Tell the truth. Return what you borrow. History matters. Respect your fiduciary duties, and when you know you are right, be fearless.
I grew up often at one end of a table saw helping my father, who taught me these values and to build things. He also taught me to trust the bubble of a level, to use leverage, and to fasten things well. My mother, among so many other things, taught me to be sensitive to the plight of others, and to help people.
MY FAMILY / MI FAMILIA
My family has been in Texas for five recorded generations. McAllen, Texas is named for my great-great-grandfather. Alfred Barreda “Nene” McAllen, my father, was drafted into the Army during World War II. His mother died young while he was away, and upon returning home, the G.I. Bill allowed him to go to college in Denton at North Texas State College, now the University of North Texas, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education. He went home to Brownsville and began teaching, his passion.
It was while teaching at Cummings Junior High that he met a fellow teacher, Sybil Baytes, my mother. She graduated from Texas State College for Women in Denton, now known as Texas Woman’s University, when she was 18 years old. My parents married and settled in Houston, and worked for decades as proud educators for the Houston Independent School District. My father went on to law school, and my mother earned a master’s degree from Texas Southern University. Immensely intelligent, creative and well read, they taught me to leave things better than I found them.
MY STORY / MI HISTORIA
Born and raised in Houston, I benefitted from quality public schools. I started work early in life, and after graduation, I enrolled at The University of Houston Downtown, where I won academic and leadership scholarships, and was elected president of the student government.
My father urged me to become a lawyer, so despite my reservations, I graduated with a degree in Business and enrolled at the University of Houston Law Center, completing the first year. I turned down an offer to have my law school paid for, including a position with the prestigious O’Quinn & Laminack Law Firm because my heart told me that, though I could practice law, my friends would make better lawyers and my gift to the world lie someplace else. That year as well as the experience of clerking for the distinguished trial lawyer, Paul D. Clote, has proven immensely valuable to me.
I joined Progressive Insurance Corporation and moved up the ranks of claims adjusting before deciding to pursue a lifelong interest in design and architecture. In 2011, I graduated from The University of Texas School of Architecture at Austin with a professional Master of Architecture degree, then moved to the Rio Grande Valley to give back to my father’s hometown, Brownsville, Texas. I worked for the City of Brownsville in planning and historic preservation while serving on the Cameron County Crime Stoppers Board, and in my spare time restoring two single-family historic homes.
I met Lisa Massey who had moved from Austin to Port Isabel. We dated a few months and then I asked her to marry me. We spent our first year living in a 1930’s 450-sq. ft. bungalow in downtown Brownsville. My career has since taken us to the City of Denton, in North Texas, where I work as the preservation officer and Lisa works at a local hospital as an occupational therapist.
In 2016, I joined the board of Preservation Texas, the statewide organization dedicated to advocating for the historic resources of Texas. I would love nothing more than to spend my time designing, building, and planning; however, I am often reminded of the saying “A ship in a harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are for.” It’s not in me to live in the harbor or the sidelines. I have entered the race for Texas Railroad Commissioner because the wolves have been guarding the hen house for far too long.
Commissioners of the Texas Railroad Commission are protecting industry, not the public. Let’s change that.