MCALLEN, RGV – Dismissing claims there is a crisis on the border, McAllen Mayor Jim Darling placed a big emphasis on border security in his State of the City address on Tuesday.

More than 1,000 people attended the event, which was held at the McAllen Convention Center.

It’s unfortunate that some of the rhetoric about the immigration situation and the border wall makes our friends ‘up north’ – and you know ‘up north’ means anywhere past Encino – makes folks think that McAllen is not safe. This is just not true, as these statistics show,” Darling said.

“I have said this before and I will say it again here—there is a “crisis”—but the “crisis” is not at the border, it’s in Washington D.C. where being for or against a wall completely defines your political status period. I hope our elected officials from both parties will dial back the rhetoric and focus on fixing our immigration and asylum system and agree on sound border security.”

Darling said that until Washington “works it out,” and while the federal government continues to release asylum-seeking women, children and ‘family units’ into McAllen, “we will continue to support groups that help these ‘visitors’ to McAllen. Groups like Catholic Charities, Salvation Army, the Food Bank, and all the local churches and civic groups that help these folks.”

In interviews afterwards with reporters, Darling said: “We have been the victim of Washington politics since the 2014 rhetoric on why we are not safe. People still think that there is a crisis on the border, that we are being overrun, etc. 

“The other thing is that we know border security. Our neighbors and friends are Border Patrol, CBP, so we know what it is and it is sad to see Washington use that as a political football for you know who to get reelected instead of really tackling the problem of what the problems on the borders are. We know there are problems on the borders, but they are not what they say and they are solvable if they (Washington) just work together.”

Darling referred to other issues during his speech, such as the state of the economy and quality of life. He said the unemployment rate in McAllen was 4.1 in November 2018; the McAllen is deemed the 26th happiest city in USA; that more educational spaces are opening up thanks to Texas A&M University in Tres Lagos; that the UT-Rio Grande Valley research center will be open in 2019; and that McAllen is where people can find the best tacos in the United States.

However, at the end of the event, reporters wanted to ask the mayor and other McAllen leaders questions about border security. District 5 McAllen City Commissioner John Ingram, told reporters that the “crisis” at the border was merely gossip.

“I think it’s pure gossip for people who live in Washington. It is a pity that they talk badly about us because we know how to handle the border and this does do damage. For example, many people in Mexico think that we are to blame for that gossip, but no, we are with our brothers in Mexico and we want to continue working together,” Ingram said.

Hidalgo County Sheriff Eddie Guerra endorsed what was said by Darling, telling reporters that insecurity has decreased throughout the county.

“In McAllen we have the safest city. Other cities in Hidalgo County also are experiencing their lowest crime statistics. When we are talking about crime statistics, we are talking about the uniform crime report that the city has to turn in to the FBI and in Hidalgo County we are experiencing the lowest crime rates we have experienced in the past 25 years.”

Guerra told the Rio Grande Guardian that from 2009 to 2019 the crime index was reduced by 50 percent.

“I have talked to some chiefs of police, in Mission, Weslaco and Edinburg and they are also experiencing very low crime statistics,” Guerra confirmed. He said the community deserves praise.

“We cannot do our job without the partnership of community members and we are very proud to have the community here in the Hidalgo County and the cities all working together and helping us to reduce our crime rate.”

Guerra confirmed that there is no crisis or insecurity in the Valley as a result of the arrival of Central Americans.

“They don’t stay here on the border, they normally go to urban areas of the country, so we don’t have that crisis here, just like the mayor said, the crisis is in D.C.,” Guerra argued.

The sheriff, however, said that in the county there are still other crimes that have always existed.

“Because we are on the border, we do have crimes that other counties do not have: human smuggling, human trafficking and drug smuggling, but we have always have had those type of crimes.”

Speaking of insecurity, Mayor Jim Darling told the media that he seeks to help Mexico with their problems.

“I always say what happens to Mexico happens to us. I truly still believe that it’s true and I am happy with the new president in Mexico. I think there is going to be some improvements on the border and so I think we need to go over there and lend our support however we can; to rebuild relationships; (and to overcome) the problems (we have seen) over the years because of the situation of violence in Mexico.”

Prepared Remarks

Here are Mayor Darling’s Prepared Remarks in full:

Thank you, Sydney and John, for that great introduction. 

And thanks again to the McAllen Fire Department for making sure I got here in one piece – well, sort of!! 

Thanks to all of our wonderful sponsors, great corporate citizens make a great city. 

