State Sen. Eddie Lucio is no friend of public education and neither is the charter-school-backed, scandal-ridden candidate he backs


CONTACT: Rob D’Amico,, 512-627-1343

In response to Senator Eddie Lucio letter to the voters of House District 37: 

Sen. Eddie Lucio grinning in suit and bow tie next to Jeb Bush with gray suite and glasses
Sen. Eddie Lucio (left) with private-school voucher advocate and former Florida governor, Jeb Bush.

We urge the educators, school employees, parents, and all Democratic runoff voters of House District 37 to disregard the pack of lies and distortions promulgated by their lame-duck state senator. Lucio is no friend to public schools and has been a long-time supporter of private school voucher schemes and for-profit charter schools that rob our public school parents and educators of much-needed funding.

Senator Lucio lauds the “real-world experience” of Luis Villarreal Jr., the senator’s hand-picked candidate, who previously worked at SOG International, a staffing and security company partnered with Sunny Glen, a migrant-children shelter with a history of child abuse in Texas. 

Under Luis Villareal’s leadership, and under the less than watchful eye of Senator Lucio, Texas Health and Human Services issued Sunny Glen 108 citations since 2017, including: “restraining a minor on the ground and restraining a child whose behavior was not threatening or harmful; mix ups with prescription medication and failure to refill prescription medication (in one case a minor went without his medication for two weeks); failure to supervise a child who had attempted self harm three times in a 24-hour period; using personal restraints that made it difficult for children to breath, and slapping a child’s leg to correct their behavior.”

When Villarreal became COO at SOG International, the company opened a shelter for unaccompanied migrant children, the Sunny Glen New Day Resiliency Center in Raymondville. U.S. Health and Human Services documents reveal Sunny Glen also has issues with sexual assault and abuse at its facilities, including the New Day Resiliency Center. This is the “real-world experience” cited by Senator Lucio as reason for his endorsement. Luis Villareal caged and endangered children and profited from it; no Democrat can support him. 

Ruben Cortez is a father of four that has dedicated his life in public service to protecting our students, especially the most vulnerable — including immigrant children and those with special needs. Cortez, in his role on the State Board of Education, wrote to the Texas Education Agency raising concerns about charter school applications submitted by Sunny Glen, “It is beyond outrageous that anyone involved with running a child prison camp would think they are qualified to run a school.”

Anyone associated with SOG International, Sunny Glen, and the troubling work of building and running a child prison camp should be disqualified from running for office. Educators and parents put the safety of kids first; Lucio has forgotten this sacred trust with his rambling attack and foolish endorsement of an unqualified hack in Luis Villareal. Villareal, who has taken approximately $127,000 in shadowy donations from PACs supporting private school vouchers and for-profit charter schools, is unfortunately following in the Senator’s footsteps. Texas AFT reiterates its steadfast support for Ruben Cortez, who puts educators, parents, and his community first.