridors of power in Austin and Washington.

As these Members spoke, there was a recurring sentiment voiced.

Frank Tejeda was an uncomplicated man--he meant what he said and he said what he meant. He was a true leader who believed in the value and decency of the working class.

I believe that remembering Frank by naming a post office in his honor would be an outstanding tribute to a man who gave his life for his country, many times over.

Rep. Henry Bonilla

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Mr. Speaker, I thank my friend, the gentleman from Texas [Mr. Ortiz]. I think Frank would appreciate right now that we are smiling because of the memories we had with him on this House floor. He was very serious and diligent in his work, but he was also a very funny guy.

I recall so many times here where perhaps a debate was being held on an issue that did not affect our area, perhaps a Federal facility was being debated in Montana or another area of the country, and the gentleman and I and Frank would sometimes sit by that door on the side of the House Chamber and just spend some amusing moments that we will all remember him for. I know he will appreciate that we are reflecting on that as well today.

Rep. Solomon P. Ortiz

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I know Frank is listening to us. As many are well aware, he was a strict dietitian. Frank had a very special diet. Not only did he take care of his soul, he took care of his body. Sometimes I was a little embarrassed to eat with Frank, because he would ask for stuff that the kitchen could prepare: No butter, no cokes, no sweets, no nothing. I looked at Frank, and I would say, how do you still stay healthy? This is the way I stay healthy, and I eat all the greasy stuff for Frank.

But again, I thank the leadership for giving us this time to praise Frank. The gentleman from Texas [Mr. Bonilla], he and his family were very close to him. In fact, his mother is here visiting with us today, and visiting Frank's office.

Rep. John M. McHugh

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Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.

Rep. Chaka Fattah

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Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, Frank's legacy is one for which we should all be thankful. This is a person at a young age, not completing high school, who served his country with great courage, went on then to get an undergraduate degree, a law degree from Berkeley. Then one of the things that I shared with Frank was the experience of studying at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. So his legacy of educational excellence is a role model for all of the young people of San Antonio and throughout the Nation.

Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to my colleague, the gentleman from Texas [Mr. Green].

Rep. Gene Green

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Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for allowing me to speak today, and yielding me this time. It is an honor to be here and to honor the memory of one of America's finest men, Frank Tejeda, by naming a post office in his memory.

Frank was a man who displayed courage and honor and unwavering commitment to his constituents and to Texas and to our Nation. Frank and I served together since 1977 in the Texas Legislature. We served in the State house, and sat near each other on the house floor, in the State senate, until 1992, when we both decided we wanted to come to Congress.

We honor our colleague because he is one of the strongest individuals I ever knew, both personally and, obviously, physically. One of the best times I guess I remember of Frank is when he was promoted to major in the Marine Reserves. A couple of colleagues and I went with him to the Marine Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery, for he and another colleague of ours, the gentleman from Pennsylvania [Mr. McHale], was promoted to colonel.

It was a great experience for Frank, because he was most proud of being a marine. To see that happen at the Marine Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery, we can stand up here and talk all day about memories of Mr. Tejeda, but a post office being named for him in San Antonio, TX. As chairman of the committee, you will remember last year we renamed a post office in his district, in honor of a veteran, for Mr. Tejeda in one of our bills. I think this is fitting.

Rep. John M. McHugh

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Mr. Speaker, I am now honored to yield 3 minutes to the gentleman from Indiana [Mr. Burton], the chairman of the full committee, for some comments on this bill.

Rep. Dan Burton

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Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from New York for yielding me this time.

I also want to thank my colleagues from Texas, Henry Bonilla and Solomon Ortiz, for sponsoring this legislation. Mr. Speaker, this is a sad thing to do right off the bat, in a new session of the Congress, to have to eulogize and remember a fellow like Frank Tejeda. He did a great service to this country. He was an outstanding Congressman.

One of the things that strikes me, Mr. Speaker, is that at times like this, even though this Congress is vilified from time to time, people can see that there is a closeness between both Democrats and Republicans. We have our differences on philosophical issues and so forth, but we all respect and honor one another, and at times like this, it shows the American people that we are one body and we are concerned about our fellow men and our fellow legislators.

