McALLEN, RGV – McAllen Mayor Jim Darling has defended the city commission’s decision to allow U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz to participate in this year’s 4th of July Parade.
Darling told reporters Monday that Cruz’s office asked if Texas’ junior senator in Washington, D.C., could participate.
“The City of McAllen will always welcome our federal and state elected officials to our city, because by doing so, we can help them understand the needs in our community,” said City of McAllen Mayor Jim Darling. “We are so proud that Sen. Cruz asked to be a part of our parade because we feel he recognizes that the legislative issues important to our city and our residents are important to him.”
Darling added: “Hosting Sen. Cruz for our annual 4th of July Parade allows us all the opportunity to engage in productive dialogue, allowing for various viewpoints about McAllen and the entire Rio Grande Valley and the concerns, needs and reality of this region to be considered and discussed.”
The City of McAllen has in recent years invited U.S. Sens. John Cornyn and Cruz, both Republicans, and U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, a Democrat, to participate in its Christmas Parade. However, often times they have not been available.
Among those criticizing the decision to invite Cruz to participate in the 4th of July Parade is Hidalgo County Progressives. In a statement, the group said:
“We know and are aware that Ted Cruz has consistently represented extremely conservative, homophobic, xenophobic and typical classist and racist Republican ideals in Washington. However, this is not what The Rio Grande Valley stands for. The City of McAllen and its surrounding communities is home to a diverse group of people that Mr. Cruz and now, several city of McAllen “leaders” have found a way to alienate. We are more than a “border wall” talking points or a convenient “industry stakeholders” area. If he (Cruz) wants to celebrate himself in our city streets then he should also want to hear us all speak.”
The Lower Rio Grande Valley Sierra Club is also disappointed with the City of McAllen’s invitation to Cruz. In a statement, the group said:
“We believe that it is a mistake for the City of McAllen to allow such a divisive figure to have such a prominent role in our Independence Day festivities, which should be our time to come together as a community to illustrate the values that unite us.
“These are values that Senator Cruz does not seem to share. The only public interest that Cruz has taken in the Rio Grande Valley and in the border region as a whole is as a backdrop for his extreme “border war” and anti-immigrant rhetoric. He has repeatedly pushed for new border walls which in the Rio Grande Valley would strip residents of their land and harm our federal wildlife refuges. He has also used the refugee crisis to foment xenophobic fears and to justify militarizing our communities.”
The Lower Rio Grande Valley Sierra Club said Cruz is also a “climate change denier.” The group said Cruz asserts that climate scientists working on the issue are “global warming alarmists,” and that he encouraged the Trump administration to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord.
“At a time when McAllen has just broken its all-time heat record, we cannot afford to give a platform to a factually-challenged politician who is leading us toward an unsustainable future.”
The Lower Rio Grande Valley Sierra Club added: “Senator Cruz does not represent the best interests of McAllen and should not be at the forefront of our Fourth of July festivities. We urge the City Commission to rescind the invitation and to disentangle our City-wide celebration from Cruz’s toxic politics.”