Senator Lucio's Letterhead

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 29, 2009
CONTACT: Doris Sanchez, Press Secretary
Phone: (512) 463-0385

Sen. Lucio's Column on Impressions of 2009 Legislative Tour Visitors

An underlying reason exists for Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and legislators from regions outside of South Texas to pledge more legislative support this session. Part of that reason is the 17th biannual Legislative Tour (Jan. 22-24) that helped me and the rest of the Rio Grande Valley Delegation showcase our finest assets and introduce our challenges to them.

However the bigger reason for their commitment stems from the leadership Rio Grande Valley Partnership President/CEO Bill Summers offered and the hard work of his staff, local government and business officials, presenters and others in making this memorable event a huge success.

The following comments represent our visitors' most favorable, first-hand impressions:

– Lt. Gov. Dewhurst understood our needs and voiced his support.

"I always love visiting the Valley with my friend Senator Lucio. The Valley is such a vibrant and diverse region of our state with tremendous growth and I'm working to ensure everyone who calls the Valley home has the medical, educational and employment opportunities to succeed and contribute to the future of our great state."

– Sen. Florence Shapiro of Plano made it clear how important this visit was to her.

"So often on the Senate floor, we hear about different parts of the state and the specific needs of those areas; but it's not until you actually go to a place like the Rio Grande Valley to truly experience and appreciate the needs, the pride, and the people of this great state. This past weekend, my experience in the Rio Grande Valley will be one I will carry with me throughout this session and beyond. It was a most memorable experience."

– Sen. Leticia Van de Putte from San Antonio committed to helping our area.

"I was overwhelmed by the friendliness of the great people of the Rio Grande Valley as they embraced my husband Pete and me as we visited this weekend. The Valley's assets are many and I am more committed than ever to help this precious and vibrant sector of Texas."

– Sen. Dan Patrick from Houston appreciated another opportunity to visit the region.

"Since my first session in the Senate, I have looked forward to the trip to the Valley hosted by my friend Sen. Lucio. I have encouraged my fellow Senators to join us on this important trip. I think it is critical for us to travel to every corner of this state so we can properly represent every Texan. I want to thank Sen. Lucio for his friendship and his hospitality. I also want to thank the people of the Valley for their kindness and generosity. I look forward to seeing you again next time."

– House Speaker Straus said he looked forward to helping the Valley.

"I enjoyed spending time with the Valley delegation and seeing communities' needs up close and personal. I value the time I spent with Sen. Lucio and the entire delegation. I look forward to bringing a new tone to the House of Representatives and working with the legislature to do great things for the Valley and great things for Texas."

– Rep. Betty Brown from Athens found the trip informative and enjoyable.

"Having served three terms on the Appropriations Committee, it was very helpful to see the effect of the funding that has been provided for the Valley area and how much the residents there have benefitted. The Valley Partnership members were extremely welcoming and exhibited great hospitality. It was not only a very informative trip, but very enjoyable as well."

– Rep. Mark M. Shelton M.D., from Fort Worth witnessed how the Valley works hand-in-hand.

"I was very impressed with the manner in which various government sectors, private entities, and public organizations all work together to meet the needs of the Valley. As examples he cited the Rio Grande Valley undertaking sophisticated desalinization efforts to convert brackish ground water into consumable water for the citizens of South Texas."

Mr. Bill Summers was elated that a Lieutenant Governor and a Speaker attended the tour for the first time.

"We had a very high attendance of legislators on the tour with us this year and we have never had either a Speaker or Lieutenant Governor for any of our trips, and this year we had both!"

Sen. Lucio concluded, "I was pleased that Lt. Gov. Dewhurst came at my request." He concurs with Mr. Summers that this was "a great opportunity for the whole Rio Grande Valley. It was a great trip and everyone learned a lot from it." As always, if you have any input or questions regarding these or other matters, please do not hesitate to contact Doris Sanchez, my Communications Director, 512-463-0385.

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