His focus is, infrastructure, roads, and drainage; enhancing educational, employment, and healthcare opportunities
As originally published by Texas Border Business newsprint edition February 2018
With deep roots in Hidalgo County, life-long Democrat Richard Cortez has been making life better for communities and families over his long history of dedicated and proven public service. He served as Mayor of McAllen, McAllen City Commissioner for District 1, and now he is seeking to become the Judge of Hidalgo County.
Cortez was born in Mercedes, Texas and was raised in nearby Weslaco. He is a graduate of Weslaco High School and Pan American College, now the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV), where he received a Bachelor of Business Administration (B.B.A.). A life-long resident of Hidalgo County, he has lived in McAllen for over 33 years, serving his community in a variety of leadership roles. Together with his late wife Elva (Longoria), raised four children: Rick, Sandy, Jay, and Laura. He is a proud grandfather of eleven grandchildren.
As a respected professional, community leader, and family man, Cortez possesses a strong commitment to helping his community, a firm dedication to the values of honesty, integrity, and fiscal responsibility, and the necessary leadership skills to make profound and positive growth and improvements in our area.
Throughout his many years of public service as Mayor of McAllen, City Commissioner for District 1, and various other boards and organizations, Cortez has accomplished great things for the community.
Under his leadership, the City of McAllen grew tremendously with the creation of the McAllen Convention Center, added international trade capacity with the Anzalduas International Bridge, and used innovative approaches to provide state-of-the-art services to residents such as the nationally-recognized McAllen Public Library, an old abandoned Walmart that is now the largest one-floor library in the U.S.
Cortez’s experience includes having formerly served on the Border Trade Alliance, undertaking regional issues regarding border trade, commerce, and infrastructure.
Cortez thrives on teamwork, collaboration, and uniting people from all areas to work together to achieve one common goal and purpose. Cortez plans to bring this same momentum and proven leadership to Hidalgo County as our next Hidalgo County Judge.
Hidalgo County’s population is quickly approaching the millions, and there is much critical work to be done to ensure our residents and communities have the infrastructure, economic development, and services needed to thrive in our ever-growing region.
Cortez’s professional experience as a Certified Public Accountant has played a critical role in his fiscal oversight and knowledge of fund and budget management. While Cortez has big plans for our county, you can rest assured that he will continue to safeguard your tax dollars, and he is committed to not raising the property tax rate.
As our County Judge, Cortez will work hard every day to improve our quality of life by; and promoting economic opportunities so that we can live, work, and raise our families in the best environment possible.
Cortez has the vision, the dedication, and the commitment to continue making Hidalgo County a leader in Texas, in the nation, and in the international arena, and commits to be a Judge that Hidalgo County needs.
A county judge sets the pace and tone as to the direction and image that people want for any community. Hidalgo County families deserve a strong voice at the table – both at the state and federal levels – to increase access to funding and resources that are imperative to meet the demands of our continued growth. With his broad experience in regional and statewide committees and organizations, Cortez is prepared to work hand-in-hand with state and federal leaders and to advocate and fight for a fair share of what the Hidalgo County families deserve – educational opportunities, skills training and workforce development, higher-paying jobs, funding for infrastructure projects, and more.
No New Taxes
Cortez is against any increase in property tax rates. By effectively and efficiently managing county funds with a sharp eye on the bottom line, Cortez believes the county can fulfill its obligations and work to expand county services by keeping taxes low and without placing an undue burden on our taxpayers and families.
Infrastructure & Drainage
Infrastructure, roads, and drainage systems are critical components of a county’s responsibility to its citizens. Cortez is committed to working with county commissioners to ensure that county infrastructure systems are functional, sustainable and prepared for future growth.
With recent natural disasters such as Hurricane Harvey that devastated Houston, Cortez believes that leaders at the local level must take action now to be prepared with adequate and sufficient flood prevention and mitigation plans. An important factor is the construction of the Raymondville Drain, which will alleviate flooding issues in low-lying areas of the county. Cortez also believes in innovative solutions to prevent flooding such as city/school retention pond parks that were created during his tenure as Mayor in McAllen.
Higher-Paying Jobs and Economic Opportunity
Cortez believes that local leaders and the business community must collaborate together to attract and retain businesses and companies that create high-paying jobs for the region and contribute to the tax base. He is also committed to promoting and making Hidalgo County attractive for new industries. Smaller, rural communities may not have the available resources and expertise as larger cities, but through a strategic approach, Cortez believes that Hidalgo County can provide the necessary assistance and resources for smaller communities to be competitive, grow their economies, and provide more opportunities for prosperity for all residents.
The 2020 Census is an opportunity for Hidalgo County to show its strength in numbers. The population surge in recent years will help the area to access federal resources and funding, and can also directly impact the congressional representation. Cortez is committed to working together through intensive outreach and education among residents, especially in rural areas, to ensure that every person in Hidalgo County is accurately counted.
According to him, in order for communities to flourish, families must be healthy. Together with our County health department, the institutions of higher education, and the community partners, Hidalgo County can develop solutions to help all citizens achieve optimal health and wellbeing and to help them access affordable medical assistance when needed.
When it comes to indigent health care, Cortez is fully committed to continuing fulfilling Hidalgo County’s obligation to provide quality healthcare for indigent families that qualify at 21% of the federal poverty level, as required by law. Cortez is against any proposition that will increase taxes and burden the taxpayers.
With Hidalgo County’s growing population, proper planning and foresight must be considered when evaluating and addressing the county transportation needs. From county roads to major thoroughfares, from our international ports of entry to possible alternate mobility modes, Hidalgo County needs a strong voice at the state and federal levels to advocate for fair share of transportation and infrastructure funding for the area.
Law Enforcement & Public Safety
The safety and security of our area and our families is of critical concern to county leaders. Cortez wholeheartedly supports the efforts of our local law enforcement and our state and federal agency partners, who work diligently every day to keep communities safe. As County Judge, Cortez will continue to partner with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies and officials to keep Hidalgo County safe.
Cortez also noted that based on his experience, his knowledge, and his desire to serve his community and make it better for future generations, he is ready and willing servant leader to become the County Judge that families in Hidalgo County deserve.