The gentleman from Texas, Mr. Tejeda, did great things for this country in Vietnam. He served this country well. He accomplished great things. A high school dropout that went to Vietnam after getting his education, part of it, he got the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star serving his country. I do not think this has been mentioned yet, but at Officer Candidate School he had the highest academic average that any marine has ever had in the history of the Marine Corps. That is extraordinary. It shows that people who are ruled out early on in their life can achieve great things. He is an example for every young person in this country who has had academic problems to follow.

So even in his death we can remember him, and people across this country should remember him, for achievements that extend beyond the time when he was looked upon as a failure in life.

He became a very fine member of the service. He became a very fine member of the Congress. He never forgot his fellow servicemen, his fellow enlisted men that served in the conflict in Vietnam and in the other wars. He served his constituency well, and he is one that we will remember with honor and dignity.

I would just like to say to his family how sorry we are that he is lost to us and my colleagues, and to tell them that both Republicans and Democrats will miss him.

Rep. John M. McHugh

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Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, I thank the chairman for his very thoughtful and kind remarks. I think it is important to note that, as we all know, the progress of legislation can often be a tortuous one, but I think this body owes a particular word of thanks to the chairman and to his staff for assisting in helping to expedite this bill being before us here today. It was a kind of gesture that really does endorse the very kind words that the gentleman just spoke about the man we have gathered to honor this afternoon.

Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.

Rep. Chaka Fattah

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Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the minority I also thank the chairman for the expedited procedures with which this bill comes to us for consideration.

I also appreciate Frank's tremendous contribution with regards to expanding the GI bill so veterans could participate in earning teaching certificates through the alternative State certification process.

Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to my colleague, the gentleman from the great State of California [Mr. Becerra].

Rep. Xavier Becerra

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Mr. Speaker, I thank my friend and colleague, the gentleman from Pennsylvania, for yielding me time.

Let me also begin my remarks by thanking the leadership on both sides of the aisle so very much for making this possible and, with such grace, adding to the words others have said about Frank Tejeda. I do not know if angels blush, but I know right now there is one angel blushing, and that is Frank Tejeda, because he is the most modest of individuals. He would look at us right now and say, you need not do this, I do what I need to do.

So in naming a post office after Frank, I think we pay him tribute but it is a tribute that he himself would probably say, I just did my job. And unfortunately in this case, we are doing it because he has left us, and I wish we did not have to name a post office after Frank.

If we take a look at the bill for today, there are two paragraphs, and in typical Frank Tejeda style, that is the way he would like it. More than two paragraphs probably would be too long for Frank, because he would say, keep it simple, keep it brief. I think we could all learn a great deal from a man for whom simplicity was such a tribute and such a way of life. Too often we bog down in the politics of things here. Too often we lose sight of what we are really trying to do here.

As much as Frank never spoke up a lot, I think he always kept sight of what he was in charge to do as a Member of Congress. For me to be able to stand here and say to the blushing angel up in the sky today, ``You deserve this, Frank,'' is an honor. I thank both my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, and the leadership, especially, for making this time available to Frank Tejeda.

Rep. John M. McHugh

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Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the gentleman from Texas [Mr. Sessions].

Rep. Pete Sessions

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Mr. Speaker, I also rise today to offer words of not only encouragement for what is going on with this H.R. 499, but also to offer my insight. As a person who attended the funeral of Congressman Frank Tejeda, I was able to see firsthand those people who live within the 28th Congressional District of Texas in San Antonio. They knew Frank Tejeda as a man who was not only honest and hardworking, but a man who represented the people.

I stand today in support of H.R. 499 because Frank Tejeda deserves this tribute that we will be giving to him. Like those men who have fallen before him who died as Texans, Sam Houston, Davy Crockett, and Colonel James B. Travis, Frank Tejeda also is a man who represented Texas with arms.

