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Frank Tejeda: a Candidate Who Sidesteps Stereotypes

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FRANK TEJEDA, a Texas state senator, is in a rather enviable position. Running unopposed for a newly created seat in the United States House of Representatives, he's virtually assured of election next November.

In fact, a member of the Congressional Quarterly staff called to congratulate him on being the first member-elect in the 103rd Congress. Says Mr. Tejeda with a shrug: "We were preparing for opposition. No one showed up."

Tejeda, a Democrat, is running for the 28th District seat, one of three new ones created in Texas to reflect the increased population after the 1990 census. The census gave Texas and seven other states a combined 16 additional seats in the House of Representatives.

Although not all have completed redistricting and candidacy filings, the CQ staff believes Tejeda will remain unique in being the sole candidate in a new district. In fact, they say, it may not have ever happened before in US history.

Despite the cake walk, Tejeda says he intends to campaign to make himself known. His state Senate district was limited to south and east Bexar County, which contains San Antonio. US District 28 embraces nine whole counties and parts of four others stretching from the Alamo city to the Rio Grande.

With no opponents to force him to take positions, Tejeda unabashedly confesses ignorance on major issues and the absence of a legislative agenda. "My message is that I'm a hard worker, I'm a caring and compassionate individual," Tejeda says. "And I will listen. I'm here to serve the people, not to dictate."

The former Marine captain who served in Vietnam says health care, veterans' affairs, public education, and national defense are his top priorities. But, asked to comment on force reductions, Tejeda says: "I don't want to get into specifics because I'm not prepared enough. I haven't been briefed. There's a lot of things that some congressmen and senators are briefed on that perhaps the public is not privy to."

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