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Lloyd Criss who helped Valley lawmakers abolish “slavery” of farm workers during 1980s, passes away at age 79

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Texas Border Business

Former District Judge Susan Criss of Galveston, who is the Democratic Party nominee in the November 2020 election for Texas Senate, District 11, for decades has been inspired at what her father – longtime and former Rep. Lloyd W. Criss, Jr., D-Galveston – helped accomplish with a series of major state laws he helped pass in the 1980s that she says “freed farm workers in Texas from slavery.”

Lloyd Criss, Jr., who was chairman of the powerful House Committee on Labor and Employment Relations, worked closely in the House of Representatives with the Mexican American Legislative Caucus, especially Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, then a state representative, and Rep. Alex Moreno, Jr., D-Edinburg, to pass historic legislation to protect tens of thousands of Texas farm workers from economic exploitation, health hazards, stoop labor, and even poisoning.

The longtime and former state representative from East Texas passed away following a brief illness on Sunday, May 10, 2020 in Texas City.

“It is hard to believe, but it is true – farm workers, mostly Mexican Americans, were denied the basic protections that everyone else had back then because they had no political power, no one to fight for them,” said Susan Criss, a former longtime district judge of the 212th District Court in Galveston County.

Her comments about her father came in October 2007, when she was seeking the Texas Democratic Party nomination for Texas Supreme Court.

“It is astonishing to realize that for all practical purposes, slavery still existed in Texas as late as the 1980s,” Susan Criss said. “I am so proud that my father was able to play a key role in helping bring justice to thousands of our fellow Texans.”

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Susan Criss provided more details of the hours leading to her father’s death in an interview with Angela Wilson of the Daily News of Galveston, published on Monday, May 11, 2020.

“The passing of my father was extremely unexpected,” Susan Criss said. “He woke up Sunday in the hospital and asked for the doctors’ and nurses’ names because he wanted to send them thank-you cards. The staff was more than helpful, and we appreciate them so much.”

In the Daily News article, Susan Criss spoke of her father’s legacy in the Texas Legislature and on behalf of working families throughout Texas.

“My dad sponsored and passed more than 100 pieces of legislation and was a member of a lot of committees. He was so passionate about helping people who couldn’t fight for themselves,” she reflected. “But his crowning moment was when he helped to get a bill passed that got benefits for migrant farmers. He fought so hard for that one because his mother was one in California. He always said that was his best achievement in the Legislature.”

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