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Mission Day in Austin: Mission delegation lobbies legislators

20130308 Mission-Day IMG 3426MISSION—A select group of individuals from Mission joined together for Mission Day at the Capital in Austin on Feb. 19. The group’s mission was to share with legislators issues important to the area, including education, transportation and city elections.

This year, members from the city council, the chamber of commerce, business community, economic development corporation, Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone board and AGUA Special Utility District were in attendance in Austin.

Mission Chamber of Commerce CEO Matt Ruszczak said the trip was a great success.

“It was a delegation of over 40 people…we had outreach teams that visited 45 offices of state representatives and state senators, “ Ruszczak said. “Then we had a highly successful legislative reception to close out the day; we had over 130 people who turned out to the reception.”

In late January the city council, along with community organizations, approved a legislative agenda that covered 12 important issues to Mission. Ruszczak explained they chose three key issues from that list to discuss with legislators.

The three issues included transportation and the expansion of transportation infrastructure to aide the Valley in general trade.

Interim City Manager Martin Garza said this issue is especially important because of the Anzalduas Bridge.

“We want to create a smoother flow of traffic with transportation…We believe that’s what brings commerce to the area,” Garza said. “This will fill a big role in the growth of Mission. We are very blessed through the leadership of our Mayor, that we have passed a lot of projects through TXDot and we hope to continue doing more.”

The second item was support for the merger between the UTPA and UTB in the creation of the medical school and having the headquarters in Hidalgo County.

The third major issue was the modification of the election code, regarding Mission City Council regulations.

20130308 Mission-Day-IMG 3422Garza said the election code has been both a burden on the city and it’s citizens. If a council member leaves the city before the end of his/her term it is cause for an immediate election, which is an unnecessary cost.

A change in the election code would allow city administrators to appoint a replacement for that empty councilman space until the next scheduled election.

“We felt we were very well received. There is a longstanding tradition of Mission sending Mission Grapefruit to every single office,” Ruszczak said.

He added, in terms of what will happen in the future with the legislative agenda, they expect to have contact from legislators to potentially go up to Austin. The delegation will then testify on behalf of their bills written on Mission issues.

Abby S. Ojeda, executive intern at the chamber said her experience on Mission Day was invaluable.

“It was a wonderful experience, you get to see how down to earth and friendly the legislators really are,” Ojeda said. “Sergio Muñoz Jr. (State Representative) was very welcoming…it is a great opportunity for any student who gets the chance to go up there.”

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CoverageAreaThe Progress Times is the hometown newspaper for the local communities of Mission, Sharyland, Alton, Palmview, La Joya and surrounding areas in Western Hidalgo County. We have a staff of veteran reporters who work diligently every week to bring our readers the latest news as it affects their hometown area and people.

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