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Featured: Congressman Vicente González, D-McAllen, poses with constituents Matthew and Claudia Martínez, also of McAllen, during González’ election night victory event on Tuesday, November 8, 2016 at the Embassy Suites by Hilton McAllen Convention Center.

Photograph By MARK MONTEMAYOR

Ongoing strategies to remain a center of legislative influence on behalf of its constituents will be considered on Tuesday, January 3, 2017 by the Edinburg Mayor and Edinburg City Council, which is scheduled to take action on two cost-sharing measures designed to keep the House District 15 congressional office in the city and to continue with the services of a federal liaison team in Washington, D.C., the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced. Among the items set on the City Council agenda for its first regular meeting of 2017 are efforts to cover half of the lease for the district office of Congressman Vicente González, D-McAllen, and for the city and the Edinburg EDC to split the costs for Holland & Knight, LLP, located in Washington, D.C, which is serving as the legislative liaison for the two local government entities. The Edinburg EDC, of which Agustín García, Jr. is Executive Director, is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg Mayor and Edinburg City Council. The Edinburg EDC Board of Directors is comprised of Mayor Richard García as President, Harvey Rodríguez, Jr. as Vice President, Elías Longoria, Jr. as Secretary/Treasurer, and Richard Rupert, and Dr. Peter Dabrowski as Members.

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Agreement to keep congressional office in Edinburg, proposal to share contract fee for federal liaison team in Washington, D.C. set for action on Tuesday, January 3 by City Council

By DAVID A. DÍAZ
Legislativemedia@aol.com

Ongoing strategies to remain a center of legislative influence on behalf of its constituents will be considered on Tuesday, January 3, 2017 by the Edinburg Mayor and Edinburg City Council, which is scheduled to take action on two cost-sharing measures designed to keep the House District 15 congressional office in the city and to continue with the services of a federal liaison team in Washington, D.C., the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced.

The Edinburg EDC, of which Agustín García, Jr. is Executive Director, is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg Mayor and Edinburg City Council.

The Edinburg EDC Board of Directors is comprised of Mayor Richard García as President, Harvey Rodríguez, Jr. as Vice President, Elías Longoria, Jr. as Secretary/Treasurer, and Richard Rupert, and Dr. Peter Dabrowski as Members.

Among the items set on the City Council agenda for its first regular meeting of 2017 are efforts to cover half of the lease for the district office of Congressman Vicente González, D-McAllen, and for the city and the Edinburg EDC to split the costs for Holland & Knight, LLP, located in Washington, D.C, which is serving as the legislative liaison for the two local government entities.

KEEPING EDINBURG AS A KEY CENTER OF CONGRESSIONAL POWER

González, whose first two-year term in Congress is from January 3, 2017 until January 3, 2019, was elected on Tuesday, November 8, 2016 to to serve the House District 15 congressional district, which features Edinburg as the largest population center. He succeeds Congressman Ruben Hinojosa, D-Mercedes, who did not seek reelection after a 20-year career in Congress.

“Currently, the United States Congressional District Office Number 15 is located within the City of Edinburg at 2864 West Trenton Road. U.S. CongressmanVicente González is requesting to continue leasing office space at the current location in order to maintain the office locally and provide greater accessibility for the City’s officials, staff, and citizens,” Sonia Marroquin, Edinburg’s Assistant City Manager, reported to the Edinburg Mayor and the Edinburg City Council.

González wants to utilize the local congressional district office that has been used by Hinojosa.

“The congressman-elect seeks consideration of the City re-entering into a lease agreement with Cielo Realty for the congressman’s term from January 3, 2017 to January 2, 2019. Cielo Realty’s proposed base monthly lease payment for the period of January 3, 2017 through January 2, 2018 is $3,847.00 plus a $50 storage rental fee and $50 designated parking space, for the total monthly sum of $3,947.00. Cielo Realty’s proposed base monthly lease payment for the period of January 3, 2018 through January 2, 2019 is $3,943.00 plus a $50 storage rental fee and $50 designated parking space, for the total monthly sum of $4,043.00,” Marroquín added.

González has proposed a 50/50 cost share with the city if the office lease is approved, the assistant city manager noted, who is recommending that the mayor and city council authorize the city manager to enter into an office building lease agreement with Cielo Realty to provided for González local office.

According to González’ campaign, the first-term lawmaker’s priorities in Congress include:

Education:

• Fully fund pre-kindergarten and Head Start programs.
• Help college students graduate debt-free
• Support passage of the federal DREAM Act.
• Increase funding for Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs).

Jobs and Economic Security:

• Support passage of a living wage.
• Support equal pay for equal work for women.
• Support paid family and maternity leave.
• Incentivize the creation of higher wage jobs in economically distressed areas.

Immigration and Border Security:

• Support passage of compassionate immigration reform with a pathway to earned citizenship.
• Keep border communities safe with thoughtful and strategic border security operations to combat the criminal elements crossing the border.

Healthcare:

• Increase affordability and access to healthcare.
• Protect Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.
• Increase Medicaid reimbursement rates for family doctors.

Veterans:

• Create a full service VA Hospital in the Rio Grande Valley.
• Ensure that veterans have quality high wage jobs once they return from service.

COST SHARING ONE-YEAR CONTRACT FOR EDNBURG’S FEDERAL LIAISON TEAM

On October 18, 2016, the Edinburg City Council entered into an agreement to retain the services of Holland & Knight of Washington, D.C. relating to legislative consulting services, primarily in Washington, D.C., but also, as needed, provide services in Austin.

“As you know, Holland & Knight’s approach with the City of Edinburg, is to serve as an extension of the City itself. We would work as a seamless part of your dream to ensure that you are successfully pursuing federal grants and have a voice in Washington (D.C.) on how key legislative, program, or regulatory proposals are shaped and executed, particularly with the new Administration and Congress beginning in January 2017,” Lisa Ann Barkovic, Senior Policy Advisor for Holland & Knight, LLP stated in correspondence to Edinburg City Manager Richard Hinojosa.

The contract, effective October 1, 2016 though September 30, 2017, will be paid to Holland & Knight at the rate of $12,000 (twelve thousand) a month, which includes the services of The Vela Group, she added.

“This level of billing represents a discount from standard billing rates, which we provide from time to time to public sector clients as a public service,” Barkovic continued. “Our monthly fee is inclusive of routine costs and out-of-pocket expenses, including our travel time to meet with City, long-distance telephone, photocopyng, facsimile, found transportation and meals.”

Relating to the city’s contract with Holland & Knight, city staff is asking the Mayor and City Council to enter into an interlocal agreement with the Edinburg EDC so that the EDC will reimburse the city for 50 percent of $144,000 one-year contract with that firm, effective October 1, 2016 through September 30, 2017.

Holland & Knight’s responsibilities as the city’s liaison features the following duties:

To keep the administrative staff of the City and the Edinburg EDC aware of all pending bills which might impact the city and the economy, and to promote business development of the City and Edinburg EDC;

To advocate or oppose legislation on behalf of the City and Edinburg EDC;

To advocate and lobby for the City and the Edinburg EDC to state and federal agencies for the development, funding and betterment of the City and Edinburg EDC projects;

To coordinate, when necessary, with state and federal elected officials to promote City and Edinburg EDC business; and

To draft and/or assist with drafting legislation on behalf of the City and the Edinburg EDC.

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For more information on the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation and the City of Edinburg, please log on to http://edinburgedc.com or to http://www.facebook.com/edinburgedc

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