As originally published in Texas Border Business newsprint edition February 2019
By Roberto Hugo Gonzalez
Legislators from the State of Texas were hosted by several businesses and organizations, when they visited the Rio Grande Valley from January 24-27, 2019.
Traveling were 4 Senators, 37 legislators, plus 34 Chiefs of Staff, who together learned about the diverse region; it was all part of the ‘2019 Legislative Tour’.
Rigoberto “Rigo” Villarreal, Superintendent of Bridges at the McAllen Hidalgo and Anzalduas bridges, hosted the distinguished group of visitors on the last day with a magnificent reception at the Anzalduas Bridge grounds.
RGV Partnership coordinated this big event and proudly welcomed the Texas Legislators to South Texas.
Lawmakers took part in in-depth panel discussions with local healthcare leaders, educators and law enforcement partners. The tour provided legislators with an opportunity to visit key sites that highlight growth and challenges facing civic leaders and community members.
During their last stop at Anzalduas International Bridge, two large tents were erected for the celebration where food and drinks were dispensed, while the rhythm by Los Federalesmusical group, made the visitors dance.
The trip was filled with activities where vital issues were discussed that focused on economic and business development, premier medical advancements and care, tourism, transportation, public education, workforce expansion, and border security in the way of international trade and current infrastructure.
The superintendent of bridges Rigo Villarreal took the podium and welcomed everyone, inviting Sergio Contreras, the President and Chief Executive Officer of RGV Partnership to say a few words. “I want to recognize Judge Rene Ramirez who has been with us since 2018, ensuring that we have participation; he is from Pathfinder Public Affairs.”
Mission Mayor Armando O’Caña also said, “Thank you for the opportunity to tell you, before all the distinguished guests and visitors here in our great City of Mission; Mission is in Texas.
Richard Cortez, the newly elected Hidalgo County Judge, said, “I hope you find this area as we find it to be an exceptional area. We love being here, we love that you are here, to care about what you do by trying to learn more about us.” He continued, “All of us have budgetary problems to solve, you don’t solve budgetary problems simply by cutting expenses, you solve budgetary problems by growing revenues. So, later during your tour here we’re going to have an opportunity to tell you that your investment in the Rio Grande Valley is going to be a good investment.”
Texas State Rep. Sergio Muñoz, Jr. said, “This tour has given you the opportunity to see firsthand what we have in our community, but also some of the challenges we face.” He said, “We know when it comes to transportation, infrastructure, and international trade, it should be important for us in South Texas but also should be important for the whole State of Texas.” He continued, “And with that, we know that we can count on your support as we work through this session to see what more we can do to make sure that we have the vision and effective movement of commerce and goods within international borders.”
Dan Gurwitz, Chairman of the RGV Partners also said, “The tour really helps build momentum for the Valley’s legislative priorities as the legislative session begins. It helped tremendously that the Valley’s own Senators and State Representatives convinced so many out of area legislators and their chiefs of staff to attend this year. I think the people who attended now have a better understanding of some aspects of education, healthcare, and trade where the Valley excels, as well as the issues that are legislative priorities for the Valley.”
Texas State Senators Eddie Lucio, Jr. and Juan Hinojosa were also in attendance during the trip and the final celebration of ‘The 2019 Legislative Tour.’
Villarreal thanked all the visitors again and for working together to make sure that we have solutions that benefit the Rio Grande Valley and the State of Texas.