For Francisco “Quico” Conseco ’68, a heartfelt need to give back to his community is what drove him to seek a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. He served House District 23 of Texas for one term from 2011-2013.
He didn’t actively enter the political world until later in life. But that sense of giving back developed at Culver, where he spent five summers as a camper and four years as a cadet, was driving his desire to serve.
“It doesn’t come from an egocentric script,” he said. “It’s more of an altruism. As you look toward the future and you see the wall, you think about the nation you love and cherish. That’s what drives you.”
An attorney and banker by trade, Canseco said he started to seriously consider a political career around the age of 55.
“We’re all shareholders” in the country, he said. “We all have the obligation to serve others.” It was that attitude and the lessons he learned from Culver instructors, counselors, and military mentors like Col. W.J. MacQuillan, Kemp Moore, and Bob Hartman that echoed in his memory.
“The things you learn at Culver during your formative years, you think about in your later years,” he said. “It’s a lot of what Culver does. You have a sense of pride in yourself and your leadership skills. It’s been always there. It’s made us who we are.
Then – all of a sudden – when you have done for yourself, you think about what have you done for your area. How can I use my leadership skills to make it better
Conseco’s district stretched from San Antonio to El Paso and included 800 miles along the Mexican border. He ran for representative twice before being elected on his third attempt. He wanted to serve the 700,000 to 750,000 people in his district in the best way possible, Canseco said, but he also realized that he was in Washington to work for all the people.
It’s not about drawing a line in the sand geographically, he said. He worked well with Indiana representatives Todd Rokita (who attended Specialty Camp in 1983) and (now Indiana governor) Mike Pence “because of the number of years I spent in Indiana.” He also had an affinity for Missouri because of the time he spent there. And he also worked for cities like Dallas, Fort Worth, and Houston in Texas.
Again, Culver played a role with that. The Veterans Day and Memorial Day ceremonies and weekly chapel services helped to solidify for Conseco what his role should be later in life.
“Culver celebrates who we are as Americans,” he said. “It helps you to understand what your duty is – to yourself, your family, and your nation. You come away with that sense of spirit.”