Best known for her landmark bill that guarantees college admission to Texas high school students in the top 10 percent of their graduation classes, Irma Rangel was the first Tejana elected to the Texas House of Representatives.
Rangel began her career participating in workers’ marches in the 1960s and working as a teacher and a principal. After becoming a lawyer, she was assistant district attorney in Corpus Christi, insisting on equal pay before she took the job. She opened her own law practice and got involved in local politics.
In 1975, Chicana members of the Texas Women’s Political Caucus and female farm workers urged Rangel to run for the Legislature. She defeated an opponent supported by the powerful King Ranch and served in the House for more than 25 years. Her legislation aided low-income students and elderly, and provided employment opportunities to mothers on welfare.
In the 1990s, Rangel was elected to the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame.
This month, KUT is partnering with the Ruthe Winegarten Foundation to celebrate Women's History Month. Every day, we'll bring you a short feature spotlighting a historic woman, movement, or group of women in Texas.