With his sights set on the Texas Legislature, today is Diego Bernal's last official day as a city council member after he announced on Twitter last week that the November 13 meeting would be his last. Bernal is rolling off the 15-member body to run for former State Rep. Mike Villarreal's seat in the Texas House of Representatives, which Villarreal resigned from nearly two weeks ago to focus on his local mayoral campaign full time.
It's "no secret" Bernal wants the job, he told the Current. In many ways, he'd be representing the same constituents (Texas House District 123 encompasses city council District 1), just in a different role.
"The issues that we deal with in the state legislature are issues that are very close to my heart, like public ed, health care, predatory lending, and so forth," he said. "As a councilman I saw how those issues directly affected the quality of life of my constituents."
During his three years in city government, Bernal shepherded the city's payday lending ordinance and nondiscrimination ordinance, to name a few.
Bernal will have at least one opponent in his quest for the Texas House. Melissa Aguillon, who runs the public relations and marketing firm Aguillon & Associates, is also eyeing the position. The mother of two and small business owner told the Current that she "knows the issues families face and the challenges of launching and running a business.
"I’m running for state representative to be our community’s voice on important matters such as quality education, good jobs and equal opportunities for all," she said.
Though Bernal and Aguillon have made their intentions perfectly clear, per Texas election law, Gov. Rick Perry must set a date for the special election to fill Villarreal's vacant position. Perry has yet to do so.