He represented our country, he was a proud marine and a man who knew that this country by its standards can stand strong. This U.S. Postal Service center that will be named after Frank Tejeda is important because it will be a memory to those who were in his community who recognized that positive leadership, good citizenship and honesty is a way of life that they can look at and want to model themselves after. I stand today in support of this bill and thank the gentleman for yielding the time to me.

Rep. John M. McHugh

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Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.

Rep. Chaka Fattah

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Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes and 15 seconds to the gentleman from Texas [Mr. Doggett], a colleague who started his service in the Congress in the same class that I did, who has distinguished himself as a supreme court judge in Texas and now is a member of the House Committee on the Judiciary.

Rep. Lloyd Doggett

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Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to join my colleagues from Texas and from across America in honoring Frank Tejeda. I served with Frank in the Texas Legislature and here in Congress, and I knew him to be a very tough advocate for the people of south Texas. He was a tireless worker for positive change both in the Texas Legislature and here on the floor of Congress.

Frank was a person that inspired others by his example. I think that surely his name is synonymous with courage and with commitment to his community. I believe, as I reflected over his legislative career, which was extensive, that the last piece of legislation that Frank worked with us on in the Texas delegation was quite ironically the naming of a post office in Elmendorf in his district. He named it on behalf of a veteran.

Frank believed in service to our country. He demonstrated that as a true American hero, fighting on the battlefield, sustaining wounds on behalf of this country and the freedom of this country in his service in Southeast Asia. And all of us who participated in the service Monday at San Leo's Catholic Church on the south side of San Antonio saw firsthand that Frank practiced what he preached when we had a chance to meet and visit with the members of his family, to see what strong family bonds and commitment his family had. I think it was an inspiring moment for all of us who had an opportunity to participate in that service honoring Frank.

The people that will be working in this postal facility there in the south side, the postal workers, the letter carriers, know that Frank was here in respect to their service to their community. Each day as they go to work there, they will remember Frank Tejeda as a person who stood up for Government workers, whether they were at Kelly Air Force Base or whether they were working in neighborhood postal facilities.

More importantly, the people who go there for service will remember Frank Tejeda as a true servant of his south side community, someone who grew up knowing all of the disadvantage of a community but who enjoyed the advantage of strong family ties and made it through the marines and then came back having had the alternative of many other careers with the distinguished degrees that he had earned at some of the Nation's top colleges but who went right back to the south side and worked on behalf of his community.

We saw lining the streets, a large church unable, filled to capacity, unable to accommodate all of the many hundreds of people who wanted to be there to honor Congressman Tejeda.

I would say that the Members of Congress and the people of America who had the good fortune to deal with Congressman Tejeda will remain inspired by the courage and the dignity that he demonstrated to the very end, that he inspires all of us.

Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding me the time.

Rep. Chaka Fattah

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Mr. Speaker, I yield 1\1/2\ minutes to the gentlewoman from California [Ms. Harman].

Rep. Jane Harman

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Mr. Speaker, naming a post office after our friend and colleague Frank Tejeda is a wonderful thing. I support it.

I would like to suggest in addition, however, that we consider dedicating this Congress to the principles he embodied. And they are, as we have all heard, humility, kindness, intellect and compassion. These are critical things for all of us to consider, if we are to do something productive in the next 2 years.

When I heard that my classmate, my neighbor in the Cannon Building and my colleague on the Committee on National Security had died, my first question was, why. Why are the nicest among us taken first? I asked the same question in the last Congress when Bill Emerson, another one of the nicest people here died.

It is a shame to lose somebody who makes you understand why you are here, who makes you want to hug the person next to you, who makes you warm about the endeavor we are engaged in. It is an enormous shame and loss. I say to the Tejeda family, you produced the best. And I say to Texas, you are a State that produces some of the biggest heroes in our Nation's history. I know that Frank's star will be among those. Vaya con Dios, amigo.

Rep. John M. McHugh

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Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.

