Edinburg’s involvement with the Texas Border Coalition (TBC) assures that the city has a renewed voice in all legislative matters related to the border, according to mayor Richard Garcia.
The mayor has confirmed that Edinburg has once again become a member of the TBC, an organization that bills itself as the voice in Austin and Washington for the 17 counties along the Texas-Mexico border.
Earlier this month Garcia and mayor pro-tem Noe Garza held a private meeting with TBC representatives at the behest of County Judge JD Salinas to discuss “stimulating membership.”
The result was the announcement to the Edinburg Review, that confirms what the mayor said was one of his first orders of business as he began his second term in May. Garcia often pledged the city’s renewed membership with the TBC throughout his successful campaign calling for a “spirit of cooperation” among border cities.
Former Mayor Joe Ochoa did not participate in TBC events during his tenure, which ended in May.
“I think it’s important for us to participate. We’re dealing with the powers that be in Austin and Washington and they want to hear directly from mayors and county judges,” said Garcia, who was chairman of the TBC for two years in his previous term as mayor from 2003 to 2006.
At that time the TBC was known as the Texas Border Infrastructure Coalition (TBIC), and addressed infrastructure needs of the region. The group became the TBC when it focused on issues that affected the border region’s overall quality of life, according to TBC officials. Currently the group is chaired by Chad Foster, mayor of Eagle Pass.
The TBC has been in the national spotlight due to its opposition to the border wall. Also in its 10-year history, the group has gained notoriety for its strong advocacy for border communities in the fields of transportation, health care and workforce training.
“I think we were very effective in the past. I think we got a lot accomplished because our membership was strong and we would go in force,” Garcia said about his former chairmanship.
With the membership into the TBC Garcia said he now plans to get the private sector involved. Also at issue is the appeal to Mexican investors, who can continue to stimulate the local economy during tough economic times. All issues that involve international trade, education, job development and other issues are of primary important to citizens, Garcia said.
“We have to be assured and involved to the degree that there’s no dampening of the spirit in Mexico for investment here as a result of this (Border) wall for example, which I think is ridiculous,” Garcia said. “We have to do what’s necessary to ensure that we continue to stimulate our economy locally by encouraging Mexican investment here.”
Representatives from the TBC say Garcia has already made an immediate impact in the TBC calling the mayor “enthusiastic” and are eager to have him on board.
“As former chairman of the coalition, to have his voice and wisdom and leadership to take the agenda and fashion it to an even better one, we are excited to have him back on the team,” said William “Billy” Moore, spokesperson with ViaNovo, a consultancy group based in Washington D.C. ViaNovo has worked as a consultancy group for the TBC for about two years.
“It’s pretty high on his list of priorities on how he wants to lead the City of Edinburg. It’s to make sure we are all working together, not just in the County of Hidalgo but throughout the Valley and the rest of the 17 counties that make up the border region,” Moore said.