FEATURED: Sen. Juan Hinojosa, D-McAllen, makes his introductory remarks on behalf of Gov. Greg Abbott on Thursday, August 17, 2023 during the inaugural Rio Grande Valley (RGV) Economic Summit held at the Bert Ogden Arena in Edinburg.
Photograph Courtesy SEN. JUAN HINOJOSA FACEBOOK
Sen. Hinojosa praises Gov. Abbott for his efforts on behalf of the region: “Every time we have asked him for help, he delivers for us here in the Valley.”
Sen. Juan Hinojosa, D-McAllen, praised Gov. Greg Abbott for his efforts on behalf of deep South Texas as part of his introductory remarks on behalf of the governor during the first-ever Rio Grande Valley (RGV) Economic Summit in Edinburg.
The event, which featured other state legislators, state agency leaders, county officials from throughout the Valley, mayors representing numerous Valley cities, and area economic development experts, was held in the Bert Ogden Arena in Edinburg on Thursday, August 17, 2023.
Co-hosted by the Rio Grande Valley Partnership and the City of Edinburg, the RGV Economic Summit brought together policymakers and business leaders from throughout South Texas to unite behind the common goal of regional economic development.
As the keynote speaker for the gathering of about 450 business and community leaders, Abbott hailed Texas’ investment and critical infrastructures in the Rio Grande Valley, such as broadband expansion and health care.
“As one of fastest growing areas in the entire state and home to our most important port, the Rio Grande Valley is where the economic future of Texas lies,” said Abbott. “Thanks in part to the hardworking Texans here in the Rio Grande Valley, our state now ranks as the eighth-largest economy in the world. When we come together as one unit, we are extraordinarily more powerful and effective than we are individually. I thank the business leaders and elected officials gathered here today with the common goal of strengthening the South Texas economy. By working together and investing in higher education and strategic industries, we are building a brighter future for all Texans.”
Before the governor made his presentation, Hinojosa gave credit to Abbott for the governor’s many trips to deep South Texas.
“I could go on about what he’s done for the state of Texas, but let me focus on here in the Valley,” the veteran state senator said. “I always like to say that Gov. Abbott has visited the Rio Grande Valley more often than all the governors in the history of the state of Texas. He loves the Valley.
“His focus has been on us. I’ve never seen a governor with that kind of commitment as I have with Gov. Greg Abbott, and I’ve served under at least four or five different governors,” Hinojosa reflected. “Every time we have asked him for help, he delivers for us here in the Valley.”
According to Hinojosa, among the achievements for the Valley in which the governor has played vital roles were:
• Supporting and providing millions of dollars in state funding that led to the establishment of a Level One Trauma Center at DHR Health in Edinburg. A Level One Trauma Center provides the highest level of surgical care to trauma patients.
• The establishment of the Rio Grande Valley Metropolitan Organization (MPO), which is responsible for overseeing the metropolitan transportation planning process, encouraging economic development, strengthening transportation systems throughout the region, and allowing deep South Texas more funding opportunities for infrastructure projects.
• Directing the Texas Transportation Commission and Texas Department of Transportation to provide $150 million in the Unified Transportation Program to support the construction of the International Bridge Trade Corridor (IBTC) project.
The IBTC is a proposed non-tolled, four-lane divided roadway that would provide direct interstate access for several international ports of entry and improve the movement of goods and freight through the border region.
• Approving $205 million in state funding for two hospital facilities in the Valley aimed at expanding capacity for mental health services.
• Hinojosa also said Abbott was doing more than the federal government to help protect the state’s and nation’s borders from the humanitarian and economic costs of undocumented immigrants seeking asylum in the United States.
“This is important. This is about border security. A nation that doesn’t define its border, doesn’t protect its border, doesn’t defend its border, that nation will cease to be a nation,” Hinojosa said. “Gov. Greg Abbott has stepped up and taken the lead. Where the federal government has failed to secure our borders, he’s secured our border.”
Abbott expressed his gratitude to Hinojosa for the introduction.
“Senator, I appreciate your very kind words, and I really appreciate your public service and your leadership,” the governor said. “Whenever we had to get things done in the Capitol, we had to have certain people that are go-to people that we can lean on, and count on, to get legislation across the finish line,” the governor said.
“As Sen. Hinojosa knows, he’s one of those people that I and other leaders go to. Hinojosa delivers in the Capitol in Austin, Texas. I can tell you that the RGV and the state of Texas are better because of Sen. Hinojosa. Thank you for what you do,” Abbott concluded.
The governor also pointed out in the audience the presence of Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, Rep. R.D. “Bobby” Guerra, D-McAllen; Rep. Ryan Guillén, R-Rio Grande City; Sen. Morgan LaMantia, D-Port Isabel; and Rep. Janie López, R-San Benito.
“The delegation from this region, individually is good, but collectively is a force to be reckoned with in the Capitol, and as a force can get things done for the RGV,” Abbott said.