And thank you all for coming today. It is a pleasure and an honor to be here with you. Thanks you for supporting the City of McAllen, by coming. Thanks to you, this event is sold out and all the net proceeds go to local charities. 

I want to thank everyone at the McAllen Convention Center for welcoming us and hosting us, and thank all the City departments that help with this great event. 

I want to thank all of the local, state, and federal elected officials here today. 

I would like to thank all these leaders and officials for their service and ask you to please stand and be recognized—all of our elected officials in the audience.

I would like to thank all of our City administration, staff, and employees for making McAllen what it is, and especially thanks to the MCN crew for putting this State of the City event together. As you can see we had a lot of fun doing it – at least I did. 

As your Mayor, it is my privilege to be with you today and to share with you the State of our City, and also the Magic of McAllen.

2018 was definitely an exciting year and we certainly had our challenges this year. We had the “flood of the century,” the “zero” tolerance and separation of family policy, the migrant “caravan” and  deployment of US troops, the armed robbery at the Mall; we welcomed the First Lady, the Vice-President and (in early 2019) President Trump to our City. 

All of these things and more focused the attention of the nation on our City—not all of it was positive, but we weathered those storms. 

The City of McAllen has remained focused on our core principles, and seized opportunities to make our City even better. We continue to move ahead with purpose in McAllen and the state of our City is strong, vibrant, and hopeful. 

As your Mayor, along with the City Commission, we remain committed to being fiscally conservative, transparent, and optimistic about our future. Let me say something about our City Commission, I think we have a great team, they do their homework and all contribute at our meetings and although we don’t always agree, we move on in a professional and courteous manner. We continue to encourage economic development. We also remain committed to creating an environment in our city that will provide a ‘safe and sound’ place to live and that promotes a great quality of life for all who live, work and play in McAllen. 

I have talked in previous State of the City speech about the “EST’s” – or best, highest, lowest,–things that measure our City’s progress. Here are a few from the past year. 

One of the things they warn you about in giving speeches is to not be redundant—not say the same thing year after year. But here’s an exception and something that I am VERY happy to repeat year after year—McAllen is one of the safest cities in the State and, in fact, one of the safest cities of our size in the entire country! 

Last year, the overall crime rate in McAllen was down by more than 7 and 1⁄2 percent, marking its lowest rate in 34 years. Property crimes were down by more than four percent and violent crime in McAllen dropped by more than 40% during 2018, with 80 fewer violent crimes and actually zero homicides in our City during the year. (This, by the way does not include the “contemplated” but not carried out category.) 

Robberies and aggravated assaults were at the lowest rate than at any time in our city since formal crime reporting began. Our Police Department can’t do it without the help of our citizens and groups such as McAllen Crime Stoppers. 

Our thanks to Chief Victor Rodriquez and the men and women of McAllen law enforcement. They do a great job! In fact, all law enforcement officers please stand and be recognized. 

We got to a see our Police in action during the attempted armed robbery last year at La Plaza Mall. Think about this, you’re off duty and you get a 911 call, seven robbers storming into the jewelry store that is seconds away – what would you do, even if trained for this event? Well, the quick action of McAllen Police, and an officer from the City of Pharr, both on duty and off duty officers, along with other law enforcement officers, not only stopped the robbery from taking place, but also captured every single suspect and that was done without a single shot being fired. And they did it within three minutes of the 911 call! What could have been a tragedy turned into almost a “non-event” (except of course, on social media! I may talk about social media influence)—due to the bravery and quick action of some of McAllen’s finest. You will get a chance to meet some of those folks shortly. 

It’s unfortunate that some of the rhetoric about the immigration situation and the border wall makes our friends “up north” (and you know—“up north” means anywhere past Encino!)—makes folks think that McAllen is not safe. This is just not true, as these statistics show. I have said this before and I will say it again here—there is a “crisis”—but the “crisis” is not at the border, it’s in Washington D.C. where being for or against a wall completely defines your political status period! I hope our elected officials from both parties will dial back the rhetoric and focus on fixing our immigration and asylum system and agree on sound border security. 

So until Washington works it out, and while the federal government continues to release asylum seeking women, children and “family units” into our City, we will continue to support groups that help these “visitors” to McAllen. Groups like Catholic Charities, Salvation Army, the Food Bank, and all the local churches and civic groups that help these folks. 

Like the McAllen PD, our Fire Department continues to do a great job! I mentioned last year that, due in large part to their work, our “safety rating” had improved—meaning lower insurance rates for all of us, the lowest in our City’s history. 

