BROWNSVILLE, TEXAS – Beto O’Rourke says that if elected governor of Texas he will invest heavily in infrastructure for border communities. 

In an exclusive interview with the Rio Grande Guardian International News Service about economic development, O’Rourke pointed out that the ports of entry through which US-Mexico trade passes support more than 600,000 jobs across the state of Texas.

“Very often Governor Abbott, Lieutenant Governor Patrick, will talk about the border simply as a threat, a place where people are coming to get us from. They use words, as you have heard, like invasion. Governor Abbott encouraged us to defend ourselves and literally said, take matters into your own hands when it comes to immigrants at the border, which in part helped to inspire that shooter who came to El Paso two and a half years ago and killed 23 people,” O’Rourke said.

“The border is actually the greatest opportunity that Texas has ever known. The goods that we produce and manufacture in this state flows through these ports of entry to markets around the globe. And the things that we manufacture together with our partners in Mexico come back through these ports with a majority of the value added content produced here in the United States and in Texas and so there are hundreds of thousands of jobs that depend on our ability to facilitate the flow of trade in Laredo and Brownsville, McAllen, El Paso and other critical land ports.”

O’Rourke, a native of El Paso, said retail businesses along the border were devastated by the closure for 20 months of land ports of entry to so-called non-essential travel. This was due to the coronavirus pandemic. He said Mexican shoppers have been incredibly loyal to border cities in Texas for generations. He said his mother’s family owned a furniture store for more than 50 years. The majority of that store’s business came from Mexican shoppers.

“We really do rely on each other. And we need a governor who understands that and will improve that bilateral relationship by investing in the infrastructure around our ports of entry, making sure that more of these trucks can get in and get out. As I was driving into Laredo yesterday from San Antonio, there was a line of 18 wheelers that stretched probably two miles as they were heading north, trying to get into Texas. But they were bottlenecked because of a lack of infrastructure capacity,” O’Rourke said.

“Let’s invest in this job creating, economic driving force that is our border. We can get past the culture war stuff and the scapegoating of immigrants and back to creating jobs and ensuring that we have economic opportunity in our communities. That is the value that I see in the border and as governor I am going to make sure we make the most of it.”

Editor’s Note: In the attached podcast, O’Rourke also spoke about SpaceX, meeting with Brownsville Mayor Trey Mendez, and the need to invest in broadband. 

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