Abbott was also joined at the summit by Commissioner of the Texas Transportation Commission Alex Meade, Rio Grande Valley Partnership Chairman Patrick McDonnell, and other local economic leaders.
During the summit, Abbott signed the Rio Grande Valley Alliance Compact with 21 regional mayors and three county judges, declaring a shared commitment to investing in the region’s growing economy and talented workforce that will ensure a bright future for all of South Texas.
Canales, who serves as Chair, House Committee on Transportation, had his own kind words, through a blessing for Abbott, although through a very unique manner – through his prayer to open the gathering.
The Edinburg Democrat’s invocation follows:
“Good morning, Please bow your heads.
“Heavenly Father, Merciful Christ, we gather here was a community to celebrate the gift of life and the spirit that fills us individually and collectively to seek out progress. We ask that you bless us with the light, love, wisdom and grace and strength to persevere in the face of adversity and darkness.
“We ask in your blessed name that the progress we seek conforms with your will as each of us desperately longs to see your face. We ask that you guide us on our path to prosperity, renewing daily our desire to have servant hearts that serve only to glorify you.
“In the same breath, we beseech your abundant grace and endless love, and give you thanks for the multitudes wholabor to keep us fed. To the first responders and servicemen and women who place themselves in harm’s way to the greater good, bless them and keep them safe, and bless us with the presence of mind to never forget their past sacrifices.
“We ask that you illuminate our local, state and national leaders with the wisdom and a renewed sense of service for working people, for teachers, for children, for healthcare providers, for our neighbors, foreign and domestic.
“We ask that you cradle the body, heart and soul, and the mind of our governor, Greg Abbott, and that you continue to fill him with the desire to better understand the Rio Grande Valley, its people, and the critical role that it plays in the success of our great nation and our Lone Star State. Keep him safe as he travels back to Austin, Lord, with the song of South Texas in his heart.
“Always conscious of your sacrifice, Lord, may we be worthy of your forgiveness, Lord on high, gentle yet powerful, lowly yet all-mighty, shepherd yet king, in your guidance, in your power, strengthen us and strip us of our selfish pride, which only destroys us.
“In your greatness, lift us up so we may aspire to greater things. Bow us, bend us at this hour, so that these words may become the song of our heart, our mind, and our soul. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.”
Sergio Sánchez, Broadcaster and Talk Show Host at News Talk 710 KURV, who served as the master of ceremonies for the Rio Grande Valley (RGV) Economic Summit, was moved by Canales’ prayer.
“My goodness. Do I call you Reverend Terry from now on?” Sánchez said following the lawmaker’s remarks. “That’s a beautiful prayer, my goodness. That’s beautiful. I’ve got goose bumps.”
The video of the summit is available online at:
Gov. Abbott lauds role of small businesses in Texas’ historic budget surplus during appearance in McAllen
A week earlier, Gov. Greg Abbott celebrated Texas’ record-shattering jobs economy and the role small businesses play in keeping Texas a national economic leader at the Governor’s Small Business Summit in McAllen.
“Small businesses are a key part of the Texas economic juggernaut,” said Abbott, who was in town on on Thursday, August 10, 2023. “Thanks to every one of you here today who serve as the engine of the booming Texas economy, Texas continues to rank as the Best State for Business and is the nation’s top state for small business job growth.”
He said that by providing small business owners with the tools and resources they need to succeed, “we are charting a course toward an even brighter economic future for all of Texas. I looked forward to bringing the 2023 Governor’s Small Business Summit to McAllen.”
The event, which was co-hosted by the Governor’s Economic Development and Tourism Office, the McAllen Chamber of Commerce, and the Texas Workforce Commission, took place from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the DoubleTree Suites by Hilton, 1800 S. 2nd Street in McAllen.
Registration was $20 and included access to all sessions, resource providers, lunch, and complimentary headshots.
Delivering the keynote address to a crowd of more than 250 current and aspiring small business owners, Abbott highlighted the critical role of entrepreneurs in helping Texas lead the nation in job creation and small business job growth.
Joined by McAllen Mayor Javier Villalobos and other state and local business leaders, the governor recapped signing Texas’ historic property tax cut into law on Wednesday, August 9, 2023, noting that the new laws will increase Franchise Tax exemptions and appraisal caps for small businesses.
Texas is home to 3.1 million small businesses — more than 99% of Texas businesses — that employ nearly half of all working Texans.
Guest speakers includedAlberto Treviño, Texas Workforce Commissioner Representing Labor, and Adriana Cruz, Executive Director, Texas Economic Development & Tourism.
Panel topics focused on access to finance and funding, resources for minority-owned businesses, and workforce development.
The Governor’s Small Business Summits aim to help Texas small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs reach new heights by connecting them with the resources and information needed to start, strengthen, and grow a business.
For more on this and other Texas legislative news stories that affect the Rio Grande Valley metropolitan region, please log on to Titans of the Texas Legislature (TitansoftheTexasLegislature.com).