AUSTIN - Texas State Rep. Aaron Peņa was sworn in to his fourth term Tuesday at the State Capitol in Austin. After the ceremony House members quickly moved on to the important business of electing Representative Joe Straus the new Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives.

"Joe Straus is a good friend and I congratulate him on his unanimous election as our new speaker," said Representative Peņa. "We have been able to succeed in the past because of our willingness to work with members on both sides of the aisle. In these dire economic circumstances and with our state facing a grim budget outlook it becomes so much more important to put aside partisanship and do what is best for the state of Texas. That is why I invited Speaker Straus to join our colleagues in a tour of the Rio Grande Valley."

The Rio Grande Valley Partnership will be hosting legislators from across the state in a tour of the Valley from Jan. 22 through 25. Rep. Peņa has secured a commitment from Speaker Straus to join the tour. This year's tour will emphasize communities in the Lower Rio Grande Valley but will include a stop in Weslaco in Hidalgo County on the evening of Jan. 22.

The Speaker and the legislators will meet for a reception with mayors of Hidalgo County at 7:00 p.m. at the home of Patti and Larry Dittburner at 2912 S. International Blvd.

"While the Partnership usually alternates visits to the lower and upper Rio Grande Valley I thought that it was important that our new speaker and the other legislators on the tour have an opportunity to meet with community and business leader from Hidalgo County," said Rep. Peņa. "In the past the strength of our Rio Grande Valley delegation has depended upon regional cooperation. I look forward to continuing to work for a stronger South Texas."

Peņa was elected to a fourth term as State Representative from House District 40 after securing a victory in the Democratic Primary. He did not face a challenge in November. House District 40 includes the communities of Edcouch, Edinburg, Elsa, La Joya, La Villa, Sullivan City and northern Hidalgo County.

"It remains a great honor to serve my community in the Texas House," said Peņa. "With the opening of every session there is a wonderful opportunity to do great work for our citizens. I thank my constituents for their faith in electing me to represent them. I look forward to another session in service and as always my office remains open to any suggestions or ideas."