Sergio Contreras of the Rio Grande Valley Partnership spoke at a recent meeting of the Lower Rio Grande Valley Development Council in Weslaco, Texas.

WESLACO, RGV – Sergio Contreras, president and executive director of the Rio Grande Valley Partnership, announced four initiatives the organization will be hosting come 2017. They are the RGV Legislative Tour, RGV Day, RGV to DC and RGV First.

The Rio Grande Valley Partnership (RGVP), or the Valley’s regional chamber of commerce, is an organization dedicated to advancing prosperity for the residents of the Valley. Since 1944, RGVP has been the vessel for big ideas to be heard and set in motion.

Sergio Contreras

Contreras presented the four initiatives that will premiere 2017 to the Lower Rio Grande Valley Development Council (LRGVDC) and opened up with the RGV Legislative Tour.

The legislative tour is a four-day event that occurs every other year in conjunction with the Texas Legislative session. According to the RGVP website, the event was created in 1975 for the purpose of engaging our local communities and supporters in a direct conversation with our policymakers.

The tour alternates focus between the upper and lowers parts of the Valley. One year, it will focus on the Hidalgo and Starr counties and two years later it will feature the Cameron and Willacy counties. This year the focus is on Cameron and Willacy counties. The 21st RGV Legislative Tour of the Rio Grande Valley will be held from Jan. 26 to Jan. 29, 2017 at South Padre Island. The event will feature a number of legislators to highlight the challenges and opportunities unique to the region.

“We are going to showcase and educate our legislators of the need of healthcare, infrastructure, transportation, education … and our ports of entry which are our key drivers in our economy and also our communities,” Contreras said.

RGVP’s second initiative will be their participation during the RGV Day at the State Capitol on Feb. 7, 2017. The event started last legislative session and is organized by the McAllen Chamber of Commerce and the City of McAllen. RGV Day at the State Capitol features city and chamber leaders breaking up into different groups to visit the Capitol offices of assigned state representatives and senators.

The third initiative for the organization is the first RGV-to-DC event that will take place some time during the spring and summer months of 2017. This will be coordinated in conjunction with the Valley’s legislative delegation.

“Several municipalities have been to [Wash.] D.C., however what we plan to do is coordinate the efforts and showcase our strength,” Contreras said. “That is the purpose of what we plan to do as a region–showcase our strength and also highlight some of the needs that will benefit our nation as a whole.”

RGVP’s last announcement was a membership-driven initiative called RGV First. Contreras said the plan is to showcase local talents and hire locally.

“What we want to do is engage our membership and for them to [make sure our] local organizations are looked at when it comes to procuring opportunities,” Contreras told the Rio Grande Guardian. “That means the [employment] of the architects and engineers that are in the Rio Grande Valley.”