AUSTIN - The Texas House of Representatives took an important step April 8 in support of a veterans hospital for the Rio Grande Valley.

The House Committee on Defense and Veterans Affairs' heard testimony and voted out House Concurrent Resolution 86 by State Rep. Aaron Pena. HCR 86 would express the support of the 81st Texas Legislature for the construction of a veterans hospital in the Rio Grande Valley to the President of the United States, the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs and the United States Congress.

"This resolution will carry the message to our federal government, with the full weight of the Texas Legislature behind it, that the Rio Grande Valley needs a hospital for veterans of South Texas," said Pena. "In our last march to San Antonio I told the veterans that I would continue to try and bring our state and federal government together to get this hospital built. My sincere thanks to those who traveled to Austin to testify on this legislation."

A group of veterans and their families traveled to Austin to testify in support of HCR 86 which was heard at the state capitol in the afternoon of April 8. Those who testified included:Tony Cordova, Tony Arenas, Rey Oropez, Emilio De Los Santos, Mike Escobedo, Jose A. Ibarra, Staff Sgt. Rey Molano and Homer Gallegos. The committee was so moved by the testimony given by the veterans that they broke with protocol and immediately voted the legislation out of committee.

An HCR is used to convey the sentiment of the legislature and may offer a commendation, a memorial, a statement of congratulations, a welcome, or a request for action by another governmental entity. This type of legislative measure requires passage by both chambers of the legislature and generally requires action by the governor.

HCR 86 directs the Texas Secretary of State to forward official copies of the resolution to the President of the United States, to the secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, to the speaker of the house of representatives and the president of the senate of the United States Congress, and to all the members of the Texas delegation to the Congress with the request that this resolution be officially entered in the Congressional Record as a memorial to the Congress of the United States of America.