Rep. Chaka Fattah

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Mr. Speaker, I yield 2\1/2\ minutes to the gentleman from American Samoa, [Mr. Faleomavaega], another colleague who has joined us and has asked for a few minutes to also make some comments on behalf of our colleague.

(Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)

Del. Eni F. H. Faleomavaega

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Mr. Speaker, I think it is most appropriate that this body does all it can to make sure that the post office that is now for purposes of discussion being named in the memory and honor of this great colleague of ours, Congressman Frank Tejeda.

Mr. Speaker, I rise to honor the memory of a good friend, the very distinguished colleague, the late Congressman Frank Tejeda of Texas, who passed away Thursday after a long battle with cancer. He was a man whose life was entirely dedicated to serving his community and certainly to our Nation.

Mr. Speaker, I met Congressman Tejeda when he first came to the Congress after being elected in 1992. He was someone for whom I had tremendous respect and affection. He always extended the hand of friendship to me, and I always appreciated the fact that he made me feel welcome every time I saw him on the House floor.

Congressman Tejeda had a distinguished career in public service when he arrived in Washington. After having served for a decade in the Texas House and for 6 years in the Texas Senate, he was an accomplished academician, with graduate degrees from my own alma mater, the Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California in Berkeley, the Yale Law School, and Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government.

Mr. Speaker, Congressman Tejeda was a warrior, as far as I am concerned, of the first order. He was as great a battler for the rights of individuals as he was a courageous marine on the field of battle, and he never gave up. When he believed in something, he fought for it. I know that everyone in this body who had ever had the privilege of working with this gentleman had tremendous respect for this gentleman. He was the kind of person that you looked forward to working with because you knew that, once he was committed to a course of action, he would not rest until he succeeded. Congressman Tejeda made a career of battling injustice, and he never faltered.

He was generous to everyone, generous with his time and generous with his talents. There are countless stories of how he took money from his own pocket to provide uniforms for the local baseball teams, how he co-signed notes to pay power bills and the lights could remain on the field, and how he took out loans to meet medical expenses for his friends, how he bought the furniture for the day care center at the local church. The list of his good deeds goes on and on, Mr. Speaker.

I realize my time is short. I certainly want to extend on behalf of our Samoan community our condolences to Mrs. Tejeda and the members of his family.

I thank the gentleman for yielding me the time.

I rise to honor the memory of a good friend and a very distinguished colleague, the late Congressman Frank Tejeda of Texas, who passed away Thursday after a long battle with cancer. He was a man whose life was entirely dedicated to serving his country and his community.

Mr. Speaker, I met Congressman Tejeda when he first came to the Congress after being elected in 1992. He was someone for whom I had tremendous respect and affection. He always extended the hand of friendship to me, and I always appreciated the fact that he made me feel welcome every time that I saw him on the House floor.

Congressman Tejeda already had a distinguished career in public service when he arrived in Washington, having served for a decade in the Texas House and for 6 years in the Texas Senate. He was an accomplished academician, with graduate degrees from my own alma mater, the Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California in Berkeley, Yale Law School and Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government.

Congressman Tejeda was a decorated veteran who joined the Marines and served in Vietnam from 1963 to 1967. He was awarded the Purple Heart, the Bronze Star, the Marine Commandant's Trophy, the Marine Corps Association Award and the Colonel Phil Yeckel Award for the best combined record in leadership, academics and physical fitness during the time when he was at officers candidate school, where he maintained an academic average of 99.6--the highest ever recorded in Marine Corps history. He was posthumously awarded the Silver Star by the U.S. Navy for risking his life under enemy fire to save a wounded fellow marine. Congressman Tejeda was a warrior of the highest order and a hero to our country.

In the Congress, Congressman Tejeda was a warrior as well. He was as great a battler for the rights of individuals as he was a courageous marine on the field of war, and he never gave up. When he believed in something, he fought for it. I know that everyone in this body who ever had the privilege of working with him had tremendous respect for the gentleman. He was the kind of person that you looked forward to working with because you know that once he was committed to a course of action, he would not rest until he succeeded. Congressman Tejeda made a career of battling injustice, and he never faltered.

