Featured: Ronnie Larralde, Executive Director, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce, addresses elected officials, business executives, and other community dignitaries soon after his selection on Monday January 7, 2019 by the local business lobby group as its top administrator. One of Larralde’s first major projects for this year as executive director will take place on Thursday, February 7, 2019, with the chamber’s RGV Census Forum, which will bring together the four county judges from the Rio Grande Valley to emphasize the importance of U.S. Census Day, which is April 1, 2020.
Photograph By LUIS LARRAGA
Political power in Austin and Washington, D.C., fair share of $800 billion in annual federal funds, to be focus of Rio Grande Valley’s four county judges during February 7 Public Affairs Luncheon organized by Edinburg Chamber of Commerce
The Rio Grande Valley’s political power from the state house in Austin to the Congress and White House in Washington, D.C. will be significantly influenced by the upcoming U.S. Census 2020, when the federal government carries out a population count of all its residents, as required by the U.S. Constitution.
The higher the population count, which will take place nationally next year, the more federal money will come to the Rio Grande Valley.
The data collected by the decennial (taking place every 10 years) U.S. Census also will determine the number of seats each state has in the U.S. House of Representatives (a process called apportionment).
To help rally, inform and encourage area residents to participate in the U.S. Census 2020, the four county judges from the Rio Grande Valley will be the featured speakers during the Thursday, February 7, 2018 Public Affairs Luncheon organized by the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce.
Hidalgo County Judge Richard Cortéz, Cameron County Judge Eddie Treviño, Jr., Starr County Judge Eloy Vera, and Willacy County Judge Aurelio “Keter” Guerra are scheduled to participate in the event.
The rare gathering of the Valley’s four county judges will take place at the Edinburg Conference Center at Renaissance, located at 118 Paseo Del Prado.
The event will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m
The cost the attend the luncheon is $25 per person. Larger groups also can sign up for a Chamber Member Table (8) or $250 for a Non-Member Table (8) $300.
Included for the fee for the event, which is titled “RGV Census Forum,” is a hot lunch, beverage and desert.
For more information on sponsorships or to make a reservation for this or future Public Affairs Luncheon, interested individuals may call the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce at 956/383-4974.
U.S. Census Bureau workers will do the actual counting in 2020, and the final numbers will be used to distribute more than $800 billion a year, according to a 2018 report by the Institute of Public Policy at George Washington University. Medicaid, food stamps, highway construction money and school lunches all depend on the count.
“The Census affects our community in many ways, such as hospitals and healthcare,” said Mario Lizcano, Administrator of Community Engagement and Public Affairs for DHR Health. “The vision of the RGV Census Forum is to inform, involve and educate chamber investors and civic leaders on the importance of the census.”
Lizcano, who also serves as Vice President of Public Affairs for the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce, and Larralde, have led the efforts to organize the RGV Census Forum.
The Public Affairs Luncheon is an initiative introduced by the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce in 2006, and since then have covered popular topics with keynote speakers that cover important community and legislative issues.
The luncheons also allow business professionals to meet, network and create opportunities for the companies they represent.
According to the U.S Census Bureau, in a website presentation titled “CensusQuestions.com”:
What is the purpose of the U.S. Census?
While most people have heard of the United States Census Bureau, few people are aware of why they exist and what they are in charge of. There are many branches of the federal government and each one has a different responsibility.
The U.S. Census is mandated by the federal government. In Article 1 Section 2 of the United States Constitution, it mandates that an official count be taken of the population. This is necessary for more than one reason.
First off, it is important to know that the U.S. House of Representatives are numbered based on the number of constituents in their state. The same goes for the Electoral College.
Since these two very important groups of people are based on the number of constituents in each state, a count must be taken every ten years to determine how many people there actually are in each state, and in the United States in total. This is what the purpose of the U.S. Census is for.
On every year that ends with a zero (0), an official count is taken of the number of people in each state. For all of the years in between, trends are used to make estimations and projections about the number of people there are.
Secondly, the U.S. Census is important for the purposes of distributing funds to the public. Taking a count of the people in the country helps the federal government decide what areas of the population are in need of what services such as: welfare, housing projects, parks and other things mandated by the federal government.
The U.S. Census Bureau is very important, more so than many people would have ever thought possible.
When it comes time to fill out your questionnaire or the census taker knocks on your door, be kind and do the right thing by answering questions as honestly as possible. This is important information that the government must have in order to properly serve their people.
NOÉ “RONNIE” LARRALDE TAKES THE HELM OF EDINBURG CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
The Board of Directors, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce, on Monday, January 7, 2019, announced that Noé “Ronnie” Larralde will lead the organization as its new executive director.
