NPR for North Texas
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Carlos Cascos, former Texas secretary of state and political leader in Rio Grande Valley, dies at 71

Carlos Cascos gave his inaugural speech as Texas secretary of state on March 7, 2015. He died June 26.
Bob Daemmrich
The Texas Tribune
Carlos Cascos gave his inaugural speech as Texas secretary of state on March 7, 2015. He died June 26.

Carlos Cascos, a former Texas secretary of state and political juggernaut in the Rio Grande Valley, died Wednesday. He was 71.

His death was confirmed by his office Thursday morning.

Cascos, who served as the 110th Secretary of State under Gov. Greg Abbott from 2015 to 2017, died of cardiac arrest, according to a local report, prompting the South Texas community to mourn the loss of a longtime public servant.

Before serving as secretary of state, Cascos, a certified public accountant, had held elected office for several years.

Cascos was elected Cameron County Judge in 2006 and reelected in 2010 and 2014. He also served on the Texas Public Safety Commission and as a Cameron County commissioner from 1991 through 2002.

Former state Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr., D-Brownsville, said he was proud to confirm Cascos to represent the Rio Grande Valley at a statewide level.

Though Cascos started out his political career in the Valley as a Democrat, he switched over to the Republican by the time of his nomination to be secretary of state in 2014.

Despite serving in opposing parties, Lucio said they always found a way to work together.

"He reached across party lines which I respected him for and I admired that of him," Lucio said.

"My heartfelt sympathy to his family," Lucio added. "I know that Carlos was proud of his service to the community and rightfully so."

In neighboring Hidalgo County, Judge Richard F. Cortez said he was shocked and saddened by the news of Cascos' passing.

“As a former Cameron County Judge, a former Cameron County Commissioner and a former Texas Secretary of State, Carlos embodied public service and served faithfully not only the people of Cameron County, but the Rio Grande Valley and the State of Texas as well," Cortez said in a statement.

Cascos is survived by his wife, Aurora Candida G. Cascos, and their two daughters.

He was born in Mexico, immigrating to the U.S. as a child. He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin.