Dora Flores Olivo became one of the few Latinas elected to the Texas Legislature in 1997 and remains a fierce advocate of Latino voting rights and education.
Olivo was born March 6, 1943, in Sinton, Texas, 129 miles southeast of San Antonio. She was the third of eight children born to Isidro Ramirez Flores and Luz Garcia Flores.
She attended Texas A&I University in Kingsville (now Texas A&M University-Kingsville) and earned a bachelor's degree in elementary education in 1966. After finishing college, she taught at Zavala Elementary in Corpus Christi.
On May 31, 1969, Olivo married Victor M. Olivo Jr. They went on to have two children, Victor III and Geraldo.
In 1975, she completed a master's in early childhood education at the University of Houston. There, she attended conferences where she learned more about her Mexican roots and became committed to improving conditions for her community.
Olivo and her husband began volunteering for the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project under Willie Velasquez. The goal was to ensure equal opportunity for everyone casting a ballot.
Olivo earned her law degree from the University of Houston in 1981 and later decided to run for office. She ran as a Democrat for the state Legislature in 1996 and took office in 1997, representing House District 27 in Fort Bend County.
Olivo lost a re-election bid in 2010, and failed in a 2012 effort to return to the Legislature.
However, she continues to advocate for education by working on the Fort Bend County P16 Regional Council, which promotes lifelong learning and helps students from the region meet proficiency levels on test scores.
"I think we haven’t fully taken our place in society," Olivo said. "But thank God there [are] people out there that are moving and doing work. There’s hope. ”