MCALLEN, Texas – Michael Fallek says he will continue McAllen’s historic connections to international trade and commerce if he is elected mayor of the city. 

The businessman and community leader made clear his support for the maquiladora industry in an exclusive audio interview with the Rio Grande Guardian. The interview is part of the RGG’s Meet the Candidates podcast series.

“It (cross-border trade) is a absolutely crucial to the success of McAllen. And not just McAllen. Valley-wide. McAllen has to lead in the Valley. As McAllen goes, the Valley goes and South Texas goes. And the cross-border trade is absolutely critical to that success,” Fallek said.

Michael Fallek

Fallek pointed out that his father was one of the pioneers of McAllen’s foreign trade zone.

“I grew up in McAllen, I grew up crossing the border every week, or every other week, or three times a week. Whether it was for dinner or to tour some other development across the border,” Fallek said.

“Running hotels now, as we do in the Valley and specifically in McAllen, that is our business base; the people coming down from Chicago, New York, California, but also internationally from Japan, South Korea, everywhere else. They come and they stay in McAllen to cross the border and service the plant that their companies have there. It is absolutely crucial.”

Fallek says the disruption of supply chains caused by the coronavirus pandemic has made people realize the importance of manufacturing locally. He says this will provide more opportunities for McAllen, Reynosa and the Valley.

“It (cross-border trade) is a significant focus of mine. Not just because that is what has helped build McAllen but, I feel like, especially these days, as we’ve understood more and more through the pandemic how the just-in-time manufacturing process works, that local is probably going to be better,” Fallek said. 

“I feel like we have a real opportunity to bring additional businesses and manufacturing plants to the border region and we need to be reaching out and establishing those increased ties to really build not just additions on what we have but new opportunities, new companies, new employment into the Valley, whether that is located on the McAllen side, whether it is located in Mission, Pharr, or whether it is located in Reynosa.”

Fallek added: “The majority of the people managing those (maquila) plants are probably going to be located in McAllen. And they are going to be spending money in McAllen. It is absolutely crucial that we continue to focus on that industry.”

Editor’s Note: The above podcast is part of the Rio Grande Guardian’s Meet the Candidates series.

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