By AMANDA KIMBLE
DUBLIN (June 17, 2016) – The oldest child of five boys born to Francisco and Esther Talamantes, Tino Talamantes is an American citizen. He was born in McAllen and by the time he was 10 years old, Talamantes was doing things most American children will never experience.
He was working alongside his father – hard, physical labor. As migrant workers, the duo traveled between Indiana and Texas and eventually found work at a local dairy in the Chalk Mountain area.
“I started learning how to work, what my dad did, at an early age,” Talamantes said. “When you see your family struggling, that’s what you do – whatever you can to help out.”
By the time he was about 11 years old, Talamantes and his father had saved enough money to bring his mother to Erath County. Once Esther got here, the family decided it was time for her oldest son to focus on his education.
“I didn’t know much English,” Talamantes said, adding after birth, he was raised in Mexico for about seven years before returning to the United States to help the family make ends meet.
As a young boy, he learned only the basics of English from his uncle, but his late start in public school made succeeding at his studies difficult. Still, he continued to work toward the goal of obtaining his high school diploma and graduated from Erath Excels Academy, now known as Huston Academy, at the age of 18.
Ten years later, the 28-year-old he has lived in Dublin for about three years. And he is still doing things most men his age never will. He works for a local contractor while at the same time operating his own lawn care and home improvement businesses and was recently elected to Dublin City Council.
Talamantes is married. He and his wife Sharlene are eagerly anticipating the birth of their first child – a baby girl – who is due in mid-July.
“It took me a while to get here,” he said.
As a child, a future as an elected official may not have been his long-term goal, but Talamantes said in 2016 it just made sense.
During the 2013 census, Dublin was home to less than 3,700 residents, about 35 percent of them Hispanic. Dublin voters have elected Latino council members in the past, and Talamantes is proud to be among them – serving as a voice for all of the city’s citizens.
But Talamantes said he also made a bid for office to prove that rhetoric coming from one side of the current presidential election is unfair – he wants to see an end to such discrimination and break down stereotypes.
Donald Trump, Republican front runner in the race for United States president, has attributed a great amount of crime, workforce-related problems, poverty and other issues to illegal immigrants coming into the United States.
Talamantes helped his parents, who migrated from Reynosa is a border city in the northern part of Tamaulipas, Mexico, obtain workers’ permits when he was 22 years old. He admits his mother and father were at one point in the country illegally, but also said not everyone seeking a piece of the American dream is a criminal.
“We are not all the same,” he said. “Everything I have and everything I have done, I have earned. I have paid my dues, I pay my taxes and I follow the laws of the United States.”
Talamantes said whether you’re from Mexico, the United States or elsewhere, everyone living here has something in common.
“The world is our house – wall of us,” he said. “We have to be able to work together as one family. It takes someone to build the house you live in and work on your dairies. I know from experience that not everyone wants or can handle that type of work. The world will not function if we don’t work together.”
In doing his part, Talamantes said he wants to focus on making a difference close to home. He wants to see continued progress with ongoing road improvements – making city streets safe for residents and welcoming for visitors as well.
He also hopes to see simple steps taken change how outsiders see the city.
“I would like to see more lights put up,” he said. “I want people to drive by and see Dublin, it should shine.”
The spotlight could also help with other issues – like crime.
“I have been robbed a couple of times myself and my neighbors call regularly to tell me we need more lights, that lights would help,” Talamantes said.
Along those lines, he would like to see an active Crime Stopper program and citizens working together to keep the city safe.
“My phone keeps ringing and hear what they are saying,” Talamantes said. “I want to be the voice for those people who cannot speak for themselves. This is my town and my home, I want it to be a nice area for my family and everyone else to live.”