Pharr, Texas – Pharr city leaders visited with members of Congress in Washington, D.C. last week to discuss priorities and funding for Pharr, the Pharr International Bridge, and regional projects.
City Commissioner Daniel Chavez, Director of External Affairs Cynthia Garza-Reyes, and Public Affairs Liaison Michael Vargas represented the City of Pharr during the trip.
“Under my leadership, the City of Pharr has taken a proactive approach to policy and funding solutions by actively meeting with members of Congress to enhance relationships and direct communication with leaders and staff as the city continues to advocate for Pharr families and regional projects for the Rio Grande Valley,” said Mayor Ambrosio Hernandez, M.D. “By fostering positive-working partnerships directly with our representatives on both sides of the aisle, the City of Pharr has been able to accomplish great support and partnerships as we all work together to advance the future of Pharr and the Rio Grande Valley,” added Hernandez. “Our goal is to ensure that Pharr continues to thrive and especially with the passing of USMCA, we want to ensure that we are aware of potential changes that could affect business and trade and commerce in our city and region,” he stated.
The Pharr delegation met with several key members of Congress and staff including U.S. Senator John Cornyn, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, Congressman Vicent Gonzalez, U.S. Congressman Henry Cuellar, U.S. Congressman Filemon Vela, the Legislative Director for U.S. Congressman Michael Conaway, U.S. Congressman Michael McCaul, members from the Office of U.S. Congressman John “Judge” Carter and leaders from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
While meeting with Senator Cornyn, the delegation discussed the importance of USMCA in relation to cross-border trade and its effect on the Pharr International Bridge, as well as Sen. Cornyn’s Protecting American’s Food and Agriculture Act, which has passed the Senate and is on the President’s desk awaiting his signature. This legislation would ensure the safe and secure trade of agricultural goods across our nation’s borders by authorizing U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to hire additional inspectors to fully staff America’s airports, seaports and land ports of entry. The Pharr International Bridge and surrounding regional ports of entry would all benefit from this legislation.
“I always appreciate my friends from Pharr keeping me abreast of what’s happening in their community. It was a great meeting focused on binational trade with Mexico, and I was proud to highlight my bill that has passed the Senate to authorize CBP to hire additional inspectors to fully staff our ports of entry,” said Senator Cornyn.
The delegation also discussed job creation and trade with Senator Ted Cruz.
“It’s always a pleasure to meet with the City of Pharr Leadership,” Sen. Cruz said. “My number priority from day one in the Senate has been jobs because that’s the number one priority of Texans all across our great state. I was proud to support the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), which is a win for Texas farmers, ranchers manufacture, and businesses. The Pharr International Bridge is no exception and, as the number one port of entry for produce, it will only be strengthened under this agreement. I appreciate the leadership of Mayor Dr. Ambrosio Hernandez and the Pharr city council members and community leaders and I will continue working to ensure our trade agreements benefit Texas and put American jobs first.”
Congressman Filemon Vela welcomed the delegation as they met to discuss border trade and the importance of the Pharr International Bridge to the Texas and National economies.
“The Pharr bridge is a critical line of commerce between the United States and Mexico. As one of the most traveled commercialized bridges in the country, the men and women who operate the Pharr bridge help feed the nation. It’s always a pleasure meeting with City of Pharr leaders to discuss how we can ensure that this vital line of trade continues to operate so that commerce runs smoothly and safely,” said Congressman Filemon Vela.
Meeting with Congressman Gonzalez, the group met to cover key priority issues for the city and region.
“When Pharr thrives, the United States thrives,” said Congressman Vicente Gonzalez. “As a key international gateway, the city of Pharr plays a crucial role in economic development for South Texas. I will continue to advocate for the city of Pharr as it takes bold and innovative steps to improve its infrastructure, expand investment, make cross-border commerce more efficient, and bring more high-paying jobs to our region.”
Among the many other items discussed with leaders were transportation, technology, public safety, and continued talks regarding future possible pilot programs that could benefit the city.