Richard Moya, first Mexican-American on Travis Co. Commissioners’ Court, dies

Richard Moya (Courtesy/Austin History Center)
Richard Moya (Courtesy/Austin History Center)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Richard Moya, the first Mexican-American elected to the Travis County Commissioners’ Court, has died.

Judge Sarah Eckhardt said his death is a huge loss for the community and public servants in the county. “All of Travis County is richer for his service in office and in his private capacity,” she said.

Born in Austin in 1932, Moya served as a county commissioner from 1970 to 1986, according to a 2013 interview with the University of Texas at Arlington’s Center for Mexican American Studies.

Moya served as deputy chief of staff for Gov. Ann Richards from 1991 to 1995. Moya was a Sergeant First Class in the U.S. Army in Korea, and helped form the Mexican American Democrats of Texas.

In the interview, Moya says he was particularly proud of his time as National Director of Youth Activities for LULAC — the League of United Latin American Citizens. A graduate of Austin High School, Moya reflected in the interview on his mother’s battle for his admission into the “Anglo” school and the racial segregation they faced.

As commissioner, Moya pointed to his success at increasing minority hiring through Affirmative Action. “He encouraged and amplified the voices of Travis County who too often have been left out of our community’s prosperity,” Judge Eckhardt said.

She says his legacy will live on through Richard Moya Park in southeast Austin. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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