AUSTIN, Texas – On election night, I made a promise to the people of Texas. As governor-elect, I would begin work immediately to keep Texas the beacon of opportunity and the best state in the United States of America.
That is the same promise I made this Tuesday to the people of the Rio Grande Valley at an economic development roundtable with a bipartisan group of business and political leaders in Brownsville.
There is a reason the Rio Grande Valley was the first of my visits after the election. There is probably no region in the state of Texas poised for greater advancement because of the potential that is being realized.
With the Rio Grande Valley playing such an important role economically and culturally for the future of the state, I will ask for the indulgence of voters in Cameron County as I announce my first appointment as governor-elect: I am asking Cameron County Judge Carlos Cascos to serve as our next secretary of state.
I know Judge Cascos will give the Rio Grande Valley a strong voice in Austin, and he will inspire the next generation of Hispanic leaders as he works on behalf of all the people of Texas.
First elected in 2006, Judge Cascos is a certified public accountant and has previously served as a county commissioner and on the Texas Public Safety Commission, which oversees the Texas Department of Public Safety.
As secretary of state, Judge Cascos will act as the chief elections officer for Texas, administering election law and educating future voters. He will also oversee the registration of businesses and corporations in Texas as well as serve as liaison for the governor’s office on border and Mexican affairs and as chief protocol officer for state and international affairs.
Judge Cascos came here as a young boy from Matamoros and became a permanent resident and then citizen of the United States as an adolescent. Like many Texas families, his parents wanted to raise their children in a place where opportunity knows no limits, where faith, family and free enterprise truly matter.
That same freedom has made Texas the envy of the nation today, but there is more work to do.
Every Texas family should benefit from the Texas economic miracle. Though unemployment rates in the Rio Grande Valley are trending down, they are still too high. And many families struggle to make ends meet. We must do more to lift wages for hardworking Texans.
As governor-elect, I have a plan to spark a new era of economic expansion in the Rio Grande Valley and all across Texas.
I will focus on policies that attract jobs, promote opportunity and reward ingenuity to help entrepreneurs in the Rio Grande Valley grow more small businesses and to attract more employers to South Texas like SpaceX and the medical school.
But nothing is more important for the future of the Rio Grande Valley than providing our children the education they need to compete for the jobs of tomorrow.
I want all of our schools to be the best in America. I want every child reading at grade level by third grade. I want every high school diploma to truly certify that a student is career-ready or college-ready. And I want to ensure that college is more affordable for more Texas families.
From the Red River to the Rio Grande, the bonds we share as Texans transcend our differences.
We all want to live in safer communities with a border secured against the drug cartels, their violence and their gangs. We all want to give our children lives worthy of their promise. And we all want to ensure even greater opportunity for future generations of Texans to come.
Working together with strong leaders like Judge Cascos, I know the future of Texas is bright.
Greg Abbott is the governor-elect of Texas.