Thank you for recognizing my frequent visits down there. It has been said that I have visited the Rio Grande Valley more than any other governor in Texas history. All I can tell you is I will increase the number of visits that I take down there.

For one, I love the region. But also, the region is playing such a very prolific role in economic development. We have a great working relationship with your economic development teams, and we have a great vision for what we want to achieve down there.


First steps first, however. One of the first steps we collectively need to take in order to re-engage fully in our business sector is to make sure that we fully contain COVID-19. The good news is we are taking dramatic leaps and steps to make sure we are able to contain COVID-19. This morning I was at a ceremony where we rolled out through UPS about another 125,000 vaccines, just today.

So, just this week, we have distributed about a quarter of a million vaccines. Over the course of just December, we will distribute more than a million vaccines across the state of Texas. To put that in some level of context, we will provide more vaccines in just three weeks of this month than the total number of Texans who have tested positive for COVID-19 during the entirety of this pandemic.

Those vaccine numbers will continue to increase in the coming weeks. Many of you have heard of the current vaccine that is being distributed, the Pfizer vaccine. We expect to have, in addition to that, next week, the Moderna vaccine that will increase the volumes of the vaccines we are capable of distributing. That volume will continue to increase going into the months of January and February.

As you probably have seen, the first people to receive the vaccines are our healthcare workers on the frontlines who have been putting their lives at risk to take care of those who are in need. And then we are focusing on the population that is most vulnerable to losing their lives because of exposure to COVID-19. And then with other age groups, just working our way through to make sure that we will be able to vaccinate everybody who wants access to the vaccine.

In addition to that I do want to emphasize something to you all. So, if you have an interest, you can reach out to your local hospital communities to make sure this is being done. We have provided to the Rio Grande Valley these antibiotic therapeutical drugs that are able to treat people who contract COVID-19 to make sure they either don’t go to the hospital or they get out of the hospital a whole lot quicker. These are the drugs made by Regeneron and Eli Lilly that you saw so many people take and quickly overcome COVID-19. Everybody that I talk to who has ever taken it says they feel better than they have ever felt before in their lives. And so, I strongly urge your local healthcare communities to utilize these antibody therapeutic drugs that we know are on the shelves in the hospitals in the Rio Grande Valley as well as elsewhere. And know that we also have additional supplies if they ever run out.

Elon Musk 

All that said, I believe that the Texas economic engine is going to press on the accelerator here in the coming months. You have seen a lot of stories taking place in regions across the state of Texas about the great demand that we are seeing from businesses wanting to relocate from other states or, if not to relocate, then expand business operations in Texas.

I have had a lot of conversations with people who have a keen focus on the Rio Grande Valley. It involves Elon Musk who, by the way… Elon Musk loves South Texas. And he tells me he wants to expand his operations in South Texas.

Separate from that I have talked to other business leaders who really want to tap into the labor pool, the sophisticated employee talent that you have in the Rio Grande Valley. And so, I see a lot of promise for future economic development opportunities in the Rio Grande Valley. We have a great team, headed up by Adrianna Cruz in my office, who will be ready, willing and able to work with you any time to assist you at the local level to make sure that you have access to the biggest and the best economic opportunities. And just know that we are one of your best partners to assist you to make sure you are going to be able to grow economically.

Editor’s Note: The above commentary is based on a presentation Gov. Greg Abbott made recently via Zoom to the Rio Grande Valley Partnership. In his presentation, Abbott mentioned Adriana Cruz. She is executive director of the economic development and tourism division within the Office of the Governor.

Editor’s Note: The above commentary is the first of a two-part series on Gov. Abbott’s remarks to the Rio Grande Valley Partnership. Part Two will focus on the upcoming legislative session.

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