AUSTIN, By the end of the day, after the Rio Grande Valley VIPs had walked through the Capitol corridors distributing gift bags to House and Senate offices, everyone was tired.
This was my first RGV Day and I was not sure what to expect. There were far more people involved than I imagined. The Valley sent a bus filled with local leaders and many drove up on their own to Austin, that sent a strong message. Even the Valley legislative delegation was surprised just how many VIPs where participating compared to previous years were there was seldom participation. I think it gave them renewed vigor to push even harder for the Valley’s legislative agenda.
RGV Public Radio 88 FM
Listen to my interview with Mario Muñoz on RGV Public Radio 88 FM:
Legislative Panel Discussions
During the discussion panel, state representatives like René Oliveira and Eddie Lucio, III, were brutally honest with the VIPs. They explained how tough things would be this session because of a funding shortfall. They said it will not be easy to get the monies for the programs the VIPs were pushing because of the budget shortfall.
I have to commend the involvement of the state representatives and senators from the Valley and the VIPs that made RGV Day such a success. Everyone got involved. Everyone’s main objective was to protect and push the Valley forward, so that people from other parts of Texas know what the Valley is all about.
People were excited and perhaps surprised to see how much participation there was from our region. Now, our legislators have seen the strength of feeling on display from the VIPs, they want to shout out the concerns of the people.
As I say, the legislative delegation was very honest about how difficult a session it is going to be to get funding for Valley projects. Rep. Oliveira, for example, explained that school funding is not equitable and needs to be revamped.
The legislators said they are going to try their best but warned that change is not going to happen overnight. However, the legislative delegation sent an encouraging message to the community of the Valley to get involved even more.
I also liked the way the day was planned. After being honored with resolutions on the floor of the House and Senate a luncheon was held at the Sheraton Hotel, just a few blocks from the Capitol. The Valley legislators spoke in depth about the legislative session. It was very informative, with in-depth discussions about President Trump’s executive order to build a border wall and whether an import tax should be imposed on Mexican goods to pay for it.
Then, when we returned to the Capitol, the VIPs split up into small groups to distribute gift bags to the office of senators in Austin who focus on departments they Valley seeks aid from, such as transportation and. Border security. This was cleverly done. The VIPs came bearing gifts but also had a message, with literature about the Valley’s legislative agenda. They also encouraged staff members to come to a reception being held at the Capitol later in the evening. The reception showed the hospitality the Valley has. It was a great networking event with the Valley legislators who were very approachable and knowledgeable. They wanted to know more about what was going on back home.
Although not all senators who were invited attended, they sent their staff on their behalf.
At the end of the day, everyone was very tired from all the walking. But through that walking, we got to see what happens at the Capitol. It was a great experience. It was also great to hear someone with the passion of Rep. Terry Canales speak on the House floor. He explained to his colleagues why, when they focus on the Valley they are effectively focusing on Texas’ future.