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State Rep Accused Of Using State House Calendar To Campaign

Ten-year state Rep. Chente Quintanilla is leaving his state office to run for county commissioner of Precinct No. 3, and he’s already being accused by opponents of not playing fair.

A complaint, which came from challenger Vince Perez, has to do with a Texas House of Representatives 2012 calendar from Quintanilla’s office, which in addition to being mailed to hundreds of others, ended up in Perez’s East El Paso mailbox last week.

“This isn’t a cheap endeavor to send these things,” said Perez, who was surprised when he received the calendar in the mail for the first time. “Rep. Quintanilla is not my state rep. We’re outside his district. I just found it a little suspect that he’s also running for county commissioner and that he’s mailing these calendars to folks that are inside the county commissioner precinct, but outside his house district. While it doesn’t say vote for him, it’s clearly getting his face out there with folks he doesn’t represent.”

Perez said he brought it to the attention of the Texas Ethics Commission, which told him it’s legal.

ABC-7 asked Quintanilla a number of questions, including who paid for the calendars?

“We pay out of our regular operating account,” Quintanilla said.

He admitted his state office not only used taxpayer money for up to 1,500 calendars, but also the more than $3 postage to mail each of them. So ABC-7 asked him whether the calendar was being used to campaign in any way.

“No, because people love that calendar,” Quintanilla said.

When asked if it is right to send that calendar to people outside his state rep district, Quintanilla replied, “Yes, it’s right because I just don’t represent people in District 75. I represent El Paso.”

ABC-7 then asked Quintanilla if he targeted or added some residents to his database for the calendars who are frequent voters in Precinct No. 3.

“Most likely, you know, I’m not going to say it’s not,” said Quintanilla, who indicated he’s sent the calendars out the past 10 years.

Rudy Loya, another Precinct No. 3 candidate, said he received a calendar from Quintanilla in the mail this week, and although he lives in the State Rep 75 district, like Perez, he has never received one before, and has a problem with Quintanilla using taxpayer money to send it.

Dora Oaxaca, another candidate for Precinct No. 3 county commissioner, agreed, although she has not received a calendar.

“It’s using his authority and power as a state rep to get his name out for another race,” Oaxaca said.

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