I have no hesitation in saying that my attendance of Tamaulipas Governor Francisco Garcia Cabeza de Vaca’s inauguration in Ciudad Victoria last Saturday is one of the biggest stories I have been involved in since Hurricane Beulah in 1967.
It was a mightily impressive event, first class, awesome, extraordinary, with over 4,000 attendees at the Polyforum de Ciudad Victoria.
Everything there was new. The skyscraper they have for a state Capitol is about six years old. The facilities, the food was out of this world. It was, in all respects, a hugely successful event.
I had been invited to attend by the Governor. I joined others from the Rio Grande Valley delegation at the ITEC Center in Brownsville at 7 a.m. for the police-escorted bus trip to Victoria. We returned at about 10:30 p.m. the same day. A long day, but very productive. I got to meet the new economic development director for Tamaulipas and the Governor’s new point person for Texas. I was impressed with both.
Among the U.S., Texas and Valley dignitaries to attend were U.S. Consul to Matamoros Angela Kerwin, Secretary of State Carlos Cascos, state Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr., state Rep. Sergio Muñoz, McAllen Economic Development Corporation President Keith Patridge, Donna-Rio Bravo International Bridge Director Josue “Josh” Garcia, and McAllen Superintendent of Bridges, Rigo Villarreal.
I would not have missed it for the world. Based on everything I have seen and heard, this is going to be an extraordinary six years for Texas, Tamaulipas, and the border region with Governor Cabeza de Vaca at the helm. The plans he has laid out for economic development, and homeland security will be game changers. If successful, it will be unbelievable, what is going to happen.
I base my optimism on who the Governor is and the fact that is a native born Texan. Francisco Garcia Cabeza de Vaca was born in McAllen. He to high school in McAllen. When he greeted me I said, I am a PSJA Bear. He said, I am a McAllen Mustang. He got his upper level education also in Texas.
The fact that the Governor and so many of his staff are born and raised in Texas means it is going to be really easy for him to put business back together on both sides of the border. He and his staff understand both countries, they are bi-national, bilingual, bi-cultural. He is that. He represents that. His staff likewise represents that. The speed at which he can put business back together on both sides of the border is going to be something to behold – if he is received as he should be.
Remember, Mexico is our biggest trading partner. It is to the advantage of the Lone Star State to work with the new Governor. The ties that bind are so strong. As Secretary of State Cascos commented: “It is ironic that here I am, Texas’s secretary of state, and I was born in Mexico. And here is Francisco Garcia Cabeza de Vaca, governor of Tamaulipas and he was born in McAllen.
I thought it was telling that the Valley delegation had the first table on the front row, followed by Secretary Cascos’ table. The seating arrangements clearly indicate the importance the Governor places on our special relationship.
The optimism I have and others have is surely warranted and needed. The family aspect of this is just everywhere. We are so interrelated. It just blends over. The river is no long a dividing line. With Cabeza de Vaca it goes away.