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MISSION, RGV – The Governor-elect of Tamaulipas says he wants to work closely with the mayors of the Rio Grande Valley.

Francisco García Cabeza de Vaca held a breakfast meeting with the mayors of McAllen, Mission and Hidalgo on Wednesday. It was held at Anzalduas International Bridge in Mission and was hosted by Rigo Villarreal, McAllen’s superintendent of bridges. After the meeting the PAN politician, who was born and raised in McAllen, held a news conference.

“For me, it’s very important to have the opportunity to send a message saying the interest I have, as the elected Governor of the State of Tamaulipas, to work hand in hand with the Mayors of the Texas (Rio Grande) Valley. Not only for the relevance of being neighbors and partners, but because of friendship,” Cabeza de Vaca said, at the beginning of the press conference.

Cabeza de Vaca made similar points to those made in interview with the Rio Grande Guardian just prior to his election victory. In what was the first public event on the American side of the border as Governor-elect, Cabeza de Vaca reaffirmed, as he had announced in his campaign, that he will pursue common goals with the State of Texas, “in economic development and in petroleum related energy projects in order to promote the potential we have as a region.”
Cabeza de Vaca said the inhabitants of the border region, both to the north and the south of the Rio Grande/Bravo, are neighbors, partners, friends, and family. “The River separates two nations but from my point of view it also unites them.” He said he knew “perfectly” well what goes on, on both sides of the border; the economy, the commercial trade, and the friendship of many years.

Cabeza de Vaca noted he has already met with the Border Patrol, the Department of Homeland Security, and members of Congress, mentioning particularly U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar of Laredo. He spoke about the possibility of a work trip to Washington “to present them our approach as a State Government.” He also emphasized that he wanted to make the border region competitive to contend with China and India in the global market and to attract investment by being faster and more efficient in the area of manufacturing.

In the part of his speech about common energy projects, the Governor-elect said: “There is a strong potential in energy matters. I was part of the architects of that Reform (The Mexican Energy Reform of 2014 which ended the 70-year PEMEX monopoly and opened the market to private capital) and I firmly believe that it will propel the economic development no just in Tamaulipas, but it will also give us opportunity to work with the ones who have a lot of experience in the petroleum related energy field, the Texan entrepreneurs; and besides, there is a great interest from entrepreneurs from Tamaulipas to work hand in hand and enhance the potentialities of this area, that I have no doubt, will generate investment and jobs as its consequence.”

Besides gaining access to the financial resources of the Merida Plan, to train and certify Tamaulipas State Police in Texas, Cabeza de Vaca stated his intentions to present his Anti-Corruption and Border Security strategy in Washington to access a 2017 fiscal year budget approved by U.S. Congress that is intended to fight corruption in Mexico, Central and South America. “I have a very good relationship with Congressman Henry Cuellar and we are thinking on visiting Washington. There is also another budget for penitentiary system certification, which is one of the big problems that the State of Tamaulipas has; and of course we want to have access to those (funds), to work hand in hand with the Texas Authorities for Border security.”

Cabeza de Vaca said there are models to follow on penitentiary reform, like the reforms enacted in Ciudad Juarez, which were very successful. He stated that he will act on the basis of successful experiences in other places.

In general, the next Governor of Tamaulipas announced his special policies in alliance and in close conjunction with the Texans, towards development and security on both sides of the border. He committed himself to strengthening the border towns with an infrastructure that permits more adequate and efficient flow of actions. “I will travel all the necessary times to Mexico City, to Washington and to the whole wide world to promote the potential we have as a region, so investors from all over turn their heads to see this border region, and I will be there to personally guarantee the investment.”