We are off to the races! At the first board meeting of the year, January 24th, the board installed our new 2019 director, Neal Wilkins, president and CEO of the East Foundation. We also introduced the incoming Rio Grande Valley (RGV) Border Patrol Sector Chief, Rodolfo Karisch. He, along with the Deputy Chief Raul Ortiz, gave an overview of the current state of the RGV Sector and an update on the Deputy Chief’s meeting and border tour with President Trump on January 10, 2019.
I was fortunate to have been invited to attend the meeting with the President at the McAllen Border Patrol Station. Law enforcement, Texas state leaders, a few landowners, several families who have been negatively impacted by border security and press made up the audience for the meeting. We all know how important border security and immigration reform is to our region and our nation. It’s the “how we get there” that is delaying a successful outcome. Let’s hope and pray that our nation’s leaders will come to a compromise in the very near future. We will continue to share our position on the issue of “Border Security & Immigration Reform”, and hope that you will, too. See STPRA’s Border Security and Immigration Reform Statement Position and Reform Agreement.
The McAllen Economic Development Corporation and the Mission mayor are looking to advance their plans of promoting the connectivity of the Kansas City Southern rail line from the Mission bridge to Alice. If their plans move forward, landowners along the route would be impacted from Edinburg to Premont. Please contact me if you are one of those landowners.
Sen. Lois Kolkhorst and Rep. Duane Burns have filed their comprehensive eminent domain companion bills. We are following those and several others that are trying to improve landowner recourse when industry approaches landowners for rights-of-way through their property.
In addition to eminent domain, we’ll be following bills that will try to circumvent Texas Parks and Wildlife Department rules concerning Chronic Wasting Disease in white-tailed deer and others in the Cervidae family.
Water is another issue that will require our thoughtful attention. The attempt to separate brackish groundwater from non-brackish “sweet water” will be repeated again this session.
Our South Texas-Austin Connection gathering on Jan. 30th was a great success. We know that we can make a difference when we all work together for the betterment of our region. Thank you to all who made the trip and thank you so very much Sergio Rodriguez for opening up your amazing office and hosting the gathering!
Feel free to contact us if you have any concerns or issues. We are here to help and to make a difference.
Until next month,