Because of his tenacity, because of his leadership, because of his generosity and because he never forgot where he came from, Congressman Tejeda was loved and respected by the people he served. One of his constituents said to him, ``even though he spent many years in Washington, his heart was always in San Antonio * * * He was a community man.''

Congressman Tejeda never lost touch with the family, friends and constituents who worked on behalf of his political success, and he continued to make a home in the neighborhood where he grew up. He was generous with everyone--generous with his time and generous with his talents. There are countless stories of how he took money from his own pocket to provide uniforms for the local baseball teams, how he cosigned notes to pay power bills so that the lights could remain on at the field, how he took out loans to meet medical expenses for friends, how he bought the furniture for the day care center at the local church. The list of his good deeds goes on and on.

His generosity of spirit was well known. He was a mentor to many young people. As he gained political stature, he made sure he helped younger aspiring leaders--he opened up windows of opportunity. As Undersecretary of the Army Joe Reeder said of him, ``He was a great role model, a great advocate for Hispanics and a great advocate for veterans.'' Congressman Henry Bonilla concurred, adding, ``Frank Tejeda represented all that is good about America. He always led by example, and his character and dignity inspired all who met him.'' He was a genuine American hero.

Representative Henry Gonzales, congressional Hispanic caucus chairman Xavier Becerra, Representative Solomon Ortiz, Representative Henry Bonilla, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Henry Cisneros and many other distinguished leaders have all spoken of their great loss--both personal and communal--because of this untimely death. The Hispanic community has lost a great man, a great leader and a great warrior. As former HUD Secretary Henry Cisneros said, ``You don't find many public officials who stand for anything. Frank Tejeda took stands.''

Whether we remember the war hero, the anti-poverty activist, the brilliant attorney, the crusading State legislator, the dedicated U.S. Congressman, the role model for our youth, the compassionate and generous member of the community, the fighter for justice and equality, the good friend whose personal warmth was always evident, or any of the other remarkable aspects of this man, we all mourn his loss.

And so, Mr. Speaker, we mourn the loss to Texas, the loss to the Hispanic community, the loss, finally, to all of America. We will all miss the presence and the leadership of Congressman Frank Tejeda.

Rep. Chaka Fattah

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Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

I want to just finally state that, notwithstanding his great service to our country, both in the armed services and here in the Congress and the Texas Legislature, I think that our colleague would want us to know that in all likelihood as it is for all of the rest of us that his greatest personal achievement is his family and his children. I think that they have a legacy that he has left them that they can be proud of through his personal courage and commitment and dedication. He has been a shining example of what is possible from that beautiful city in Texas, San Antonio.

Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.

Rep. John M. McHugh

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Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

I certainly want to start by thanking the gentleman from Pennsylvania for his leadership on his side of the aisle in helping us to move this very important piece of legislation through the process. Obviously, Mr. Speaker, the words spoken in the last minutes on this floor say very eloquently the high regard and the deep love that this body holds toward our departed colleague.

Frank Tejeda was elected to this body as the first Representative from the 28th Congressional District in Texas in 1992. He was known simply as a quiet, dedicated, and independent-minded Representative who always voted his conscience first in the interest and concerns of his constituency. We have been told here today time and again he was a staunch defender of veterans, active duty and military personnel and installations and expressed that concern through his service on the Committee on National Security and the Committee on Veterans' Affairs.

It has been mentioned twice here, I believe, Mr. Speaker, by the gentleman from Texas [Mr. Green] and the gentleman from Texas [Mr. Doggett], that indeed our departed colleague took as one of his final actions on this floor to see that a postal installation in Texas in Elmendorf was named after Amos F. Longoria, who was, like Frank, a war veteran and a native son of Texas, a gentleman who lost his life in service to his country. I think perhaps we should take the lead from Frank's efforts in that regard and very appropriately go forward in adopting this worthy piece of legislation.

Mr. Speaker, I yield such time as he may consume to the gentleman from Texas [Mr. Armey], a leader in this House, the majority leader.

