Colonia groups should have a seat at the table when the Rio Grande Valley develops its agenda for the upcoming legislative session.

This is the view of Danny Diaz, political director of La Unión del Pueblo. Diaz gave an interview to reporters at a recent Hidalgo County Prosperity Task Force meeting in south Alamo. The meeting was called to hear the views of colonia residents. Hidalgo County Judge Richard Cortez set up the task force to address the county’s high level of poverty.

Many cities and chambers of commerce in the Rio Grande Valley are currently formulating their agendas for the legislative session starting Jan. 10, 2023. It was put to Diaz that many of the cities and chambers have more stroke in the halls of the Capitol than the colonia groups. Therefore, attaching the agenda items of the colonia groups to the wish lists of the cities and chambers may be the best way for the colonia groups to get in front of state lawmakers. 

Diaz, pictured above, agreed.

“Definitely. I think colonia groups need to be at the table with all the other groups in the Rio Grande Valley as a united front. That’s the most powerful and best way to be able to get things done for everybody in South Texas. I think that if you don’t have residents that are directly affected by some of these bad policies at the state level, we miss the mark sometimes,” Diaz told reporters.

“We think that we are covering everybody, but maybe we’re not. Maybe, we didn’t think about everybody or the whole full 100 foot spectrum situation in South Texas because we forgot to invite people that live in the hardest situations in South Texas. So, I think we (colonia groups) are a critical group to be at the table, to go lobby in Austin, to go talk to the governor’s office, the lieutenant governor, state representatives, etc.”

When it comes to state policies, colonia groups have specific agenda items related to transportation, housing, job training, healthcare and education.

Here is a video recording of the interview with LUPE’s Diaz at the Prosperity Task Force event:

Video


Editor’s Note: The above video news story is the fourth in a six-part series on the town hall meeting Hidalgo County Judge Richard Cortez and the Prosperity Task Force held in south Alamo. Part One focuses on the wrap-up remarks of colonia residents. Click to here to watch it. Part Two focuses on an interview with Judge Cortez. Click here to watch it. Part Three focuses on an interview with Hidalgo County Commissioner Eddie Cantu. Click here to watch it.


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