The Romero family is originally from the state of Zacatecas in Mexico. Representative Romero's father, Ramon Romero, Sr., came to this country as a migrant farm worker in the mid 1960's. In 1969, with wife Maria de Refugio and their two children, Alejandra and Juan, they moved to the Northside of Fort Worth. They finally settled on Avenue D in the Polytechnic area of Fort Worth in 1973 where Ramon Romero Jr. was born, along with Jose and Cathy. Today the family home is still on Avenue D and all of the children remain in Tarrant County.
At a very young age, Representative Romero was always looking for odd jobs to make his own spending money, given that there wasn’t much to go around in a family of 10. Later he would wash cars on East Rosedale, and worked his first real job at Ashburn's Ice Cream Parlor. In high school, he discovered his talents in telemarketing while working for health and life insurance agents setting appointments.
Representative Romero, not much different than his parents, started his family at a young age having twins, Lindsay and Lauren, then Giovanni, all before graduating high school. While he did attend Tarrant County College, he had mouths to feed and decided to enter the workforce. He then left college, attained his irrigation license and started his first business. A year later he started his pool business, A-Fast Tile & Coping. By age 25, A-Fast had over 60 employees, many who were from his neighborhood and today, Representative Romero still owns A-Fast Tile & Coping and also owns Stone Mason Supply, along with the Ramon Romero Corporation.
In the mid 90’s Representative Romero helped form the first neighborhood association in his mother’s neighborhood, just blocks from his own home. He worked with the Fort Worth Independent School District and City of Fort Worth Housing Department staff to ensure neighbors would be properly compensated for their homes when the district built baseball fields at Poly High School. This involvement is what sparked his passion for public service.
It was this ability to work with city officials and his community that earned a city appointment by then Councilman, Ralph McCloud. He later became Chair of the Planning Commission under Councilwoman Kathleen Hicks. Representative Romero was also a member of the Zoning Commission, the Air Quality Task Force Committee, the Golf Advisory Committee and various master plan committees for his area parks. He won the 2014 Democratic Primary for House District 90 in Fort Worth against an 18-year incumbent, becoming the first Hispanic State Representative in Tarrant County history.
During his first term as State Representative for House District 90, Romero was awarded 'Democrat Freshman of the Year' after a highly successful legislative session. He was appointed to the Committee on County Affairs and the Committee on Business & Industry by Speaker Joe Straus, and was a champion in fighting for important legislation cracking down on human trafficking, raising standards for county jails, and advocating for mental health awareness and care.
Representative Romero is a well-respected father, businessman, and community leader who believes that success is measured not by how much you have received, but by how much you have given.
During the final days in the 84th legislative session, it was extremely humbling and an honor to receive the 'House Freshman of the Year' award. It is gratifying to know that all of my hard work this session was noticed as I passionately fought to better our community in House District 90.
In the 84th Legislative Session, I passed a bill aimed at cleaning up our community by targeting the illegal and immoral practice of bar owners predatorily using 'bar girls' or 'ficheras', who are employed by the bar to solicit drinks to patrons at triple or quadruple the ordinary price. Many times these women are coerced into this practice and are victims of human trafficking. This new law has given the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) the option of suspending or terminating the license of an establishment if engaged in this practice, rather than punishing the woman and letting the bar owner escape without consequence. I am happy to report this law has been used by TABC as a means to shut down these types of bars that have no place in Texas.
When talking to constituents across Fort Worth, a theme I have heard repeatedly is that we need more jobs and investment in our community, and I could not agree more! In fact, I filed a bill last session that would encourage businesses to locate and invest in areas that need it most. My legislation would allow businesses willing to locate in designated areas to use their franchise tax dollars to send employees for additional training or education - empowering business owners to reinvest in their workforce and the community and encouraging these businesses to locate in the neighborhoods that need jobs and economic stimulation. I plan on filing this legislation again next session with a few changes, and hope to get it passed this time around!
Studies have shown that in order to best serve a community, the mental health workforce diversity should closely mirror that of the population, especially when language barriers are present. This prompted my staff and me to begin searching for ways to encourage diversity in the Texas' mental health workforce. The Texas Legislature recently passed legislation providing for tuition reimbursement for mental health professionals if they practice in underserved rural areas. That same strategy could be applied to increase diversity by providing partial or complete loan reimbursement to mental health professionals who attain a certification in mental health services for the Spanish-speaking population and practice in those underserved communities. This is just one piece of an overall effort I plan to put forward in the 85th Legislative Session with the hopes of reenergizing the conversation on mental health.