Every so often, County Progress asks our distinguished Judges and Commissioners to allow us a glimpse into their public lives, giving us a fresh appreciation for the myriad of roles and responsibilities they shoulder every day. Our thanks to Webb County Commissioner Rosaura “Wawi” Tijerina for taking the time to visit with us.
YOUR HISTORY: I am a native Laredoan, educated in the Laredo public school system. I graduated from Martin High School in 1976. Despite coming from humble beginnings, I refused to let go of my dream to go to college. I attended Laredo Junior College, where I obtained an Associate of Arts degree in 1978. I obtained a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice in 1979 from Southwest Texas State University, after which I returned to Laredo to pursue my master’s degree from Laredo State University. In 1982, I began my studies at Texas Southern University Thurgood Marshall School of Law and obtained my Doctor of Jurisprudence in May of 1985. After my admission to the State Bar of Texas, I began practicing law and have been doing so for approximately 35 years. I am a firm believer that education is the key that opens all doors in life. I decided to work as a professor of criminal justice at Laredo Community College teaching academics and at the Regional Police Academy from 1989-1998. I have had the privilege of teaching many who are now Laredo’s finest police officers and federal agents.
In 1998, I was elected as judge for the Municipal Court of the City of Laredo, where I served until 2002. Through my concern for the citizens of Laredo and my determination, I convinced the city council of the need for a new municipal court that could comfortably accommodate our citizens.
In 2007, I won my election and was later sworn in as Webb County Commissioner for Precinct 2. Helping others is my passion, and if I can make a difference in a person’s life, that means the world to me. As Commissioner for Precinct 2, which encompasses the largest rural areas of Webb County including the Quad City areas of Oilton and Bruni, I am committed to improving the quality of life and economic growth for the citizens of not only Precinct 2, but all of Webb County as a whole. During my tenure, history was made by building the first public health facility in Bruni. I am thankful to my colleagues on our Commissioners Court for their support in making this much-needed building a reality for Precinct 2. I decided to run again, and I was re-elected. In 2022, I ran unopposed for the first time in my career. I began serving my fifth consecutive term on Jan. 1, 2023, as Webb County Commissioner for Precinct 2, making me the longest-sitting Commissioner in the history of Webb County. I have been part of numerous professional and community organizations including the American Bar Association, Texas Bar Association, Webb County Bar Association, Webb County Women’s Bar Association (founder), Women’s City Club, United Way, Delta Kappa Gamma, Texas Community College Teachers Association, Community College Criminal Justice Educators of Texas, American Association of University Women, and the Laredo Gateway Rotary Club. I have served on the advisory boards of Crime Stoppers, S.C.A.N. (Stop Child Abuse and Neglect), Children’s Advocacy Center, Regional Police Academy, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, South Texas Workforce Development Board, Casa Misericordia Shelter for Battered Women, and Border Region Behavioral Health Center. I am a graduate of Leadership Laredo (1995) and Leadership Texas (2001).
I am married to Omar Tijerina; together we have one son, Omar Tijerina Jr., and our daughter by marriage, Jamie. We also have two beautiful grandchildren, Eliana Sophia and Omar Richard.
IS IT WHAT YOU EXPECTED? It is what I expected but on a different scale. Having previously served as a municipal judge in the city of Laredo for eight years, my transition into the role of Commissioner included a wealth of experience and knowledge on a larger scale of governance. I was on the campaign trail in 2006 and took office in January of 2007. During my campaign in 2006, I was able to speak to the residents of Precinct 2 and caught a glimpse of all the different needs of our community. Over the years, I have played a pivotal role in shaping policies, managing resources, and fostering growth in Webb County.
TYPICAL DAY: I am faced with different issues every day from simple calls about the trash not being picked up to damaged roads that don’t let the school buses into the colonias to pick up the children for school. I meet with different department staff members to plan and strategize on current and future projects that are coming not only within my precinct but all of Webb County.
BIGGEST CHALLENGE: I think due to the times we are living in, the answer is obvious. The pandemic and COVID-19 have been and continue to be the greatest challenge to date. It has taken countless lives from us and put a hold on our lives that we were not used to; I think it will be a few more years for us to get back to some type of normalcy. This challenge has come with so many different problems, not only health wise, but also with mental, emotional, and financial hardships.
Another challenge is the water availability and roads in our rural areas, which are some of my greatest concerns. In the 17 years I have been in office, the difference is notable in every aspect. I have worked diligently to better the roads, have made water accessible to many people, and have assisted our community through the community centers where we provide a variety of services. My journey as a Webb County Commissioner has been a testament to my dedication and commitment to public service.
FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOUR JOB? My greatest satisfaction in these last 17 years has been knowing that I have made a positive and sometimes life-changing and life-saving difference in so many people’s lives. Making history in Webb County by bringing the water lines to families off Highway 359 up to Pueblo Nuevo as well as establishing the first-ever public health facility in Bruni have given me a great sense of pride. I have worked so hard and will continue to do so as long as God gives me strength to fight hard for my beloved community.