The Frank M. Tejeda Congressional Leadership Award is presented each year by the MCRA to a member of the Unites States Congress who demonstrates the qualities of leadership, self-sacrifice to one’s country and an unwavering commitment to a strong national defense so exemplified by Congressman Frank Tejeda.
Frank Tejeda was born in San Antonio, Texas on 2 October 1945. Growing up poor in the slums of San Antonio, he was an indifferent student, involved with gangs and heading nowhere, eventually he dropped out of high school and at the age of 17 he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps, which began to turn his life around. Following completion of boot camp, he completed MOS qualification training and deployed to combat operations in Vietnam. As a Sergeant he received the Silver Star, Bronze Star, Purple Heart and due to his leadership, a battlefield commission to Second Lieutenant.
Following his service in Vietnam he continued to serve in the Marine Corps Reserve and attended Saint Mary’s University in San Antonio graduating in 1970. In 1974, he received his juris doctor degree from the University of California and was admitted to the bar.
Two years later he was elected to the Texas House of Representatives, serving from 1976-1987 and in the Texas Senate from 1987-1993. While working in the Texas House and Senate, Frank received an advanced degree in Public Administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University and an LLM from the Yale University School of Law.
In 1992, Frank Tejeda was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives to represent the Texas’ 28th District receiving 87% of the vote. While in Congress, he continued to champion support to Reserve and Veterans issues as he had earlier in the Texas legislature. Elected to three terms, he served on the Armed Services and Veterans Affairs Committee. Congressman Tejeda brought to Congress an intense interest in military and veteran’s affairs, mindful both of his Marine Corps experience and his district’s role as a center military installations and defense industries. During his tenure in the House of Representatives, he championed a strong national defense as well as the protection and expansion of veteran’s benefits.
Frank Tejeda died of brain cancer on January 30, 1997. At the time of his death, he reached the rank of Major in the Marine Corps Reserve. The MCRA membership felt it was appropriate to name the MCRA Congressional Leadership Award in his honor.