Raymond L. Telles, 97, El Paso's first Latino elected mayor and a former U.S. ambassador to
Mayor of El Paso from 1957 to 1961, Telles was then appointed ambassador to Costa Rica by
Telles is credited with opening the highest political offices in the Texas border city to other Latinos by running the government effectively during his two terms. As mayor, he pushed the fire and police departments to hire more Latinos.
His election as mayor of a major city was groundbreaking for Latinos in politics nationwide, his biographer, Mario T. Garcia, said in a 2005 interview with the El Paso Times.
"As the Hispanic population of this country continues to grow, Ambassador Telles will surely be recognized as one of the founding fathers of contemporary Latino politics in the United States," said Garcia, a professor of history and Chicano studies at UC Santa Barbara.
Born in El Paso on Sept. 5, 1915, Telles served in
Times staff and wire reports