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Sen. Hinojosa, Rep. Canales pay tribute to Edinburg’s successes, future as part of 2024 State of the City Address by Mayor Ramiro Garza, Jr. - Titans of the Texas Legislature

FEATURED, FROM LEFT: Alma Uribe, District Director, and Karla Ponce, District Aide, both with the House District 40 Office in Edinburg for Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, were among several hundred persons on Thursday, March 7, 2024, in attendance at the Region One Education Service Center, 1900 W. Schunior Street, for the Edinburg 2024 State of the City Address by Mayor Ramiro Garza, Jr. Through separate video presentations prior to the mayor’s address, Canales and Sen. Juan Hinojosa, D-McAllen, praised the city’s achievements and plans for the future. 



Sen. Hinojosa, Rep. Canales pay tribute to Edinburg’s successes, future as part of 2024 State of the City Address by Mayor Ramiro Garza, Jr.

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What a difference a year makes.


In the case of Edinburg, it seems every year going back decades has seen advances beyond those of many Texas cities with a population similar to that of the Hidalgo County county seat.

“Very few cities have a university, very few cities have a medical school, like we do here in Edinburg. And just as important, very few cities south of San Antonio have an arena like the one we have in Edinburg,” says Sen. Juan Hinojosa, D-McAllen. “We’re going to have a football stadium soon.”

Edinburg is home to the main campus of the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley and the UTRGV School of Medicine, the city-owned, 9,000-seat Bert Ogden Arena, which is the largest indoor entertainment venue in deep South Texas and which hosts major sports and live entertainment, and UTRGV Stadium, which will be the home in 2025 of the NCAA Division 1 UTRGV Vaqueros football team. 

“Keep in mind that I also represent Corpus Christi. Keep in mind when I look at Edinburg, it’s an attractive city for people to come and live here, to do business here, getting jobs here,” Hinojosa continued. “You look around at the number of subdivisions being constructed, the number of homes being built, the new, start-up businesses, it’s pretty amazing and very impressive.”

Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, who along with Hinojosa, include Edinburg in their respective state legislative districts, couldn’t agree more.

“It’s the 12th-fastest growing city in the nation, and the fifth-fastest growing city in Texas. That should tell you something. People are coming to Edinburg because of the quality of life,” said Canales. “You name it, Edinburg has it. You have a hometown feel with a sense of family, a sense of community, and a true sense of safety. Edinburg is one of the safest cities in the nation. When you put all those together, there’s not a better place to live.”

The two state lawmakers made their comments through separate video presentations that helped kick off the 2024 State of the City Address, delivered by Mayor Ramiro Garza, Jr., on Thursday, March 7, 2024, at the Region One Education Service Center, 1900 W. Schunior Street.

“It is the All-America City. We look around, we honor our vets, we honor our workers, we have a huge sense of community from our parades to our cookout events, the festivals that we have. We do it right,” Canales noted. “In Edinburg, we don’t cut any corners, we treat each other like family, and we are in the epicenter of the fastest growing region of the United States, which is the Rio Grande Valley. There is action all over the place. So it doesn’t take much but a visit to realize that Edinburg is where it’s at. “

The All-America City Award, bestowed annually upon 10 cities nationwide by the National Civic League, recognize communities that leverage civic engagement, collaboration, inclusiveness, and innovation to successfully address local issues.

Edinburg was named All-America City in 1968, 1995, and 2000, and was a finalist in 2019.

The National Civic League is an American nonpartisan, non-profit organization founded in 1894 as the “National Municipal League”. It adopted its new name in 1937 . Its mission is to advance civic engagement to create equitable, thriving communities. To upgrade quality and efficiency of government in cities, it enlists the business and professional classes, and promotes greater involvement in government. Key issues include, but are not limited to: racial equality, environmental sustainability, health equity, youth leadership, education and housing.

Edinburg has long been involved in the state legislative process at the Texas Capitol, a credit to its people and the elected leaders who make their presence known in the highest corridors of power in Austin.

“One of the things we have in Edinburg that is very attractive is we have an experienced leadership. Mayor Ramiro Garza, Jr. and the city council focus on priorities of the citizens of Edinburg: jobs, health care, education, public safety, quality of life, the parks that we have, the entertainment that we have,” Hinojosa observed. “They are constantly in Austin, asking for funding to make sure we get our fair share of (state money), not only for transportation, but for other infrastructure to mitigate flooding and increase our water capacities.”

“Experience Edinburg.” 

That was the theme of the mayor’s address, in which he showcased the city’s triumphs in 2023 and outlined plans for the future.

