Republican Congressman Will Hurd, a former undercover agent with the CIA, represents more land along the border with Mexico than any other member of Congress. He represents Texas’s 23rd district, which is made up of more than 800 miles of border between El Paso and San Antonio.
Rep. Hurd is currently the only African-American Republican member of the House of Representatives. His father is black and his mother is white.
On August 1, 2019, Rep. Hurd announced that he would not seek re-election in 2020 “in order to pursue opportunities outside the halls of Congress to solve problems at the nexus between technology and national security.” He added in his statement, “I’ve taken a conservative message to places that don’t often hear it. I’m going to say involved in politics to help make sure the Republican Party looks like America.”
Here’s what you need to know about Rep. Hurd’s family.
1. Will Hurd Wrote That His Father, Robert, Faced Harsh Insults as He Performed His Job as a Salesman in Dallas in the 1950s
Rep. Will Hurd praised his father in an op-ed for USA Today that published January 20, 2019. He explained that his father, Robert, was one of few African-American salesmen in the Dallas area in the 1950s. He went by the nickname “Buddy.”
At the time, Robert Hurd worked for the American Tobacco Company. Part of his job was to go around to stores such as gas station and sell Lucky Strike cigarettes. Rep. Hurd said that his father maintained a positive attitude everywhere he went, even though he was aware he would likely hear racist remarks from store clerks.
Rep. Hurd wrote in the piece, “My dad persevered and made the sale more times than not. Growing up he would tell my brother, sister and me that by the end of the exchange with these attendants, he would be shaking hands and asked to come back. He always believed in himself and taught my siblings and me to do the same.”
2. Mary Alice & Robert Hurt Met in Los Angeles & Eloped in Reno, Nevada
Mary Alice Hurd grew up in Indiana. According to her Facebook page, she graduated from Alexandria-Monroe High School.
But she was working in southern California when she met her husband, Robert. Rep. Hurd told online magazine Ozy that his parents met through their respective jobs while both were working in the Los Angeles area.
Mary Alice was a buyer for a department store and Robert sold textiles. They got married in Reno, Nevada.
3. Will Hurd Says His Parents Faced Discrimination When They First Tried to Buy a Home in San Antonio
Robert Hurd grew up in east Texas, his son told CSPAN in 2015. Robert and Mary Alice moved to San Antonio in the 1970s because of a job transfer.
Rep. Hurd told CSPAN that his parents faced discrimination when they relocated to Texas. It took a full year before they were able to purchase a home. He told online magazine Ozy that when Mary Alice first visited San Antonio, real estate agents were friendly to her. “But on the weekends, when she returned with her black husband, the house had suddenly fallen off the market.”
They finally managed to buy a home when Will was a baby. (He was born in 1977). They have remained in the house, in northwest San Antonio, for more than four decades.
In a Politico profile on Rep. Hurd in 2017, he said the family had never been big into politics. Robert “mischievously” told the reporter that he had been a Republican “since Lincoln freed us.” But it was not a topic discussed at the dinner table in the Hurd household.
4. Will Hurd Has an Older Brother & Sister
Rep. Will Hurd was the baby of his family. His older brother Chuck followed their father’s footsteps and pursued a sales career. According to his Facebook page, Chuck went to Texas Tech University and works at Grande Communications.
In the 2017 Politico profile referenced above, Chuck commented on how the family had been surprised when Will decided to leave the CIA and run for elected office. “He went from dealing with one set of terrorists and thieves to dealing with another set of terrorists and thieves.”
The middle sibling is Liz Hurd-Parks. Both Chuck and Liz volunteered for their younger brother’s congressional campaign.
5. Will Hurd is a Proud Uncle & Loves to Share Photos of His Nieces & Nephew
Rep. Will Hurd is not married and does not have children of his own. But he loves to dote on his nieces and nephews and share photos of them to Instagram.
In May of 2018, he shared a photo of his niece Kayla on her graduation from the University of Texas at San Antonio, along with a photo of her as a young child.
Kayla’s brother, Jacob, is headed to Baylor University to play football. His mother shared a photo from signing day in December of 2018.
Chuck Hurd and his wife Ruth Anne welcomed twin girls in 2016, named Naomi Quinlan and Madolyn Hope.