Larralde, who served as the interim executive director since September 2018, succeeds Letty González, the longtime president of the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce.
Prior to his appointment as the chamber’s executive director, Larralde served as the Director of Marketing and Special Events for seven years.
“I am excited to take on the new role and I am humbled by this opportunity,” Larralde said. “The chamber of commerce is the front line of the business community, we all want the same thing, we want our businesses to be successful and our community to grow.”
Prior to joining the chamber in 2012, Larralde worked at First National Bank, now Plains Capital Bank, for 11 years, serving in numerous positions.
As Larralde takes the helm, the plan, which will be implemented with the help of the board of directors, is to focus more on member outreach, retention and developing different avenues to increase business development.
Together with the City of Edinburg and the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, Larralde will work vigorously to ensure the business community will benefit tremendously.
Jennifer Garza, President, Board of Directors, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce, said Larralde’ s knowledge of all things relating to the organization will benefit him, not only in the new role of leadership, but also with the group’s 350 members.
“We are excited to begin to pave the way for the future of our organization,” said Garza, who is Vice President of Operations for Superior Health Plan. “Not only does Ronnie know our members’ needs, his vision, integrity and background make him uniquely positioned to lead the chamber.”
Larralde, a native son of Edinburg, holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration in Marketing from the University of Texas-Pan American (now the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley).
A list of finalists is currently being considered to succeed Larralde as the chamber’s director of marketing.
According to its website (https://edinburg.com), individuals and firms which become members of the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce receive the following benefits:
• Networking through mixers, breakfasts and other chamber events;
• New member introduction at the Edinburg Today quarterly membership breakfast and in upcoming newsletters;
• Interaction and exposure through the chamber’s committee structure; and
• Hundreds of members attend the chamber’s Annual Banquet, and are able to distribute their business cards.
• Advertising in “The Depot Express” and membership directory;
• Free alphabetical and business category listing with membership in the membership directory and website;
• Flyers, brochures or business cards distributed via information racks at the Chamber Depot;
• Ribbon Cuttings, groundbreakings and grand opening ceremonies available to qualifying businesses;
• Numerous referrals are given each month in response to relocation, visitor and other inquiries;
• A set of the Chamber’s membership mailing labels is available for a small fee; and
• Membership directory listing available online, with direct links to your website.
• Information on your business or product through our monthly newsletter;
• Seminars and workshops; and
• Participation in Leadership Edinburg – a group of informed, skilled, and motivated leaders from diverse backgrounds interested and willing to make Edinburg a better place to live and work.
Board of Directors
The names of the officers and members of the Board of Directors, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce, and the name of the public or private entity which they represent, follow:
• Jennifer Garza, President, Board of Directors, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce (Superior Health Plan);
• Alex Ríos, Immediate Past-President, Board of Directors, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce (Kid’s Kollege Learning Center);
• Hiren Govind, President-Elect and Vice President, Ambassador Committee, Board of Directors, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce (Best Western Plus Edinburg Inn & Suites);
• Mario Lizcano, Vice President of Public Affairs, Board of Directors, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce (DHR Health);
• J.J. Flores, Vice President, Special Events, Board of Directors, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce (Chorizo de San Manuel, Inc.);
• Kelly Salazar, Vice President, Tourism, Board of Directors, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce (Linebarger Goggan Blair and Sampson);
• Dina Araguz, Treasurer, Board of Directors, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce (IBC Bank);
• Michael J. Williamson, Vice President of Leadership, Board of Directors, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce (PlainsCapital Bank);
• Julio Carranza, Member, Board of Directors, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce (Landmark Mortgage, LLC);
• Ray Garza, Member, Board of Directors, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce (H-E-B #2);
• Verónica Gonzáles, Member, Board of Directors, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce (University of Texas Rio Grande Valley);
• Marsha Green, Member, Board of Directors, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce (Bert Ogden Rio Grande Valley);
• Carlos Guajardo, Member, Board of Directors, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce (South Texas Health System);
• Gregory Martin, Member, Board of Directors, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce (Martin Farm & Ranch Supply, Inc.)
• Richard Molina, Member, Board of Directors, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce (Mayor, City of Edinburg, • Odyssey Primary Home Care);
• Noel Pérez, Member, Board of Directors, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce (Magic Valley Electric-Co-Op);
• Dina Puente, Member, Board of Directors, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce (B.I.C. Realty); and
• Cris Torres, Member, Board of Directors, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce (Greater State Bank).
For more on this and other Texas legislative news stories which affect the Rio Grande Valley metropolitan region, please log on to Titans of the Texas Legislature (TitansoftheTexasLegislature.com).