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Delegation Isla Mujeres, Quintana Roo.

Mayor’s International Brunch – The 79th Annual Texas Citrus Fiesta

By Roberto Hugo Gonzalez,

As originally published by Texas Border Business newsprint edition.

Saturday, January the 30th, 2016–Norberto “Beto” Salinas the mayor of Mission continues with this great tradition of building strong relationships with our brothers in Mexico. He said that in 1993 was the year when Linares, Nuevo León became the first Mission Sister City. According to him, what followed next has become history, because now seventeen cities more from Mexico have joined with arms with Mission.

He was proud to say that this Isla Mujeres from the state of Quintana Roo joined to become the eighteenth sister city. It was a great celebration when Mayor Salinas signed the symbolic sister City Agreement that has become one of the most important celebrations for South Texas.

The Mayor’s International Brunch Celebration 2016 took place paralleled with another great celebration that dates back to 1937. The Annual Citrus Fiesta on its 79th celebration this year.

Aida Lerma, Mission deputy city manager, was the mistress of ceremonies and she said, “Good morning everyone! and welcome to the Mayor’s International Brunch. We’re celebrating the 79th year of the Texas Citrus Fiesta.”

She asked everyone to stand and remain standing for the presentation of colors and the national anthems and the invocation. The presentation of colors was led by the Mission police department and the Mission fire department, along with one of our sister city friend, Comandante Saúl Trejo Muñóz, from Francisco I. Madero, Coahuila. It was Miss Angela Salinas, a student at Sharyland High School who sang the national anthem.

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The invocation was led by Pastor Robert Jimenez from El Divino Redentor church.

It was announced that there was a special treat for everyone; then the Alvarez Elementary School drum line made it’s entrance.

The drum line, which is in its ninth year, is made up of students, of 4th and 5th grades. They practice every day, they perform 12 to 15 times a year at various events around the Valley. They have performed from Mission all the way to Mercedes.

The Mayor’s International Brunch brought together 18 sister cities from seven Mexican states. Of the 18, there were 10 being represented during this year’s celebration.

Mayors from Mexico came to discuss issues and opportunities of mutual interest. Additionally, the brunch serves as a tribute to Mission’s rich heritage and the unique role that the citrus industry plays in Mission and south Texas’ prosperity.

Mayor Salinas has been serving the city since 1998. He is a hardworking public servant and is always working to bring in new businesses, improve the quality of life, and all the while reducing the taxes for the citizens of Mission.

He has a reputation for his strong-willed character and for getting things done. Mayor Salinas is well respected locally and internationally throughout Mexico as well.

Mayor Salinas said, “Thank you everyone for being here today. “I want to welcome the Texas Department of Agriculture Commissioner, Mr. Sid Miller; he’s our special guest.”

He continued, “I want to also thank all the people from México that come every year. You don’t know how good it feels that every year we get to see each other and bring new communities from Mexico into our city of Mission and the Rio Grande Valley.”

He pointed out, “It’s a great pleasure to also have a good relationship with the city of McAllen and the city of Hidalgo.

I’m glad Mayor Jim Darling and Mayor Martin Cepeda are sitting at the same table, but they’re good friends and we all participate on the bridge board.”

Mayor Salinas thanked all the state representatives for being present during this very special celebration for Mission.

He recognized the dedication of the city staff. “It takes a lot of work and I really want to thank Martin Garza, the city manager, and Aida and everybody that works to put this event together,” he said.

Mayor Salinas announced that Guanajuato, Guanajuato, will become the next sister city next year. “I’m very happy for that.” He said, “They were sad that they could not be here today, but they are going to be joining our sister city committees that we have. It’s such a good thing to have and I’m glad that we started this some years ago.”

The night of the January 29, 2016, Mayor Salinas hosted a Gala for all his guests at Mario’s Ballroom. During that event, he delivered symbolic keys of the City of Mission to very distinguished mayors from Mexico.

