Senator Eliot Shapleigh represented El Paso in the Texas Senate for more than fourteen years with passion and purpose. His district which encompassed most of El Paso is a culturally diverse mix of hard working families, small businesses, military veterans 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 1983.
Senator Eliot Shapleigh is as deeply committed to the El Paso community as he is to his family. He is married to the love of his life, Joyce Feinberg, and is the proud father of Zoe and Ben Shapleigh.
When asked, Senator Shapleigh describes himself as a ‘fronterizo’—one from the frontier of the future—born, raised and educated in the bilingual, bicultural, binational US Mexico Borderlands. He has lived and traveled extensively in Mexico, and is a fluent Spanish speaker today.
Senator Shapleigh graduated from Rice University in 1974 and served in the United States Peace Corps in Sierra Leone, West Africa until 1977. He then attended The University of Texas School of Law, graduating in 1981. In 1983, Senator Shapleigh founded his own law firm with two partners and today is the managing partner of the Law Offices of Eliot G. Shapleigh. Senator Shapleigh currently resides in El Paso, Texas.
Senator Shapleigh is 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 issues. As an advocate for El Paso and other border communities, he is also interested in raising per capita income and boosting economic prosperity along the Texas Border.
In January 2011, Senator Shapleigh completed his seventh session as a legislator. During his tenure as a state Senator, he has authored more than 600 bills, with particular focus on education, economic development, infrastructure, technology, veteran, and health care issues. Additionally, he has been integral in helping to found his community’s Medical Center of the Americas, removing a 100 year lead smelter run by ASARCO, boosting graduation rates and new construction at UTEP, directing more dollars to long neglected Border infrastructure and helping prepare Texas for the Department of Defense's periodic reassessment of infrastructure needs, or base realignment and closure (BRAC). Senator Shapleigh was appointed Chair of the Subcommittee on Base Realignment and Closure in 2004. He has served on Finance, Education, Business and Commerce, Border Affairs, Health and Human Resources, Nominations, Transportation and Homeland Security and Veteran’s Affairs/Military Installations Committees.
Senator Shapleigh served as Chair of the Border Legislative Caucus with a leadership style focused on real solutions for the ten state Border region. Among the concepts that he and the BLC initiated during his tenure were judicial and legal reforms, secure manufacturing tax credits, increased use of sustainable solar energy, safe-smart-fast solutions to moving people and product at Border ports and trade corridors, environmental solutions like chipped tires into pavement in Border area tire dumps and basic reforms in forensic science use at Border crime scenes and crime labs.
Today, in addition to legal work, family business and speaking engagements, he works community projects like “You Vote, We Win” and “Jardines, Cocinas y Mercados” in communities from El Paso to Brownsville.