The City’s commitment to a great Fire Service continued in 2018. So let me do a little more “magic” and show you that! Thanks Commissioner Ingram! 

Despite a great Public Safety program, and even though the City is constantly preparing for emergencies and disasters, mother nature reminded us that she can still pack a punch. In June, along with our neighbors, McAllen experienced an almost unprecedented rainfall event –the engineers called it a “250 year event”—leaving parts of our city flooded. 

Thanks to the efforts of multiple departments in the City—including Fire, Public Works, Engineering, Parks, Emergency Management, Police, Environmental Services and others—this incredibly difficult situation was managed as best as was possible under the circumstances. The City immediately began working with our State and Federal partners to help our residents and businesses recover and re-build. 

Most importantly—and if you see the pictures, this is really amazing—due to the quick action of everyone that responded, this event did not result in a single death or major injury. Unfortunately we have families whose lives are still disrupted by this terrible event, and we will continue to provide whatever support we can. 

As with each event like this, the City of McAllen took note of the “lessons learned” and we’ve already begun modifying drainage infrastructure and “re- prioritizing” some of the drainage projects our McAllen voters approved in the bond issue just a few months prior to this event.  Despite these challenges, the “magic” of McAllen remains as evidenced by the accolades we continue to receive. As just a few examples, consider these: 

  • McAllen was ranked #2 in the “least expensive urban areas to live” by the Council for Community and Economic Research 
  • †McAllen was ranked in the top 50 “small cities” by the influential website “”
  • †Ranked one of the 25 most popular cities to relocate to;
  • †Ranked #6 among the best places to retire by Dave;
  • †Magnify Money ranked McAllen in the top 10 “boomtown” category
  • †Kiplinger ranked McAllen as one of the “most affordable” places to live in the nation
  • †U.S. News and World Report ranked McAllen in the top 125 Best places to live in the United States.
  • And… If you happen to be in this next category—you will be happy to know that McAllen was ranked as the “best place to survive on $1 Million dollars for 30 years!” 

And here’s one I’m really proud of—McAllen ranked as the number 26 “Happiest City in America”! (Now doesn’t that make you happy??) 

I think, by the way, that the 25 cities that were ahead of us in the “happy” list are all in states where marijuana is legal. 

And in addition to rankings, McAllen continues to receive awards for it’s “magic”: 

The McAllen Monitor Newspaper 2018 Reader’s Choice for “Favorite City” for the third year in a row! (It’s probably because we are so happy!) 

  • †2018 “It’s Time” Texas Community Challenge Winner in the “large cities” category
  • †The McAllen Holiday Parade won multiple awards as one of the best parades in the nation or the world
  • †Quinta Mazatlán won the prestigious IFEA award for this great facility
  • †The Oval Park, just outside the Convention Center here, was designated as a “Great Public Space” by the state chapter of the Great Places in Texas Program.

Our finance department won the GFOA award for Distinguished Budget Presentation again last year. (I mention that because even accountants need a little shout out once in a while. All of this, and more, are thanks to our great city staff, volunteers, and our citizens. 

Speaking of getting fit in “It’s Time Texas” – here’s a little more about our great City. 

Thanks Commissioner Whitacre.

Some of the most “magical” moments for any family are the times they spend together at “fun” events: Saturday morning soccer matches; a cheerleading competition, or a great concert or play. 

In “city-speak” we call those quality of life. McAllen has plenty of great “quality of life” venues, and more are on the way! 

From a causal stroll down one of our beautiful hike and bike trails, to a leisurely afternoon at the Convention Center “Oval Park,” or catching a great Broadway Play like Les Mes at the Performing Arts Center; experiencing the many exhibits at IMAS or attending one of the many events at our library or should I say the community activity center—you can do all of this right here in McAllen. 

Soon, we will open the new Motocross Motorcycle park just south of the airport. We are adding new parks, improving existing parks, and continuing upgrades at Palm View golf course. And these are just a few of the many leisure time locations in our City. 

Let’s take a look at some more. 

Thanks Commissioner Zamora: 

And I want to add a shout out to the other groups in McAllen that add so much to our lives: like the McAllen Boys and Girls club, the McAllen Youth Baseball and Soccer Associations, and, of course, the local school districts who provide opportunities for all types of great events for boys and girls including partnering with the City for after school programs; there is always something to do. 

No city can provide a great quality of life without a solid economic foundation. McAllen continues to be the retail center of the Rio Grande Valley and south Texas. 

