Richard Cortez Biography

Personal

Richard F. Cortez was born November 10, 1943 in Mercedes, Texas but grew up in nearby Weslaco.  At the time, Weslaco did not have a hospital.  He first attended elementary school at St. Joan of Arc Catholic School and then attended middle and high school in the Weslaco Independent School District.  Richard was elected president of his sophomore, junior and senior class.  He was a three-year letterman in varsity football and a four-year letterman in varsity baseball.  Richard received the Babe Ruth Sportsmanship Award and the Bobby Lackey Athletic Award as the outstanding senior athlete in 1962.

He was married to his wonderful wife, Elva, for 47 years and together they had four children.  Mrs. Cortez passed in 2014.

His family includes Rick & Ana (Temkin) Cortez, Sandy & Gopinath Chandrahasan, Jay & Susana (Cantu) Cortez, and Laura & Tom Mangelshots.  He has eleven grandchildren: Alexi, Carlos, Eric, Alan, Daniel, Mia, Kailani, Lucas, Evan, Delphine and Troy.

Richard has lived in McAllen for over 35 years and is a member of Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church in McAllen, Texas.

Education

High school diploma, Weslaco High School, 1962

B.B.A., Pan American College, 1970

Professional (Retired)

Certified Public Accountant (CPA) since 1973

Certified Valuation Analyst (CVA) since 2004

Richard started his public accounting career in 1969 while still attending college.  He worked for a local public accounting firm as a junior accountant.  After graduating from college, he accepted a full-time position as a senior staff accountant with the same firm.  Richard’s primary assignments included performing tax services for individuals and businesses and conducting independent audits of small-to-medium-sized companies and governmental entities.  

After receiving his CPA license in 1973, Richard became a partner with other CPAs and continued practicing public accounting.  In 1984, he began providing consulting services, assisting parties in litigation by assessing and determining economic damages.  In 1998, Richard combined his practice with a regional firm, and the newly combined firm was named Burton McCumber and Cortez, L.L.P.  This firm was a full-service public accounting firm providing attest services for publicly traded companies, financial institutions, governmental entities and private companies.  The firm had offices in Brownsville and McAllen, Texas and also in Matamoros and Reynosa, Mexico. The firm provided services to the maquiladora industry in Mexico.  Richard has retired as a partner. He continues to provide consulting services in litigation.  He has been involved in hundreds of cases in federal, state and bankruptcy courts.  Richard has been appointed receiver, special auditor, accountant, and business valuator by various state district courts.

Richard has devoted considerable time for the betterment of the accounting profession.  He has held various positions, including president of the local Rio Grande Valley Chapter of the Texas Society of CPAs.

He has performed business valuations for various industries and companies of all sizes.  

Richard taught a graduate level course in Forensic Accounting at University of Texas-Pan American.

Political Service

In June 2005, Richard Cortez was elected the eighteenth Mayor of the City of McAllen.  He was re-elected for a second four-year term in May of 2009, garnering 82 percent of the popular vote.  Since Richard became mayor, the city continued to create significant assets and accumulated substantial economic reserves.  A $53 million convention center was constructed with no borrowed funds.  A new international bridge was constructed, various city parks were built or improved, the McAllen Miller International Airport was expanded, an Arts District and an Entertainment District were created, a Historical Preservation Ordinance was enacted, a Youth Advisory Council was formed, various programs to benefit youth and senior citizens were established, and the city went “Going Green.”  The city’s fund balance exceeded $225 million, and the tax rate did not increase during his term as mayor. 

Richard hosted Former U.S. President George Bush, Former President Vicente Fox of Mexico and five Mexican state governors in the City of McAllen.

In 2004, before becoming mayor, Richard held the position of Vice Chairman of the McAllen Public Utility Board.  This board is entrusted with the water and sewer services for the City of McAllen.  During his tenure, over $60 million of new infrastructure was completed and services were improved and expanded.  Richard also served on McAllen’s Audit and Investment Committee from 2000-2005.  This three-member committee determines how the city’s liquid assets will be invested.  In addition, the committee oversees the city’s internal auditing department and act as the Auditing Committee with outside independent auditors.

Richard was elected McAllen City Commissioner-District 1 in 2015 and continued to serve until he gave up his seat to run for Hidalgo County Judge.

On January 1, 2019, Richard F. Cortez took office as Hidalgo County Judge.

Civic Service

Richard Cortez has a long history of service to his church.  He has served as a youth minister for eighth graders and as parish council president, as well as financial advisor to the pastor.

Richard is an honorary member of the McAllen Rotary Club.  He served many years on the board of the McAllen Boys’ and Girls’ Club and held the position of president in 1992.

Richard is past president of the McAllen Housing Finance Corporation and served on the Community Development Block Grant Board for many years.  He is a past member of the International Museum of Arts and Science and the University of Texas-Pan American Business Council.

He is the past chairman of the Border Trade Alliance, which is a tri-national trade organization that advocates and supports international trade between the United States, Canada and Mexico.  Richard is currently providing leadership to assist the federal government in securing our border without impeding the legal trade between Mexico and the United States.

Richard is a past board member of the McAllen Economic Development Corporation and the McAllen Chamber of Commerce, having held leadership positions in both organizations.

Richard is the former vice chairman of the Texas Border Coalition (TBC).  TBC is a collective voice of border mayors, county judges, and economic development organizations focused on issues that affect more than 2.1 million people along the Texas-Mexico border.

Awards and Recognition's

Richard Cortez was the first recipient of the Teddy Roosevelt Leadership Award given by the McAllen Chamber of Commerce.

He was the distinguished honoree for the 9th Annual Muscular Dystrophy Association’s Night at the Oscars for his contribution to the organization.

He was also recognized by the Texas House of Representatives for his many civic accomplishments.

Richard was awarded the Distinguished Gold Medal by the governor of the Mexican state of Veracruz for his service in building cultural and business relationships between the State of Veracruz and the City of McAllen.  

His profile appeared in the May/June 2010 issue of Today’s CPA Magazine.

He was presented the 2009-2010 Distinguished Public Service Award by the Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants.

He was recognized as distinguished honoree by the Girls Scouts of America for his civic service.

He was named “Man of the Year” by the McAllen Chamber of Commerce in 2015.

Richard received the Corpus Christi Chapter of the NAACP 2017 Presidential Award.