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Tuesday, May 28, 2024
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McAllen
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It’s official, the Compact of Mayors for a South Texas Alliance of Cities signed 

United Mayors Fostering Regional Prosperity

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This is the document titled the Compact of Mayors for a South Texas Alliance of Cities, signed by mayors from South Texas. Image by Roberto Hugo González

Texas Border Business

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By Roberto Hugo González

The highly anticipated second meeting of the South Texas Mayors’ Alliance of Cities took place in the headquarters of Harlingen’s Texas Regional Bank. The assembly spotlighted Mayor Ron Nirenberg of San Antonio collaborating with his fellow mayors from the Rio Grande Valley.

Mayor Ron Nirenberg of San Antonio, in solidarity with mayors from McAllen, Mission, Weslaco, Harlingen, and the newly inaugurated mayor of Brownsville, united around a common purpose: to pinpoint South Texas’s unique needs and devise a comprehensive strategy to exploit their collective influence for the region’s broader economic expansion.

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Pictured above is the formation of an alliance of South Texas mayors. In attendance were Ron Nirenberg, Mayor of San Antonio; Commissioner at Large Israel Gonzalez, Jr. representing David Suarez, Mayor of Weslaco; John Cowen, Mayor of Brownsville; Norma Sepulveda, Mayor of Harlingen; Ramiro Garza, Mayor of Edinburg; Norie Gonzalez Garza, Mayor of Mission; Javier Villalobos, Mayor of McAllen. Image by Roberto Hugo Gonzalez 

This was driven by shared economic, social, and cultural interests in our communities, contemplating our state and nation’s future. Recognizing the profound, generational bonds among South Texas residents across our shared history. The alliance is determined to tap into its combined economic and political force through the strategic partnership of its mayors.

The document that the mayors signed reads that according to recent Census data presented by the South Texas mayors, the region—from San Antonio to the Rio Grande Valley—houses over five million residents, marking it as one of the United States’ fastest-growing areas. With established and emerging economic pillars, South Texas offers strategic advantages in logistics, real estate, utilities, and workforce across various target sectors such as energy, information technology, advanced manufacturing, agriculture, and space. The Texas Economic Development Corporation reports that the region’s employment surpasses 2 million, contributing to a GDP of over $200 billion annually.

The South Texas region saw nearly 20 percent population growth over the past decade, with productivity surging by over 40 percent, as per the Texas Economic Development Corporation. The region’s exports also more than doubled during this period. South Texas’s cultural heritage, intrinsically tied to its challenging history of conflict and cultivation by diverse groups, shapes the area’s distinct identity. Predominantly Mexican American.

The region’s challenges, far from isolated, affect the prosperity of all countries across North, Central, and South America. These include increased southern border migration into South Texas, the urgent need for infrastructure modernization to accommodate projected growth (including housing, transportation, and utilities), revitalizing communities plagued by poverty for generations, educating and reskilling a multilingual workforce, and mitigating climate change impacts.

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Through combined efforts, the South Texas region, guided by its mayors, can marshal unified strategies in advocacy, policy, and economic development towards shared goals vital for our communities’ future. These goals will be outlined in upcoming alliance meetings.

On March 20, 2023, an initial meeting in Weslaco, Texas, was convened to contemplate forming the South Texas mayors’ alliance. This saw the participation of mayors from San Antonio, Weslaco, Brownsville, Harlingen, Edinburg, Mission, and McAllen. By endorsing this Compact, the signing mayors have formalized the South Texas Cities Alliance, pledging continued collaboration to discern, foster, and support communal partnerships for the region’s mutual benefit. The mayors have also agreed to regularly convene—at least annually—to set governance and membership guidelines. Images by Roberto Hugo Gonzalez

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