As you can see from this chart, the sales tax generated in McAllen is impressive! We are thankful to all of our local merchants for the great job they do. Over the past few years all cities in the County have improved significantly. We are particularly proud that McAllen remains at the top of “per capita” sales tax in the State of Texas. 

During the calendar year 2018, McAllen saw a sales tax revenue increase of almost 9 and 1/2 percent, with each and every month of the year representing an increase from the previous year. And the trend seems to be continuing; as good as 2018 was, the first two months of 2019 show more than 11% more than the same months last year. Our sales tax budget estimate for this fiscal year is over 65 million dollars with over 50 million going to the general fun compared to 40 million dollars collected from property tax. 

The blessing of being a great sales tax city is that it not only provides funds for much needed projects, but it also helps keep our property taxes low. So, for all of you that also pay property tax in McAllen, this is double good news! Now, my advisors told me I can’t do a lot of math during my speech; however, just know that every single dollar of sales tax revenue automatically lowers your property tax bill; if you don’t believe me, just pull out your tax statement and see for yourself! The property tax you pay is actually about 34 cents out of the 47 cent tax rate; which rate, by the way, is one of the lowest in the State even without the sales tax reduction. By the way, our police and fire budget exceeds 100 percent of the property tax collections and we think its money well spent. 

I hope both our State and County elected officials will keep all of this in mind! For every $1 in sales tax that the City of McAllen receives, the State receives about $2.50. That means that during 2018 alone, McAllen shoppers sent more than $200 million dollars to the state coffers; in five years, that’s about a billion dollars that goes to the State from McAllen retailers. 

I hope our legislative friends in Austin will keep that in mind and maybe, just maybe, treat cities a little better than they have in the past few years! Cities don’t ask for much from State government, but we would be grateful if they would stop putting unfunded mandates on us and recognize that local decisions should be made at home! 

In the 2017 session the State legislature eliminated involuntary annexation in 8 counties in the state based on county population over 500,000. Hidalgo County was one of them. So now McAllen is restricted from annexation but Brownsville, Corpus Christi and Laredo –among other larger cities—can continue to grow and annex. Developers who don’t want to play by the rules such as zoning, building codes and improved development standards, can avoid city annexation. The prosperity that allowed cities to grow for the benefit of all existing and potential new citizens is gone for Hidalgo County cities based on an arbitrary population number. 

We have proposed legislation to change that and I have been advised to not say more to avoid making them mad. 

At any rate, for those that don’t know our city limits I thought I might let you know where we are. (raise hands if you think you know) McAllen has 65 square miles of city limits. The east side is bounded by Jackson Road, the south side by Dicker Road, the west side by Conway Avenue and 107 and on the north side by highway FM 490 and Wallace road (that’s out by the Edinburg airport). Just to put that in perspective, it is about 25 miles from Dicker Road on the south to FM 490 on the north! 

At the County level, although our property tax rates remain very low, the property owners of McAllen pay approximately 28 percent of the County’s budgeted tax revenue, while making up only 16 percent of the County population. So Judge Cortez and County Commissioners, if you would like to send us that other 12 percent back, we will put it to good use! If not, we understand, and the citizens of McAllen don’t mind helping with County government, just continue to keep us in mind for some of those projects! 

Let’s get back to our “est’s”. Like the rest of the Valley, McAllen certainly continues to grow and prosper; in fact the Chamber of Commerce’s McAllen Area Economic Index hit the highest mark ever in November 2018 surpassing the previous high mark set in 2016. 

The food business is especially great in McAllen—we have more than 1389 retail food establishments in our City. We have two amazing “food truck courts” with 77 trucks. We definitely have some of the best restaurants anywhere in Texas – just ask our out of town visitors!. From tamales to teriyaki, from Italian to Indian, from Steaks to Sushi from wings to Wiener schnitzel (you get the picture) – its all delicious! And, of course, we have the best tacos anywhere in the country! 

Let’s see if my magic sneakers can get me over to a couple of more great McAllen leaders!: 

Thank you Commissioners: 

I would like to take a few moments on a special topic. For almost 20 years, the citizens of District #4 have been ably represented by Commissioner Aida Ramirez. As you may have heard, Commissioner and Mayor pro tem Ramirez recently announced her intention to not seek re-election. Commissioner Ramirez was the first Hispanic female elected to the McAllen City Commission and one of the first Hispanic females to serve as Mayor Pro-Temp. So Commissioner Aida, let me say two things: first, you have been a powerful and effective voice for the citizens of your district; and, second, you will be sorely missed!! 

