Featured, from left: Rep. Matt Schaefer, R-Tyler; Rep. Mike Lang, R-Grandbury; Rachel Wetsel, Clerk, House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence; and Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg. Canales was serving as Chair of the House Criminal Jurisprudence Subcommittee on Asset Forfeiture during its meeting in Austin on Wednesday, March 29, 2017.
Photograph By HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHY
Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, along with a bipartisan supermajority of the Texas House of Representatives, wants President Trump and Congress to avoid any actions that would threaten almost $92.5 billion in annual Texas exports to Mexico, which is the largest trading partner for the Lone Star State. Exports are goods or services sent to another country for sale. Mexico’s relationship to Texas is so important to state lawmakers that they want to make sure their federal counterparts in Washington D.C. also don’t jeopardize hundreds of thousands of Texas jobs because of negative stereotypes or ignorance of Mexico’s roles in creating jobs and prosperity for all Americans. Through the use of a legislative measure, House Resolution 1025 by Canales, the Texas House of Representatives is urging the nation’s top elected leaders to recognize the huge significance of trade between Texas and Mexico. “As Texans, we understand the importance of the Texas-Mexico relationship to the economic success of state. 382,000 Texas jobs are supported by trade with Mexico” said Canales. “Should this relationship be impacted negatively, the social and economic security of the Texas border region would be devastating.” HR 1025, which is being sent to President Trump and Congress, calls on national leaders – many who are unfamiliar with U.S. international commerce involving Mexico – “to fully evaluate the impact of proposed federal trade policies, legislation, executive orders, and other actions on Texas-Mexico commerce.”
Featured: At the front podium on the floor of the Texas House of Representatives, Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, on Tuesday, February 7, 2017, praises the virtues of the Rio Grande Valley and its beneficial economic and social impact on Texas and the United States. Flanking him, from left, are: Rep. Óscar Longoria, D-La Joya; Rep. R.D. “Bobby” Guerra, D-McAllen; Rep. Armando “Mando” Martínez, D-Weslaco; Rep. Ryan Guillén, D-Rio Grande City; Rep. René Oliveira, D-Brownsville; Rep. Eddie Lucio, III, D-Brownsville; and Rep. Sergio Muñoz, D-Mission.
Photograph By DAVID PIKE
Deep South Texas continues to grow as one of the state’s most important regions for trade, commerce, and culture, state lawmakers were reminded on Tuesday, February 7, 2017, during Rio Grande Valley (RGV) Day at the Texas Capitol, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced. Among the messages delivered to the state leadership was the Texas Legislature would be wise to continuing investing state resources and creating state laws and policies that will help the region’s extraordinary transformation in the past two generations from once being a major agricultural and ranching area, into building on its status as a growing national center of international trade, energy development, even future space flights. Those were among the highlights pointed out to the 181-member Texas Legislature and other statewide officials, including Gov. Greg Abbott and Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush, who met with a large delegation of Valley business, community, and political leaders during the one-day lobbying effort. Included among the 35 organizations and the more than 200 individuals who participated in the day-long event were the Edinburg Mayor, Edinburg City Council, the Board of Directors of the Edinburg EDC, the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce, and the Edinburg Consolidated Independent School District. 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.
Featured: Rep. Eddie Lucio, III, D-Brownsville, with former Rep. Verónica Gonzáles, D-McAllen, observing, on Thursday, January 26, 2017, addressed lawmakers and their staffs from upstate, renowned Valley health professionals, and area leaders at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine in Harlingen as part of the Rio Grande Valley Partnership tour for state legislators to answer questions about the state of medicine in the Valley.
Photograph By DAVID PIKE
The Mayor and City Council will part of a delegation that will be meeting with state lawmakers in Austin on Tuesday, February 7, 2017, helping promote the community’s and region’s top priorities for the ongoing 85th Regular Session of the Texas Legislature at the Capitol, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced. Since the mid-1990’s, the mayor, city council, and Edinburg EDC leadership have played active and successful roles in promoting the legislative priorities for their community at the State Capitol. Their efforts have resulted in passing state laws and policies that have had a huge beneficial economic impact on the city. From lobbying on behalf of the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley and its School of Medicine in Edinburg, to helping secure funding that has converted U.S. Expressway 281 into Interstate Highway 69, the mayor, city council, Edinburg EDC Board of Directors, and their respective staffs, have worked with the city’s state legislative delegation on behalf of their constituents. The Edinburg EDC, of which Agustín García, Jr. is Executive Director, is the jobs-creation arm of the Mayor and 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. Edinburg EDC Board Vice President Rodríguez, Edinburg EDC Executive Director García, and Letty Reyes, Director of Business Development & Public Affairs for the Edinburg EDC, are scheduled to be in Austin as part of Rio Grande Valley Day. Mayor Richard García and Edinburg EDC Executive Director Agustín García, Jr. are not related.
Featured: Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, preparing to address the Rio Grande Valley Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Legislative Report Card Luncheon, held on Thursday, August 18, 2016, at the Embassy Suites by Hilton McAllen Convention Center.
