HARLINGEN, Texas – The first ever South Texas Alliance of Cities has been formed with the aim of addressing any issues impacting the region.

The area of coverage extends from San Antonio to the Rio Grande Valley and touches the lives of several million residents, many of which share similar and different social and economic characteristics.

The STAC members are: San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg; Harlingen Mayor Norma Sepulveda; Brownsville Mayor John Cowen; Mission Mayor Norie Gonzalez Garza; Weslaco Mayor David Suarez; Edinburg Mayor Ramiro Garza; and McAllen Mayor Javier Villalobos. 

With the exception of Suarez, the group met Tuesday, May 23, at Texas Regional Bank’s corporate headquarters in Harlingen. Weslaco City Commissioner Israel Gonzalez covered for Suarez. The group immediately went to business addressing a number of issues of importance to those living within the perimeters of the cone-shaped region.

That includes transportation, infrastructure, economic development and immigration.

They all signed a “compact” establishing the alliance.

An excerpt of the document pointed out the following: “The challenges faced by the communities of our region are not faced alone, and they have implications for the future prosperity of all nations in North, Central and South America. They range from increased migration across the southern border directly into South Texas, long overdue infrastructure investments to modernize and accommodate projected growth(including housing, transportation and utilities), revitalizing and empowering communities where poverty has been entrenched for generations, educating and re-skilling a multilingual workforce of the future, mitigating the effects of climate change.”

Nirenberg said getting together is a great thing for everybody.

“This is fantastic and I am excited this is happening,” said the mayor of Texas’ second largest city. “When we speak as an alliance we need to make sure we speak unanimously.”  

He then suggested to meet at least once every couple of months or every quarter in person or virtually so the flame of the alliance doesn’t go out.

Nirenberg said he will also bring some of his city’s economic partners to address these issues.

Sepulveda said South Texas finds itself in a unique situation because of the incredible tools it has, which are its youth and vibrant labor force.

Garza, the Edinburg mayor, said he could not agree more and thanked all of those present for reaching out.

Trey Mendez, the former mayor of Brownsville who attended the meeting, said the alliance will look at this as a regional thing. 

Nirenberg agreed.

“This is very humbling that we all got together,” he said. “We had a conceptual conversation before about South Texas. We met before (in Weslaco) and are now meeting for second time.

“This is time for a great hope for our communities.”

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