“I am honored that all of you are here today.” The mayor said.

During this event, Mayor Salinas was accompanied by the Mission city council members; Mayor Pro Tem Norie Gonzalez Garza; Jessica Ortega-Ochoa; Ruben Plata and Dr. Armando O’Caña.

It was also said that the Greater Mission Chamber of Commerce is an important partner of the city of Mission. They provide opportunities for all businesses and individuals who want to invest in Mission. They promote Mission as a place to be discovered. The Mission Chamber of Commerce headed by George Myers and his staff were instrumental in planning these activities for this weekend.

Navin Buxani, Chairman of the Mission Chamber was invited to address the guests from Mexico and he said, “I would like to thank everyone for being here as we are gathered together for the sister city program and to break bread at the Mayor’s International Brunch. It’s inspiring to see such an impressive turn out and I am so pleased to be in front of so many special guests and valued visitors and their families. We truly appreciate that you made time to be here in Mission, Texas.”

After his remarks they introduced the keynote speaker of the Mayor’s International Brunch, Mr. Sid Miller who is the 12th Texas Commissioner of Agriculture.  His first term beginning in January of 2015, Commissioner Miller brought a wealth of knowledge to the Texas Department of Agriculture.

Mayor Salinas was joined at the podium by McAllen Mayor Jim Darling of McAllen, and Hidalgo Mayor Martin Cepeda  who were invited to the stage. The three mayors made a special presentation to a great leader and friend of the entire Rio Grande Valley, Senator Francisco Javier García Cabeza de Vaca.

He is the former mayor of Reynosa and now a federal senator of the Republic of Mexico.

Senator García Cabeza de Vaca was recognized as a good friend of Mission and South Texas and then given presents from each of the Valley mayors. He said, “First of all I want to thank Mayor Beto Salinas for this recognition. Jim Darling, Mayor of McAllen, and Mayor of Hidalgo Martin Cepeda and all of you for being here.”

He continued to say, “It is a great honor to receive this recognition. I have said it many times, that the Rio Grande River or the Rio Bravo is not something that divides us. It’s something that unites these two countries, these two communities. We are not only neighbors, we are not only friends, we are not only partners, we are family. That’s a big difference,” the senator said.

The mistress of ceremonies Aida Lerma said that Mission has many riches and a main one is the driving force of the Winter Texans. “Mission has over 30,000 retirees that choose to live here. They aren’t really retired because I bet they’re busier here with all their activities. Some dance, some golf, volunteer in hospitals and schools and some just enjoy the warm weather.

This segment was for the multi-instrumental! Gospel! Classic Country! Fiddling! Entertaining! Yodeling! Variety-girl! of all times Betty Rydell, representing the Winter Texan community of Mission.

Mayor Norberto Salinas and Mayor Agapito Magaña Sánchez were invited to the stage. This past year in August , the city of Mission signed a sister city agreement in Isla Mujeres, in the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico.

But as the protocol requires, a symbolic ceremony needed to be celebrated and signed in Mission.

Mayor Magaña Sánchez was recognized for his tireless work in promoting cultural, tourist and trade relations between the cities of Mission, Texas and Isla Mujeres, Quintana Roo, creating friendships and strengthening relationships that bind us together as sister cities.

Mayor Magaña Sánchez said, “I’m honored with this distinction that Norberto Salinas gives us. We invite all of you to Isla Mujeres. Isla Mujeres is a town with a great future. It is a beautiful island that is certified by all Blue Flag beaches as  a magical town. We are the only island in Mexico that is a pueblo mágico. We are a municipality for the future investments, we invite investors from the US and Mexico to visit us.

Mayor Magaña Sánchez recognized Mayor Salinas with a gift inscribed with a message: “Don Beto Salinas, Mayor of Mission, Texas. Affectionately your friend Agapito Sánchez Magaña, mayor of Isla Mujeres.” TBB

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