And, by the way, you actually have three more days to change your mind!! 

But back to business. From the videos you just watched, you can see McAllen is doing well on the fiscal side. We believe once the construction is complete on the new Bicentennial crossing near the mall, the numbers will be even better. But it’s certainly not just the Mall that’s contributing to our local sales numbers. The great merchants downtown (more than 250 of them), plus the other major shopping areas in north McAllen—like 10th Street (our own Westheimer) that is nearly six solid miles of retail and restaurants, are a huge part of our success. The City is now providing assistance to some of the areas on 10th and 23rd streets to help them develop better “curb appeal” with eco-friendly modifications and we have expanded that program for other needed improvements for our merchants. 

They are doing great work and providing fuel for the engine of our economy. We appreciate all of them. I want to give a special shout out to the locally owned businesses, the so-called “mom and pop” stores and restaurants that make our City unique. All of businesses support our local charities with a generosity that is unmatched anywhere else. 

Our beautiful and modern International Airport continues to grow, and is the busiest Commercial and general aviation airport in the Valley, capturing some 46% of the total air operations in the region including the most commercial passengers. One of our great airline partners, Aeromar, just celebrated its fifth anniversary and is actually expanding service to several new tourist destinations in Mexico. And by the way, we heard you about the baggage situation! We’ve just completed major new upgrades to the baggage system that will hopefully make that ‘wait time’ at little better! I thought that might get some applause!

Also, despite the negative rhetoric from outside the area, bridge crossings remain strong at both the Hidalgo and Anzalduas crossings. We are ready to implement full commercial truck traffic at the Anzalduas crossing. This will greatly help those businesses that occupy the some seven million square feet of logistic space in the trade zone area on Military highway and the maquila manufacturers on the west side of Reynosa. We enjoy a great relationship with our partners at the Cities of Hidalgo and Mission and Granjeno in these vital projects— thank you! 

Employment remains strong, as well. Every single month in 2018 saw consistently low unemployment rates, all below 5 percent, dipping all the way to 4.1% in November, the lowest unemployment rate on record for our City. These strong numbers are evidence of a continued strong, and growing economy. 

Growth means building—and building is certainly going on in McAllen! I reported last year a banner year for construction in our City, and the trend continues. In 2018, McAllen had nearly $240 Million dollars’ worth of new construction, including more than $82 Million in residential construction, a sure sign that folks are still moving to McAllen! 

All of this also means a healthy fiscal position for our City government. At the end of last Fiscal Year, the City reported a surplus of revenue over expenses of more than $6 Million dollars which raised our general fund balance to over 45 million dollars. Just as important, your City budget includes funded depreciation which is not reflected in fund balance. We purchased over 120 vehicles and made needed building repairs in 2018 and paid for them with funded depreciation monies. You can rest assured your elected officials continue committed to a conservative fiscal policy, while looking for opportunities to upgrade infrastructure, provide new and improved “quality of life” venues, and provide the first class City services you have come to expect. 

Our partners at the McAllen Public Utility have been busy as well! With their focus exclusively on providing excellent infrastructure for water and wastewater, and now moving into the growing area of “water re-use,” the MPU and its great board of trustees continues to set the standard for Utilities, not just in the region, but around the State. 

Here to tell us about the activities at the McAllen Public Utility is my friend and colleague, Board chairman Albert Cardenas. 

Thanks Mr. Chairman. You and your fellow trustees, (the only elected utility board in the state – so when your toilet won’t flush you know who to call) along with the staff at the MPU, do a great job managing our most precious resource. Your commitment to anticipate and meet the growth and needs of our City and keep our water utility system in peek condition is much appreciated. And they continue to do so with some of the lowest water and sewer rates in the whole State. 

On the City side, we also continue to invest in infrastructure to promote future growth. One such priority is improving traffic flow by building new streets, adding right hand turn lanes at intersections, and “re-engineering” the signals at existing, high traffic locations. Using bond funds that our voters approved, and general fund money, we are hard at work at doing just that. Soon, you will be able to travel more easily from North to South on the extended 29th Street and Bicentennial both of which will now go all the way to Highway 107. And we’re improving Ware and Taylor roads going northbound as well. 

We will also begin to focus on major East/West corridors to improve traffic flow and all areas will have new, state of the art signals that can be adjusted to decrease “wait times” at intersections. ((You could, of course, help us out by maybe not sitting at the light and “texting” when the light turns green and you know who you are!) 

