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Eliot Shapleigh Recognized as Public Elected Official of the Year

El Paso State Senator Supports Critical Health and Social Issues for Residents

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) is pleased to name Retired State Senator Eliot Shapleigh its Public Elected Official of the Year.  Shapleigh is a long-term supporter of a wide range of social work issues in Texas.

Senator Eliot Shapleigh represented El Paso for more than ten years with passion and purpose. His district, District 29, which encompasses most of El Paso, is a culturally diverse mix of hard working families, small businesses and young people. As a fifth-generation El Pasoan whose roots in his community trace back to 1847, Senator Shapleigh’s strong connection to his district has inspired creative community-based leadership since 1996.

While in office, Senator Shapleigh authored or sponsored more than 400 bills, with particular focus on education, economic development, infrastructure, technology, veterans, and social and health care issues. He has been dedicated to increasing equity in state funding, ensuring fairness in state taxation, expanding educational opportunities for minority and low-income students and developing community solutions for health, safety and environmental problems.

As an advocate for El Paso and other border communities, Senator Shapleigh was also interested in raising per capita income, boosting economic prosperity along the Texas border, and providing fair and equitable educational funding for all Texas children.

“Senator Shapleigh’s determination to speak out—in the face of great opposition—on behalf of those who lack a voice in politics shows strength and leadership,” says NASW President James J. Kelly, Ph.D., ACSW. His innovative work has improved the lives of countless Texas residents.”

Throughout his service in the Senate, Shapleigh received numerous honors for his work on educational, health, and border issues, on developing innovative technology programs, and for his integrity and passion. National honors include being named a Visionary Technology Innovator by the Center for Digital Government. The Center of Digital Government cited Senator Shapleigh’s work in developing and expanding the Texas Online state portal and for developing a laptop immersion program.  Also, at the national level, he was named Legislator of the Year by the American School Health Association for his commitment to the health of school children.

At the state level, he has been named the Texas Legislator of the Year by the Mexican American Bar Association, the Hispanic Journal, Texas Pharmacy Association, Texas Sierra Club, and the Texas American Association of Retired Persons (AARP). Upon completion of the 78th Legislative Session, he was named the Texas Classroom Advocate of the Year by the Classroom Teachers Association. Additionally, the Child Crisis Centers of Texas presented him with the Texas Advocate for Children Award, and the Texas Equity Center named him a “Champion for School Children”. Other awards include the Texas Advocacy Award from the American Association Cancer Society and the Visionary Award from the Texas Guardianship AssociationHe was named the “Conscience of the Senate” by Texas Monthly magazine.

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The National Association of Social Workers (NASW), in Washington, DC, is the largest membership organization of professional social workers with 145,000 members. It promotes, develops, and protects the practice of social work and social workers. NASW also seeks to enhance the well-being of individuals, families, and communities through its advocacy.