Campaign links: Maria Luisa Alvarado (D-TX-35)
Maria Luisa Alvarado Congressional Candidate Texas District 35
Biography of Maria Luisa Alvarado from Maria Luisa Alvarado for Congress
Maria Luisa Alvarado was born June 22, 1956 in San Antonio, Texas where she resided until graduating from Memorial High School in 1974. During high school she played clarinet and oboe in the high school band. The year before graduation while at Edgewood High School, Maria decided to join the military. She enlisted for 6 years in the US Air Force and started basic military training on November 11, 1974.
Maria received Air Force specialty training at Chanute AFB, Ill and upon completion was assigned to the Strategic Air Command at McConnell AFB, KS. As an Aircraft Maintenance Specialist at McConnell, she was an assistant crew chief on a KC-135A Stratotanker. In the summer of 1977, Maria was assigned to Castle AFB, CA. Whereas there were 3 female crew chiefs at McConnell, there were none at Castle. Maria became the first female crew chief at Castle of an aircraft, which had just spent 30 days as the “canned bird”. After putting it back together again, the aircraft’s first flight returned with only one minor discrepancy. Before the end of the 6-year enlistment on November 10, 1980, Maria was awarded the of Master Crew Chief badge.
After honorable discharge from active duty, Maria returned to San Antonio to attend college and join the Air National Guard. She was the first female crew chief on the F-4 Phantom at the 149th Fighter Group. Maria cross-trained as a graphics illustrator until a break in service in 1988; the same year she graduated from the University of Texas at San Antonio with a B.S. in Sociology. Maria re-enlisted with the 149th in 1989 and cross-trained as a combat photographer. Before retirement, she was the NCOIC of photography, and last assigned as the First Sergeant for communications flight. Maria retired in October 1997 with the rank of E-7. Military service has been a facet of Maria’s life since she was born; her father was a POW during WWII, seven older brothers, a younger brother and sister served or retired from the military.
However, as a civilian Maria’s professional experience has been more diverse. Her professional pursuits began in 1988 with the National Veterans Outreach Program of the American G.I. Forum. The position was in support of the Women’s Veteran Outreach Program funded for 15 months by the Department of Labor. The program sought to identify women veterans in need of employment and training services to facilitate their transition of military skills to civilian jobs. In the years that ensued, she held research roles on social and health projects at The University of Health Science Center at San Antonio, The University of Texas at San Antonio, The University of Chicago, and The University of Illinois at Chicago, Iowa State University, The University of Memphis, and at The University of Texas at Austin. Maria’s work in the past 3 years has involved a study of relationships between clinic members in south Texas primary care clinics, and work presently in support of a grant to provide services to disabled veterans and their families. The sum of her professional experience informs her understanding of the role of government in the everyday life of Americans.
Maria states, “My belief is that what measure of success I have had in my life is the right of any American to achieve and exceed. My perceived risk to this right led me to political action.” Given her previous emersion in partisan politics in support of a brother running for Congress in 2002, Maria traveled across Texas as a political newcomer for 15 months. In 2006 she won two statewide primary elections to attain the Democratic Party nomination for Lt. Governor of Texas. Texas voters rewarded Maria’s efforts with 37.4% of the vote against an incumbent with millions of dollars in his campaign treasury.