In his speech, Garza highlighted numerous key projects and initiatives that have propelled Edinburg forward. Economic development took center stage as construction activity soared to a historic $397 million, marking a significant increase of $103 million over 2022. 

“As we proudly make history, our heads are held high, and the construction activity of $397 million stands as the pinnacle achievement for our city,” the first-term mayor said. “Our growth is downright explosive.”

Residential growth also experienced a boom, with 54 subdivisions recorded in 2023, including more than 2,000 new lots. 

Garza announced that Edinburg is on track to surpass these numbers in 2024, with 145 active subdivisions currently under review or in the construction phase, expected to bring more than 4,000 lots onto the market.

Furthermore, sales tax revenue hit an all-time high in Edinburg, with almost $37 million collected in 2023, representing a 6.2% increase compared to 2022.

Garza also championed regionalism, highlighting the historic Rio Grande Valley Economic Summit and the establishment of the South Texas Alliance of Cities, which garnered national attention during President Joe Biden’s recent visit to Brownsville.

“Our unity is the key to addressing the challenges of our rapidly growing region, and we’ve already seen the payoff of working together,” the mayor said. “This push for a unified voice is now bringing us the national attention we deserve.”

The address also acknowledged a 4.6% overall reduction in crime in the past year and honored beloved Fire Chief Shawn Snider with a moment of silence. 

Infrastructure developments totaling $96 million were highlighted, including street and drainage improvements, park and trail upgrades, and public facilities enhancements.

“In Edinburg, we are not just talking about growth and success. We’re making it happen,” Garza said.

Exciting announcements included Edinburg being chosen as the home for UTRGV Vaqueros football games, marking a significant milestone for the city. 

Cultural arts events and fitness initiatives were also spotlighted, along with inclusivity efforts through the creation of an inclusivity task force.

Looking ahead to 2024, Garza outlined ongoing projects such as the Ebony Hills Golf Course improvements, a new service center, and a major wastewater treatment plant expansion.

The mayor concluded the address by expressing pride in Edinburg’s explosive growth, emphasizing the city’s diverse offerings ranging from 16 NCAA Division 1 athletic programs to festivals and cultural events. 

“We have so much in this Hometown of Heroes that sets us apart,” Garza said, a reference to a yearly event where citizens nominate fellow residents for “extraordinary public service or exemplary contribution.”

“Where else can you go to NBA G-League professional basketball games, major university events, concerts featuring international and national performances, or a festival all on the same night? Edinburg is not just a city. It’s an experience,” the mayor said.

Texas Health and Human Services Commission warns Texans about scammers targeting Lone Star cards 

The Texas Health and Human Services Commission has been receiving an increasing number of complaints about a phone scam targeting clients who use Lone Star Cards and receive benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). 

“There are millions of Texans who need our benefits, and we don’t want them taken advantage of,” said Molly Regan, Deputy Executive Commissioner, Access and Eligibility Services, Texas Health and Human Services. “We know how important these benefits are, so we’re doing all we can to help prevent fraud and make it easy to report it when it happens.” 

The Texas Health and Human Services Commission’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) reports that their Fraud Hotline is getting 10-15 complaints per day about the new telephone scam that involves a technique called spoofing. 

The scam mimics the Lone Star Card Help Desk, lulling victims into a false sense of security. 

Victims report receiving a call that lists the Lone Star Card Help Desk caller ID (800-777-7328). The caller, sometimes a prerecorded voice, asks for the client’s PIN, Social Security number and date of birth in exchange for new or increased benefits. 

“As the OIG Fraud Hotline identifies new and increasingly sophisticated scams, we want Texans to be able to protect themselves against those attempts to steal their information,” said Texas Health and Human Services Commission Inspector General Raymond Charles Winter. “Regardless of what the caller ID says, do not provide any personal information in response to an unsolicited call.” 

Clients should note that the Texas Health and Human Services Commission will never reach out by phone, text or email to ask for their card number and PIN. 

If you are concerned about a call you received regarding your benefits, confirm it is the Texas Health and Human Services Commission by hanging up and calling the number on the back of your Lone Star Card. 

Anyone affected by Lone Star Card fraud should take immediate action by calling the Lone Star Card Help Desk at 800-777-7328, reporting it to the OIG at 800-436-6184, and contacting their local law enforcement agency. 

Anyone who lost benefits as a result of the scam can request replacement benefits through their local HHSC office

Anyone with an immediate need for food assistance can contact a local food bank or food pantry. They can find one in their area by calling 2-1-1 and selecting option 1, or by visiting For more information on how to avoid fraud, visit the HHS Lone Star Card Fraud Awareness and Prevention web page.


Roxanne Lerma and Thomas Vázquez contributed to this article. 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 (

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