RGV Partnership-sponsored tour extends to education, infrastructure, transportation and healthcare

In her address to visiting lawmakers from across the state, South Texas College President Dr. Shirley A. Reed highlighted the new STC Regional Center for Public Safety Excellence (RCPSE) as a response to the need for highly trained public safety excellence professionals along the border.

Meeting with more than 70 senators and House representatives who arrived for a legislative tour from Jan. 24 to Jan. 27, Dr. Reed along with STC Director of External Affairs Wanda Garza said they emphasized that the new RCPSE is the first training center in Texas to provide a comprehensive plan to train state, local and federal officers.

Dr. Reed said she appreciated the chance to speak to legislators as the 86th Legislative Session gets underway.

“Any opportunity to help our legislators visit the border is a welcome opportunity,” Dr. Reed said following the event. “Both the challenges and opportunities were clearly visible as we toured the ports of entry.”

Garza said the four-day tour of Hidalgo and Starr Counties sites gave local leaders the opportunity to showcase our community and discuss legislative priorities that will benefit the South Texas Region.”

“The college was able to jump on the bus and talk with legislators about the Regional Center for Public Safety Excellence,” Garza said. “As we passed the Center, the members were able to see a state-of-the-art facility that will provide highly specialized training to local, federal and state law enforcement professionals.”

Organized by the Rio Grande Valley Partnership, the Legislative Tour is held every two years during the legislative session so lawmakers have a chance to engage with local communities and supporters.

Since 1975, the legislative tour has put communities of the Valley in direct conversation with Texas legislators focusing on key regional topics, including: education, infrastructure, transportation, healthcare, manufacturing, agriculture, and international relations.

Lawmakers in attendance included Sens. Nathan Johnson, D-Dallas, Jose R. Rodriguez, D-El Paso, Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, and Eddie Lucio Jr., D-Brownsville. More than 35 Texas House representatives, Republican and Democrat, were also on the tour along with the Valley delegation which included Reps. Alex Dominguez, D-Brownsville, Eddie Lucio III, D-Brownsville, Oscar Longoria, D-Mission, Armando Martinez, D-Weslaco, Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, Bobby Guerra, D-McAllen, Sergio Munoz Jr., D-Palmview, and Ryan Guillen, D-Rio Grande City.

“As we engage with our legislators and delegation from the Valley showcasing our priorities that are important to them, we need to have a forum,” said Sergio Contreras, CEO & President – RGV Partnership. “We need to be sure we talk about public education, finance reform, and in particular the challenges and strengths of our communities.”