All of the investments in our City: from infrastructure and public buildings, to shopping centers and security are done with the idea of making McAllen a “magical” place to live, work, and play. 

Our City does, of course, continue to face challenges. One way we can overcome those challenges, is by working together as partners here in the Valley. One example of great possibility for partnership is the MPO. Local elected leaders along with TXDOT and state leaders are working to merge the three MPOs in the Valley into one constituting Cameron and Hidalgo counties. Why would we do that? Because this new, regional MPO would have over 1.3 million people and give us access to funding that only five other MPO’s in the state have. I know we can do it – we came together as a region for the New UTRGV and look at the dividends that has paid! It will take some compromise but in the end everyone benefits, – especially our traveling public. 

Earlier, I mentioned the strong employment numbers in McAllen—an educated workforce is critical to keeping those numbers in positive territory. Right now, we have very low unemployment, meaning lots of folks are working. What we need now, is to focus on better, higher paying jobs. Like jobs in the booming “technology” sector. 

Our partners at the McAllen Economic Development Corporation—MEDC—have done a great job over the years recruiting industry to our area. However, this past year we have started to re- focus on new sectors—like high technology jobs, bio- medical research, and other 21st century jobs. We need to be a leader in this area. 

Last week’s “RGV Day” in Austin is an example of what we can do together. We must re-examine our economic efforts where we are pitting one Valley city against another and realize we, as a region, are competing against different regions in Texas and the US. Our mutual success depends on working together, not against one another. 

Of course, to create the workforce for those new jobs, education and training are key. These are not the primary responsibility of City government; but our economic development efforts must include incentives and assistance to our education partners as they prepare our citizens to join the workforce of the future. 

Due to growth over the years, McAllen citizens may actually live in any one of seven public school districts, including Sharyland, Edinburg and IDEA that actually have school facilities in McAllen. However, our primary public school partner—both in numbers and in geography—is the McAllen Independent School District. I know many of the MISD board members (and other school board members) are here, and I want to thank you for your service! 

Our public schools are educating our future leaders, and at the City, we want to be a part of that process. A few years back, I reinstituted the “Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council”. There are definitely some future Mayors there—hopefully they will wait a few years before they run! 

Please join me as we hear a little about the MISD and the MYAC.

That was awesome, thank you! 

Higher education, including post-graduate education, is vitally important to the future of our City and our region. The UT-RGV Medical School is just one example of what we can do as a region when we put our minds to it and work together. The Medical School, with its “south campus” and soon to open research center, located in McAllen, is off to a great start. 

From kindergarten to becoming a doctor without ever having to leave home is now possible! Isn’t that amazing? 

In the area of both higher education and post- graduate education, McAllen (and the Valley) now boast degrees in most any discipline you can think of, and graduate degrees in medicine, theology, engineering, and research, just to name a few. 

A great new partner in this area is Texas A & M. With its brand new campus right here in McAllen, A&M is already the home to more than 200 new Aggies. And, as a Baylor grad I never thought I’d say this—it’s a beautiful sight! 

Let’s jump over there, if we can.:

Thanks Commissioner Villalobos!

McAllen and our neighbors have always been committed to higher education. From providing “start- up” help to South Texas College—I was their very first lawyer, you know!—to resources and support for the UT-RGV medical school and the new Texas A&M campus, we are committed to first class education. 

I would like to give some time and ask you to give your attention to some great educators: Dr. Shirley Reed, Dr. Guy Bailey, Dr. John H. Krouse, and Chancellor John Sharp. 

Wow! I think it’s safe to say that McAllen and the Rio Grande Valley have made some fantastic strides in educational opportunities for our residents! And I’m sure there is more to come. 

We have a very bright future in McAllen, but we can’t rest now! We need to work together—as a City, with our neighbors, with our elected officials at all levels of government—to continue moving forward. 

From everything you’ve seen and heard, I think you will agree with me that McAllen is truly a “magical” place to live, work, and play! But the truth is, it’s not really “magic”—it’s a combination of a great vision that’s been handed down to us from past leaders, combined with hard work and a great attitude. Never forget, McAllen is one of the happiest cities in the country! 

But what we call “magic”—the magic of McAllen—is people! It’s you, it’s your family, your friends, your business colleagues, its citizen volunteers–it’s all of us working together to make our City—the City of McAllen—an amazing, exciting— yes, a “magical” place to live! 

Join me now as we celebrate the “Magic of McAllen!”