While we had many challenges this past year, there are so many positive things that outweigh the negative. 

For me, continuing to be your state senator is an honor and a privilege. I am grateful for the trust you give me to work tirelessly to advocate for our families and our communities in Senate District 20.

During the regular and special sessions this past year, our legislative delegation worked together and advocated for funding for our South Texas priorities. I am pleased that in addition to fully funding public education, protecting the salary increases to our teachers and school employees, and providing a 13th check to our retired teachers, we also appropriated funding for tourism, broadband expansion, and replenishing the Unemployment Compensation Fund to help our businesses. 

Additionally, we were also able to secure funds for local projects that increase access to care, education, and makes investments in our infrastructure to better serve our communities. 

Funding highlights include:

  • $16.7 million to upgrade existing laboratory facilities associated with a level 1 trauma facility in Hidalgo County and construct a new laboratory in Starr County.
  • $44.9 million appropriated to UTRGV for the construction or for the replacement of a thermal energy plant as well as new chillers to provide proper temperature control in their buildings.
  • $145 million in funding for Texas A&M Corpus Christi.
  • $44.9 million appropriated to Texas A&M Corpus Christi in Senate Bill 52 will allow for construction of the arts and media building.
  • $3 million to create the Texas A&M Corpus Christi Unmanned Aircraft Emergency Management Program.
  • $3.5 million for the Texas State Aquarium Center for Wildlife Rescue.
  • $3 million for the UT Marine Science Institute for student housing replacement.
  • Increased funding for Del Mar Community College by nearly $2 million.
  • $8.6 million for the Healthy South Texas program administered by the Texas A&M Health Science Center, headquartered in Corpus Christi.
  • $40 million for Port Access Improvements grants.
  • $30 million in Defense Economic Adjustment Assistance (DEAAG) Grants.
  • $364.3 million in funding for UTRGV. This increased funding includes support of the School of Medicine which saw an increase of $3.8 million for a total of $72.8 million.
  • $1.9 million for the Cervical Dysplasia Cancer Immunology Center which will be further enhanced by the recent announcement by UTRGV of their plans to build a new cancer and surgery center in the RGV.
  • $5 million for the South Texas International Airport in Edinburg.
  • Up to $10 million for the Raymondville Drain project.
  • $3.5 million for the Center for Urban Ecology at Quinta Mazatlan in McAllen.
  • Continued funding for Border Infrastructure (Rider 11b) which has led to $60 million per biennium being allocated by the Texas Transportation Commission.
  • $500,000 for the Trade Agricultural Inspection Grant Program which will help expedite the flow of commerce and produce at the ports of entry.
  • $1 million in grants for the Border Zone Fire Departments.
  • $500,000 for the Texas Transnational Intelligence Center in McAllen.
  • $10.1 million for local border security grants.

I am looking forward to the New Year and to continue my commitment to working tirelessly to meet the needs of our communities across Senate District 20. I wish you and your families a Happy and Healthy 2022!

Sincerely,

Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa

State Senator, District 20

Editor’s Note: The above guest column was penned by state Sen. Juan Hinojosa of McAllen. The column first appeared in an e-newsletter sent by Sen. Hinojosa to constituents at the turn of the year. The column appears in The Rio Grande Guardian International News Service with the permission of the author. Hinojosa can be reached by email via: [email protected]


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