Rep. Richard K. Armey

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Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the gentlemen for taking this time to honor our friend and colleague, Frank Tejeda.

As I watched this very sad event of the passing of our colleague Frank, I began to realize that a real problem we have among ourselves as colleagues, I believe, is our failure to ever really stop and take the time out of our schedules to get to know each other. I must confess that that was a problem I had. Frank was with us as a Member and a colleague for a short period of time. I know I must have had opportunities to sit down and visit with him and to know more about him and his family. I think it is sad that all too often what we do is, when we find that we lose a colleague, we then learn from their friends and their family and associates that did get to know them better what a special person this is.

I would like to wonder if perhaps we might take this time as we take the day today to honor his memory to give respect and condolences to his family, to build within ourselves a new resolve as colleagues to begin to take the time to see each other more than just another member on the committee, perhaps somebody on the other side of the aisle who we start off with the presumption that they must be the enemy or they would not be on that side of the aisle, and on an airplane ride or in a lunch counter or at some time more frequently with a greater degree of real and genuine interest, take the time among ourselves to get to know each other and to appreciate not only those characteristics and attributes that we will later stand on the floor and celebrate but to even appreciate the differences that we have among ourselves that can be seen as complements rather than competitors.

In any event, let me express my disappointment in myself that I lost this opportunity when it was there before me.

I appreciate again the time my colleagues have taken and the time they have given to share with me for us to say our appreciation for Frank Tejeda, his life, and his service.

Rep. John M. McHugh

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Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume to say that I thank the majority leader for his thoughtful and, I think, appropriate remarks.

As I understand, procedurally the gentleman from Pennsylvania had yielded back his time, but I note yet another Representative from Texas, the gentlewoman from Texas [Ms. Jackson-Lee] has entered.

Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentlewoman from Texas [Ms. Jackson-Lee] if she would like to make some comments.

Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee

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Mr. Speaker, I certainly do thank the gentlemen on the floor for their leadership and for their kindness.

Let me simply add, I see my friend and colleague, among others, the gentleman from Texas, Solomon Ortiz, who eloquently yesterday examined the life of Frank Tejeda. He examined it from the perspective of true friendship. As I watched both of them, I saw them as brothers.

And I appreciate the remarks of the majority leader, saying to all of us that we should get to know each other as individuals, as people, as brothers and sisters. Clearly, the home-going service of Congressman Frank Tejeda on Monday, which many of us had the pleasure, the enrichment of participating in indicated that he was a man of the people.

Yesterday, in my tribute, I did not get a chance to describe for my colleagues the many friends that lined the highways waiving farewell to their dear brother. He was a patriot but certainly he was a father. He belonged to people.

This tribute of a post office, which grounds itself in the very needs of citizens--there used to be the old general store. I think the post office has come to be accepted as a place where the community meets and the community engages itself. So I think it is more than appropriate for a man who engaged himself with the community, with the people, never straying away from their beliefs, never straying away from feeling committed to representing them.

Frank Tejeda was never a king among men. He is that. He has royalty but he was someone, Mr. Speaker, who knew how to walk with all of the people.

I am very proud, as I indicated yesterday, to have known the Congressperson briefly. I am gratified for his life and his legacy and I wanted to come today to add tribute and to add my support for this honor being bestowed upon him today.

Rep. Scott McInnis

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The question is on the motion offered by the gentleman from New York [Mr. McInnis] that the House suspend the rules and pass the bill, H.R. 499.

The question was taken.

Rep. John M. McHugh

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Mr. Speaker, I object to the vote on the ground that a quorum is not present and make the point of order that a quorum is not present.

Evidently a quorum is not present.

The Sergeant at Arms will notify absent Members.

The vote was taken by electronic device, and there were--yeas 400, nays 0, not voting 33, as follows:

Mr. HILLIARD changed his vote from ``nay'' to ``yea.''

So (two-thirds having voted in favor thereof) the rules were suspended and the bill was passed.

The result of the vote was announced as above recorded.

A motion to reconsider was laid on the table.