Photograph By MARK MONTEMAYOR
Additional measures have been filed by state lawmakers that would prevent Texas governments from approving certain types of contracts whose payments are allowed to be kept secret, said Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, a strong supporter of the people’s right to know, who has already introduced similar legislation that will promote transparency in government. Rep. Giovanni Capriglione, R-Southlake, and Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, on Tuesday, January 3, 2016, each introduced two pieces of identical legislation, representing four individual bills, to close loopholes in the Texas Public Information Act that were created by recent Texas Supreme Court rulings. A key portion of the Capriglione/Watson proposals share the intent of Canales’ House Bill 349, which would require local governments in Texas to reveal the amount of public funds paid in part or in whole for parades, concerts, or other events open to the general public. Canales drafted his HB 349 following growing concern about a stand taken by McAllen city government that it is prevented in disclosing the fee it paid to Enrique Iglesias, one of the best-selling Latin recording artists in the world, who was the star attraction for a December 5, 2015 concert, held at McAllen Veterans Memorial Stadium, as part of McAllen Holiday Parade organized by the City of McAllen.
Rep. Ismael "Kino" Flores, D-Palmview, flanked by leaders of local veterans’ groups, on Thursday, June 11, explained why he took on powerful legislative enemies in order to get his bill passed that will provide up to a 100 percent home property tax break for thousands of disabled veterans. "We veterans, we don’t leave anyone behind, and I wasn’t about to leave these veterans behind," Flores said during a press conference organized by the Veterans Alliance of the Rio Grande Valley. The group chose the Rio Grande Valley State Veterans Cemetery in Mission as the site for the news event, noting that Flores had also been the principal architect in bringing the state veterans cemetery to the Valley. Despite behind-the-scenes legislative opposition to his measure, Flores, a U.S. Army veteran, outmaneuvered his political rivals and passed the veterans’ home tax break. Flores praised Texas veterans groups for playing a key role in the measure’s hard-fought success. See lead story later in this posting.
Sen. Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa, D-McAllen, featured first on right, was rated as one of the best state lawmakers in Texas by Capitol Inside, a non-partisan web site news service has been a big hit with Republicans, Democrats and diehard independents as well since making its debut online in January 2003. At the conclusion of each legislative session, several political publications and websites name best and worst performers based on their service to their districts and the state. This year, Capitol Inside and political strategists Ted Delisi and Harold Cook compiled top ten lists, each naming Sen. Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa, D-McAllen, as one of Texas’ top ten legislators. Capitol Inside referred to Hinojosa as a veteran legislator that "just keeps getting better." The Delisi/Cook list noted Hinojosa’s ability to secure funding for District 20 projects, including highway infrastructure, and millions of dollars for health care delivery services. From left, during a recent visit to the Capitol, are Hidalgo County Treasurer Norma G. García, Hidalgo County District Clerk Laura Hinojosa (no relation to the senator), Hidalgo County County Clerk Arturo Guajardo, Jr., and Hinojosa. See story on the Capitol Inside ranking later in this posting.
South Texas firefighters were among the dozens of area groups which visited state lawmakers at the Capitol during the recently-concluded five month regular session. On Wednesday, April 1, a Valley delegation brought their issues to Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr., D-Brownsville. Featured with Lucio, in his office, are, from left: Manuel Vargas, McAllen; Raul R. Zúñiga, Jr., San Benito; Javier Gutiérrez, McAllen; Lucio; Ramón Martínez, San Benito; Jesús Tijerina, San Benito; and Ernest Abrego, Harlingen. Later in this posting, Lucio writes about several key measures approved by the Legislature that will benefit another key constituency – military veterans.
The Convention Committee of the McAllen Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is finalizing plans for the 34th annual Texas Association of Mexican American Chambers of Commerce (TAMACC) Convention, which this year will be held at the McAllen Convention Center from July 29 through August 1. The theme to the convention is “Growing Hispanic Business, for a Stronger Texas Economy”. Featured, front row, from left: Sam Guzmán, TAMACC president; Froy Garza with Congressman Henry Cuellar’s office; and Salomon Torres with Congressman Ruben Hinojosa’s office. Back row, from left: Rick Carrera, University of Texas-Pan American Small Business Development Center; Dr. John Thomas, MHCC board of directors; Mark Winchester, UTPA’s Director of the Rio South Texas Regional Procurement Technical Assistance Center; Cynthia M. Sakulenzki, MHCC Pres/CEO; Letty Flores with Gov. Rick Perry’s office; Margie Treviño, Southern Minority Supplier Development Council; and María Juárez, UTPA Director of the Small Business Development Center. See story later in this posting.
The Edinburg Chamber of Commerce will host a Power Punch @ Lunch on Wednesday, June 24 at the Depot, located at 602 W. University Drive, sponsored by Doctors Hospital at Renaissance (DHR). The business community of Edinburg and the Rio Grande Valley are invited to attend the free networking luncheon from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Persons who attend are being asked to bring their business cards to distribute during the chamber’s most notable social-networking luncheon, which includes food, door prizes and fun. Area residents interested in attending should RSVP by calling 956/383-4974. Featured, from left: Joanna Álvarez, DHR Assistant Director for Marketing; McAllen City Commissioner Jim Darling, who serves as DHR’s legal counsel; Mario Lizcano, DHR Director for Marketing; Marissa Castañeda, DHR’s Chief Operations Officer; and Frank Lara, Membership Director, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce.