BROWNSVILLE, RGV – Brownsville Navigation District held a news conference recently to announce funding to deepen the Port of Brownsville ship channel.

NextDecade Corporation, which is considering building a liquefied natural gas export terminal at the port, will partly fund Brazos Island Harbor Channel Improvement Project. The company has an option to lease 984 acres at the port.

Among the speakers at the news conference were John Reed, chairman of BND, Matt Schatzman, president and CEO of NextDecade, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette, Texas Secretary of State David Whitley, Cameron County Judge Eddie Treviño, Jr., and Brownsville Mayor Tony Martinez. 

In a news release, BND said deepening the ship channel was a “landmark agreement” that would “transform the business landscape of the Rio Grande Valley.”

The Rio Grande Guardian, in partnership with Ron Whitlock Reports and RGV Public Rio 88 FM, has transcribed the speeches made at the news conference.

Here are the remarks of:

Brownsville Mayor Tony Martinez

So much for the prepared remarks. I think we have heard some wonderful speakers and some wonderful information. But I think the best thing that I can do for y’all today is remind ourselves that we stand on the shoulders of giants. People who have come before us, who have served before us, including Eddie as mayor of the great city of Brownsville, in the sense that these things just don’t happen.

Brownsville Mayor Tony Martinez

Matt, Deputy Secretary, Secretary, all of us have got different careers, different histories, different journeys, but we all know we didn’t get here by just walking into the door today. So, I guess at my age and the experience I have had of being the Brownsville mayor for the last eight years, has really taught me how revealing one has to be to understand all the work and dedication that comes about. So today, I think my message to you all is twofold. The first thing is, I have a tremendous amount of gratitude, gratitude to all of you that are sitting in this room because I see a lot of good friends, I see a lot of different institutions. I see bankers, I see lawyers, I see county commissioners, I see all types, even news media, everything that is here reminds me that our greatest asset is the human capital that we have in Cameron County and the City of Brownsville.

I cannot tell you how many times I have gone out in search of economic development and when I finish a conversation or I finish whatever project we are doing, how many people tell us, it is the people you have that makes us want to go to your area.

So, I want to thank each and every one of you and all the people that are listening and watching through the television or whatever, that Cameron County, you are special. And, included in Cameron County is the city of Brownsville.

So, the second message that I have for you today is, don’t forget, Brownsville is your home. Matt, I want you to know that aqui tienes tu casa. Mr. Secretaries, aqui tienen tu casa. My wife happens to be from Alice, so I guess my casa is in Alice. But, the truth of the matter is, you do need to be home because that is where your heart is. And so, when you look at a private-public partnership and you think, well that is a business, that is an economic engine, that is all kinds of jobs, that is all kinds of progress, and it is a pipeline of progress, Eddie, I think this is what we have been striving for, for a long time. And, yes, I like all of that. But, I tell you what, I can’t get away from the fact that, what I am looking for is hearts. I love the love that we have for one another.

And so I would just leave you with this thought. Remember, when I started I said that we to remember that we stand on the shoulders of giants. For all the people who have done so much for us, that came before us. The dreams belong to yesterday, the hope belongs to today and the reality belongs for tomorrow. And the reality is now. So thank you all very much.