This was my old State Rep. when I was in Texas. Great guy, nice family. Really was saddened to hear about this today.http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/topstory2/3170103
Houston lawmaker killed in wreck
By S.K. BARDWELL
Copyright 2005 Houston Chronicle
Moreno, who was first elected to represent Houston's east side in1998, was traveling on Texas 71 when the wheels of his pickup truck evidently slipped off the road's shoulder, said DPS reports.
Reports indicate Moreno overcorrected to get the truck back on the road, sending it into a center median which caused the truck to flip end-over-end several times.
Moreno died at the scene of the accident.
The House adjourned this morning until Monday in Moreno's memory.
Moreno's passengers, State Rep. Rafael Anchia, D-Dallas, and Monica Pinon, chief of staff for State Rep. Joseph Pickett of El Paso, were treated for injuries at Brackenridge Hospital in Austin. Anchia's injuries were minor and he was released, but Pinon remains hospitalized, officials said.
Anchia suffered an ankle injury and was to return to Dallas today.
Anchia was seated in the front passenger's seat, Pinon in the truck's back seat. All three were wearing seat belts.
The trio were returning to Austin after having attended Thursday night's playoff contest between the Houston Rockets and the Dallas Mavericks in Houston.
"We are in shock this morning," said Texas Speaker of the House Tom Craddick in a written statement.
"Nothing can prepare you for the sudden loss of someone that you see and talk with every day."
A memorial service was scheduled for noon today at the Church of Guadalupe in Austin.
``It's a loss to the Hispanic community and his district, our city and the state,'' said Houston Mayor Pro-Tem Carol Alvarado, a close friend and political ally. ``Joe was such a personable guy that he was able to make good friends with other legislators throughout the state, even with members from the other side of the aisle.''
Craddick said he and his wife spoke with Moreno's parents.
Craddick originally announced this morning that the House would continue with business as scheduled. He changed his mind later, however, after Rep. Senfronia Thompson, D-Houston, said on the House floor that she hoped the House would adjourn for the day out of respect for Moreno.
Gov. Rick Perry issued this statement: "Anita and I are saddened by the loss of a respected member of the Legislature who served his constituents with great dedication and integrity, Rep. Joe Moreno. Our thoughts and prayers are with Joe's family and friends during this difficult time. He will be dearly missed by all who knew him.
"Anita and I also offer our prayers and best wishes for the full and speedy recovery of Rep. Rafael Anchia and Monica Pinon."
Craddick, who has been at Brackenridge Hospital since he heard the news early this morning, said, "Joe was a young man with a bright future who early on distinguished himself in his district and in the House.
Calling it "a discouraging and heartbreaking morning," Craddick went on to say, "We are grateful that Rafael and Monica are okay, but my wife Nadine and I are so grieved for the loss of Joe and for what his family must now face."
Somber House members remembered Moreno this morning: ``He had a heart so big that God put it in a unique package,'' said Rep. Jim Dunnam, D-Waco, who chairs the Democratic caucus in the House.
Moreno, 40, had recently been working with other Democrats to toughen state laws governing air pollution.
Moreno, a Houston native who attended the University of St. Thomas, was Democratic chairman of Harris County Precinct 62 from 1994 to 1998. He worked as a legislative aide to District 143 Rep. Al Luna and ran for that post the first time, unsuccessfully, in 1992, before being elected to it in 1998.
An aide at Moreno's Austin office this morning said no one there could comment yet on the accident. Calls also were not being taken at Luna's home.
Moreno was a former chief of staff for Rep. Jessica Farrar, D-Houston. The two lawmakers were close and worked together on a number of issues, including their efforts this week to strengthen pollution laws affecting their districts.
Farrar was reported to be in seclusion in Houston today with her husband.
Moreno has been involved for many years in the Resurrection Catholic Church, Harris County Tejano Democrats and the League of United Latin American Citizens Council 60, according to his Web page biography. He had also been Harris County Precinct Judge for Precinct 62.
As a member of the Texas Legislature, Moreno was serving on the House Committee on Business and Industry and the House Committee on Juvenile Justice and Family Issues.
He also was chair of the Harris County Delegation, which is made up of 25 state representatives, all of whom represent districts within Harris County. There are 14 Republicans and 11 Democrats in the caucus.
In 1999, Moreno received the outstanding legislator award from the Coalition of Texans with Disabilities. He also was named the 2003 Legislator of the Year from Justice of the Peace and Constables Association.
Moreno, who was serving his fourth term in the Texas House, was a resident of Denver Harbor and also represented Magnolia, Manchester, Jacinto City, Galena Park, and parts of Pasadena and North Shore.
Moreno's seat will remain vacant through the end of the legislative session May 30 and at least until Sept. 10, the next uniform Election Day consistent with the timetable for a special election, according to the Secretary of State's Office.
The governor must declare a vacancy within 20 days of the death of of a legislator and call a new election. That election can be held no sooner than 36 days after the governor calls for it and must take place on a uniform Election Day.
Despite the cancellation of House business today, the wedding of Rep. Mary Denny, R-Aubrey, was conducted as planned in the House chamber, and many members attended. Houston Republican Joe Crabb, a Methodist minister, officiated.
State Rep. Alma Allen, D-Houston, said she would attend the wedding with a heavy heart.
Allen, a freshman legislator, said her office is next-door to Moreno's and that he helped her after she arrived in Austin.
``He was very, very good in his community and he crossed lots of communities,'' said Allen, who had known Moreno for years.