Luana Buckner

Term Expires December 2022

Luana Buckner has likened her history with the EAA to “a tall Texas tale.” Elected to the inaugural board of directors in 1996, the Medina County resident was originally a party in a lawsuit that challenged the creation of the EAA. When the Texas Supreme Court ruled the EAA Act was constitutional, her motto became, ‘If you can’t beat’em, join’em!”

Buckner grew up in a ranching family in Zavala County. Her parents bred registered Black Brangus cattle. As a teenager, she was asked to help brand livestock and administer medication.

After graduating from nearby Uvalde High School, Buckner attended Southwest Texas Junior College. As a reporter, then editor, for the Castroville News Bulletin, Buckner wrote extensively about water-related issues, including the Applewhite Reservoir, a controversial project on the Medina River first rejected by voters in 1991.

In 1992, Buckner became the first general manager of the Medina County Groundwater Conservation District and the first woman general manager of a conservation district in Texas. She retired from the position in 2012.

After the initial two-year EAA board term, Buckner has been re-elected for six consecutive four-year terms, beginning in 1998.  As chair, Buckner presides over the board’s Executive Committee.

Of her long-time service Luana shares the following thought: “I think some people thought I would just be representing the irrigators and the rural communities, and I think they’ve seen that I can see the big picture.”

A real estate investor and a consultant in groundwater issues and natural resource management, Buckner currently lives outside of Castroville.

Enrique Valdivia

Term Expires December 2022

A practicing attorney, Enrique Valdivia has a long track record of environmental activism surrounding water issues.

First elected to the EAA board in 2006, he was a founding member of San Antonio non-profits Aquifer Guardians in Urban Areas and the Greater Edwards Aquifer Alliance. He was also involved in a grassroots effort to block a proposed PGA Village development and has led other challenges to development over the aquifer.

A Midwest native, Valdivia grew up playing soccer in Madison, Wisconsin. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy from Carleton College in 1980. He went on to earn a juris doctorate degree from the University of Wisconsin. Shortly after graduating, Valdivia moved to Texas to work in immigration law for a non-profit based in Harlingen. He began working for Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid in 1985.

“My practice over the years took on more and more environmental cases,” Valdivia said. “It was something that I started seeing more of a need for, so I pursued that and built it up to where it’s mainly what I do now at Legal Aid.”

He has lived in San Antonio since the mid-1990s. He serves on the boards of the Sierra Club Alamo Group and Texas Fund for Economic & Environmental Education. Re-elected to the EAA board in 2010 and 2014, his current term expires in 2022.

Byron Miller

Term Expires December 2020

Byron Miller is a businessman and community leader and who firmly believes in the Rotarian motto “Service Above Self.”

A fifth generation San Antonian, Miller grew up on the East Side. His mother, educator Hazel T. Miller, and father, businessman Johnnie Miller, founded the Miller Child Development Center Inc. in 1969. Currently CEO, Miller remembers helping to build shelves and cubicles for the center his parents first operated out of their home.

As a child, his mother “encouraged me to read and be inquisitive and to step outside my comfort zone,” Miller said. “You can’t always be sure that you’re going to be successful, but unless you try you have no chance.”

After graduating from Sam Houston High School in 1975, Miller continued his education at Morehouse College, one of the country’s most prestigious historically black colleges, graduating in 1979.

In 2006, Miller was appointed to fill a vacancy on the EAA board. He was elected for his first full term in 2008 and re-elected in 2012 and 2016. Serving on the board “has been very eye-opening, very rewarding to me,” he said.

A former justice of the peace, Miller’s long record of civic involvement ranges from being a Boy Scoutmaster to serving on the boards of the Witte Museum and the Carver Community Cultural Center. He is the commissioner of Juneteenth San Antonio and a lifelong member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

“I believe in public service,” he said. “It’s one of the tenets of my life.”

Benjamin Youngblood III

Term Expires December 2020

An independent business attorney practicing corporate, real estate and oil and gas law, Ben Youngblood cut his teeth working on water issues serving on San Antonio Water System committees.

During his time with the city-owned utility, “I started looking at the bigger picture,” he said. “And that’s the EAA.”

Youngblood was appointed to the board in 2008. He was elected to the position in November of the same year and re-elected twice. His current term expires in 2020.

“I’ve always thought that water is the defining issue for the future of the region and I want to be a part of ensuring that the water remains clean and useful for the citizens of San Antonio,” he said.

A San Antonio resident since the late 1960s, Youngblood spent his early life on the move. His father was in the Air Force, so Youngblood “grew up all over.” By the time he graduated from Churchill High School in San Antonio, he had attended 18 schools. In his teens, Youngblood fell in love with sailing, and learned the sport on Woodlawn Lake. Later, he taught sailing at the Lake Canyon Yacht Club. Youngblood also has taught youth programs in fresh water ecology and astronomy.

Youngblood carries the special distinction of being both an Aggie and a Longhorn. He graduated magna cum laude with a degree in economics from Texas A&M University and earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Texas at Austin.

Mr. Youngblood serves on the boards of directors of: Mission Pharmacal Company (a multi-national pharmaceutical manufacturer); Edwin M. Jones Oil Company (a diversified independent oil & gas producer); and Airport Galleria Land Company (a commercial real estate development company). Mr. Youngblood has current and past service on a variety of civic, non-profit, and charitable boards, including the San Antonio Ethics Review Board (Vice-Chair), San Antonio Planning Commission Technical Advisory Committee, San Antonio Water System Citizen’s Advisory Panel (Vice-Chair), San Antonio Water System Rate Structure Committee, San Antonio Water Policy Group, San Antonio City Council Redistricting Commission, Northside Neighborhoods for Organized Development (NNOD) (Past President), Northside ISD Bond Committee, and the Down Syndrome Association. He has taught youth programs in Astronomy, Freshwater Ecology, and Sailing.