Texas Governor Rick Perry has ordered the that flags on state property be lowered to half-staff to honor the life of Senator Mario V. Gallegos Jr., who died today at Methodist Hospital from complications associated with a 2007 liver transplant.
"Whether serving as a firefighter, championing his beloved University of Houston or representing the interests of his constituents in the Texas Legislature, Senator Gallegos led a life of serving the public," Perry said. "Anita and I send our condolences and prayers to his family and friends during this difficult time."
Houston Mayor Annise Parker issued a statement.
“I extend condolences to the family of Texas State Senator Mario Gallegos and offer my support to the residents of his district,” Parker said. “Senator Gallegos had a long and dedicated record of service to the people of Houston, both as a firefighter and long-time member of the Texas legislature.”
State Representative Carol Alvarado issued a statement.
"Today’s unbearable news creates an eternal void in the hearts of anyone who had the pleasure of knowing Mario Gallegos," Alvarado said. "Mario was more than just my Senator – he was my friend, my mentor, and a member of my extended family – his presence in all our lives will be painfully missed. I’ll always smile when I remember our time together, his infectious laughter, and our long conversations about shared passions – our families, Milby High School, the East End, public service, and of course politics."
Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia issued a statement.
“The call to public service reached Mario Gallegos early in his life," Garcia said. "His first response was to become a first responder – with the Houston Fire Department. He left us as a longtime state senator, a position he used in his gritty, impassioned way to help his fellow residents of Harris County. And he left us too early, creating a void in public advocacy for all of the public, especially those in underserved communities. I join the chorus of condolences to his loving family as we mourn a brother, a servant, a leader and a fighter.”
Congressman Gene Green issued a statement.
"Senator Gallegos and I served in the State Legislature together and our respective districts substantially overlapped with Hispanic majority population. We worked together on many issues in the last 20-plus years. His service to our community will be missed. Helen and I pray for his family and our community in this time of loss."
Lone Star Project Director Matt Angle issued a statement.
"Words like courage, character and integrity are used frequently in politics, but more as a way to persuade and impress rather than to describe and inform. In my personal view, and I know in the view of many, many others who knew him better than me, these words apply literally to the late Senator Mario Gallegos, who passed away yesterday."
Under the governor’s order, flags will be lowered from Wednesday, October 17, through Friday, October 19. Flags will also be lowered on the day of the senator’s interment. Flags in Senate District 6 and the Houston and Harris County area will be down until interment.