Future of the Region South Texas, a non-profit organization encompassing a 47-county in South Texas with a mission of promoting a robust economy with investment and consideration into critical areas such as infrastructure, education, healthcare, workforce, border security, energy, and more, and Texas Energy Advocates Coalition (TEAC), an advocacy group focused on the support and growth of the energy industry in Texas, visited the Texas State Capitol Feb. 11, 2019. Nearly 25 representatives of the organizations came together from around the state to share information gathered on initiatives, recommendations and goals with elected officials.
Capitol Day attendees visited the office of Rep. Steve Allison, Sen. Dawn Buckingham, Sen. Donna Campbell, Rep. Alex Dominguez, Sen. Pete Flores, Rep. Bobby Guerra, Rep. Ryan Guillen, Rep. Roland Gutierrez, Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, Rep. Abel Herrero, Rep. Todd Hunter, Rep. Phil King, Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, Rep. J.M. Lozano, Rep. Eddie Lucio, Jr., Rep. Armando Martinez, Sen. Jose Menendez, Rep. Chris Paddie, Sen. Judith Zaffirini, as well a David Zapata with the office of the Secretary of State.
The event actually started months before the Capitol visit, when approximately 3,000 email surveys went out to community members, civic leaders, business owners, and various industry professionals on important areas of focus and concerns for the South Texas region. Using the results of the survey, a conference was held, featuring multiple speakers and experts. At the conference held on Jan. 10-11, 2019 at the Texas A&M International University in Laredo, Texas, attendees discussed the results of the survey, including the findings of what seemed to be of most importance to the survey participants. Going even further, conference attendees added further detail on the issues for consideration and helped to rank the issues in by level of importance.
Using the information gathered from the surveys and the conference, Future of the Region South Texas created an executive summary and condensed one-pager to be given to elected officials on the Capitol Day visit. The group visited with congressmen and women from around the state to share the importance of the topics covered at the Future of the Region conference. TEAC attendees specifically focused on a proposed project with serious environmental, regulatory, and economic concerns. An application submitted by Texas Gulf Terminals (which is owned and managed by Swiss commodities trader Trafigura) to establish a deepwater port off the coast of Corpus Christi capable of loading Very Large Crude Carriers (VLCCs) was the specific topic TEAC members referenced when visiting the elected officials.
Feedback from attendees was overwhelmingly positive.
“This was the best year I’ve done this,” said Jane Gimler, President of the Ingleside Chamber of Commerce in the Coastal Bend region. “We met with the people representing my region and I was happy to find that the already were well-informed on the issues that were specifically important to me and my region.”
“This was my very first time doing this. As you well know, I’m focused on energy, “ said Krystal White, Business Development Account Manager at United Safety. “Energy impacts the economic [development], the schools, the infrastructure, and this event today opened my eyes. I was honored to be a part of such a great organization of people from different backgrounds. It was a breath of fresh air to visit with our representatives and discuss the issues they are focused on in their districts and to know they do listen to what we have to say. They want to know what our report says and how it going to impacts their communities.”
“I want to congratulate and thank you for coming out today,” said Robert Flores, a political consultant. “Any elected official will tell you they appreciate your presence because it shows your interest and your convictions for the issues that you’re there to speak on. It puts a face to the issues in their minds and hearts because all they see are these issues come across their desks on paper, but when you show to talk about X, Y and Z, it lays cover for them. That’s what they want — they want to make sure someone out there is for or against what they’re voting on.”
About Future of the Region South Texas: Future of the Region South Texas (FORST) is an economic development think tank that has a proud and rich history in South Texas. It was founded by Senator Judith Zaffirini and former San Antonio Mayor Henry Cisneros to build a prosperous South Texas by addressing critical issues that cut across social, economic and political boundaries. Since its inception, the organization has held successful conferences, which formulated policy initiatives for the Texas Legislature to consider as the focus for the development of economic prosperity throughout South Texas. Visit futureregionstx.org for more information.
About Texas Energy Advocates Coalition: Texas Energy Advocates Coalition (TEAC) is a group of energy advocates who strive to educate the community, network with like-minded individuals and promote the further advancement of our energy sector locally and nationally. Visit txenergyadvocates.com for more information.