Mission, Texas Brain

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Photo Slideshow of Mission Day in Austin

Leaders from the Mission, Texas community headed to Austin very early on Tuesday morning to participate in Mission Day in Austin, which occurs every two years when the Texas Legislature is in session.

The day began with having resolutions passed in the House of Representatives and the Senate recognizing the day as Mission Day at the capitol. The delegation also met with Governor Rick Perry and Lt. Governor David Dewhurst. After a quick lunch, the group set out to meet with key legislators to discuss the legislative agenda for our city. The evening ended with a reception to give officials, staffers, and the delegation more time to discuss issues.

The Agenda

The three major issues of note in this legislative session are infrastructure, elections, and the UTPA/UTB merger.

The delegation saught support for improving and modernizing our road infrastructure to better enable our community to deal with increased trade and population growth. The Anzalduas International Bridge currently only allows passenger traffic; however, if truck traffic is opened up, our roads need to be able to deal with the heavy loads and find a way to move that traffic efficiently.

Addressing an election quirk that requires home rule cities to hold full-blown elections for City Council when a seat is left vacant. The City of Mission would prefer to leave the position vacant or have the ability to appoint somebody to that place, thus saving tax payers the cost of running a full election.

The University of Texas - Pan American and University of Texas - Brownsville merger is a topic of much discussion locally and at the Capitol. Governor Perry's State of the State speech at the inauguration (see +Office of the Governor of Texas) brought the issue to the forefront. Merging the two universities would make the new entity eligible to receive money from the Permanent University Fund, which makes expansion of the new entity much easier. Of particular interest is the possibility of attaching a medical school to the new UT school. 

There was no consensus among members as to whether a medical school would happen this legislative session. Creating a new University is almost certain; however, anything beyond that may consist of laying groundwork for the medical school without creating it outright. The delegation would prefer that if a medical school is added to the new University, that it should be based out of Hidalgo County. 

A Successful Effort

One particular success of this Mission Day in Austin was the draw of several elected officials and their staff to the reception. Given the variety of concurrent events, late committee hearings, and a host of other scheduling challenges, it is rare to have as much as a handful of Representatives and Senators attending. This year, the function was attended by Mission's own State Representative Sergio Muñoz, Jr and State Senator Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa. The event was also honored to have State Senator Eddie Lucio and State Representatives Rene Oliveira, Eddie Lucio, III, Terry Canales, Bobby Guerra, and Oscar Longoria. This is in addition to our Mayor Norberto Salinas and City Council members Ruben Plata and Armando O'Caña.

Overall, the Mission delegation had excellent access to the people who will make the decisions that affect our community. 

Below is a slideshow of Mission Day in Austin.

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