Corpus Christi Awarded $6 Million in Grants for NASCC and CCAD SENATOR HINOJOSA INSTRUMENTAL IN SECURING DEAAG FUNDING IN STATE BUDGET

AUSTIN, TX – Today, the City of Corpus Christi was awarded two grants totaling $6 million for a new water supply line for Naval Air Station Corpus Christi (NASCC) and perimeter fencing and access control gates for Army helicopter repair facilities at the Corpus Christi Army Depot (CCAD). Governor Abbott’s Texas Military Preparedness Commission selected NASCC and CCAD for military grants from the Defense Economic Adjustment Assistance Grant (DEAAG) program. This is the first time ever Corpus Christi was selected for both grants.

The program is designed to aid communities negatively affected by federal Base Realignments and Closures (BRACs) as well as to assist defense communities to stay militarily valuable. Last session in 2015, Senator Hinojosa authored and passed Senate Bill 318 that raised the cap for grants that are awarded through the DEAAG program from $2 million to $5 million.

As Vice Chair of the Senate Finance Committee, Senator Hinojosa was instrumental this session in the legislature’s decision to appropriate $20 million to the DEAAG program in the state budget. Senator Hinojosa issued the following statement:

“It’s great news for the Coastal Bend that over $6 million in grant funding was awarded to the Corpus Christi Army Depot and Naval Air Station Corpus Christi through the DEAAG program. These grants are critical for our military installations to allow them to build up their infrastructure to increase the military value of their base and help avoid a potential BRAC closure. As Vice Chair of the Senate Finance Committee, I am honored to have helped secure $20 million in state funding for the DEAAG program this past legislative session and pleased that the City of Corpus Christi was awarded two grants.

I thank Governor Abbott for his leadership and his Texas Military Preparedness Commission members for their hard work in protecting our military communities.”

Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa proudly represents the counties of Nueces, Jim Wells, Brooks, and Hidalgo (part). Senator Hinojosa served as the Senate President Pro Tempore of the Texas Senate in the 84th Texas Legislature. Senator Hinojosa currently serves as Vice-Chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, and serves on the Senate Committees on Natural Resources & Economic Development; Transportation; and Agriculture, Water & Rural Affairs.

SENATOR HINOJOSA ANNOUNCES THE GRAND OPENING OF THE EDINBURG DRIVER LICENSE MEGA CENTER

McALLEN, TX — Today, Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, joined the Department of Public Safety (DPS) and the community of Edinburg for the grand opening ceremony of the new Driver License Mega Center. The new driver license center will feature advanced technology that provides driver license customers with the option of reserving a spot in line before arriving at the driver license office using their smart phone, landline, or computer.  Reserving a spot in line before arriving significantly reduces the time customers have to spend in the office to receive services.

As Vice Chair of the Senate Finance Committee, Senator Hinojosa was instrumental in securing the funds for the construction of the driver license mega center during the 84th Legislative Session in 2015. Senator Hinojosa issued the following statement:

Last session, we worked with the Legislature and DPS to ensure funding for a driver license mega center in Edinburg.  For years, the Driver License Division lacked sufficient office capacity in Hidalgo County to meet today’s demand for driver license services.

With the opening ceremony today, the new facility will significantly increase our capacity in the Rio Grande Valley by 60,000 transactions per year and will decrease wait times at all our locations in the Valley. I thank our community leaders, local public officials, and DPS, who all had a strong commitment on working together to shorten waiting periods for driver license applicants. I am happy to have been part of these efforts to improve services to the public.”

The new facility also will include space for class C driver license skills testing as well as two testing lanes for commercial driver license skills testing – a true asset for commercial motor vehicle drivers across the entire Rio Grande Valley. Commercial driver license applicants will be able to submit their application, take the written test and the road test all at this one new location.

Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa proudly represents the counties of Nueces, Jim Wells, Brooks, and Hidalgo (part). Senator Hinojosa currently serves as Vice-Chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, and serves on the Senate Committees on Natural Resources & Economic Development; Transportation; Agriculture, Water & Rural Affairs.

TEXAS WORKFORCE COMMISSION AWARDS $564,469 IN GRANTS TO SOUTH TEXAS COLLEGE AND PSJA ISD

McALLEN – Today, Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa attended the Texas Workforce Commission Grant Award Ceremony where Commissioner Julian Alvarez presented a check for a Skills Development Fund Grant of $221,729 to South Texas College in partnership with a consortium of manufacturers to provide manufacturing job training for students in our region. Commissioner Alvarez also presented a check for a Jobs and Education for Texans (JET) Fund Grant of $342,740 to Pharr-San Juan-Alamo Independent School District to train high school students to learn manufacturing technology skills.

Senator Hinojosa issued the following statement:

“We in the Texas Legislature have been proactive in appropriating funding and making the necessary legislative changes to partner with our educational systems and the private sector, so we can adjust our education and training to develop the skilled labor force needed to sustain our changing economy. In working with the TWC and through Commissioner Julian Alvarez’s leadership and continued support of the Rio Grande Valley, these grants will do just that.

One of my priorities has always been to invest in our youth and workforce through education and skills training, and to create more jobs. These funds provide an excellent opportunity to expand career and technology courses, to give our students the skills they need to transition to a job in the manufacturing industry right out of high school, and to offer customized training opportunities for businesses and workers to increase skill levels and wages which will ultimately benefit all of our communities.”

In 2015, Senator Hinojosa authored and passed SB 1351 to transfer the JET grant program from the Comptroller’s Office to the Texas Workforce Commission and to allow grants to be awarded to high schools and not just community colleges. PSJA is the only school district in the entire state that has received a back to back JET grant since SB 1351 took effect.

Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa proudly represents the counties of Nueces, Jim Wells, Brooks, and Hidalgo (part). Senator Hinojosa served as the Senate President Pro Tempore of the Texas Senate in the 84th Texas Legislature. Senator Hinojosa currently serves as Vice-Chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, and serves on the Senate Committees on Natural Resources & Economic Development; Transportation; Agriculture, Water & Rural Affairs as well as the Sunset Advisory Commission.

Senator Hinojosa Appointed to Joint Interim Committee to Study State Judicial Salaries

AUSTIN, TX — Yesterday, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick appointed Senator Juan “Chuy” to the Joint Interim Committee to Study State Judicial Salaries. The committee is charged with studying the creation of a formula to calculate state judicial salaries.

Senator Hinojosa issued the following statement on his appointment to this committee:

Thank you to Lt. Governor Patrick for appointing me to the Joint Interim Committee to Study State Judicial Salaries.  Our judiciary is an equal branch of government, yet our judges are underpaid for the significant responsibilities they hold.  We continue to lose very experienced, responsible, and qualified judges to the private sector because of low pay. These judges make important decisions that impact our lives and result in serious consequences.  This issue needs a long-term resolution and we must develop a plan that fairly calculates state judicial salaries and adequately reflects the significant responsibilities our judges carry out each day.”

Other members of the committee include: Sen. Joan Huffman (Co-chair), Sen. Brian Birdwell, Sen. Sylvia Garcia, and Sen. Bryan Hughes.

Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa proudly represents the counties of Nueces, Jim Wells, Brooks, and Hidalgo (part). Senator Hinojosa served as the Senate President Pro Tempore of the Texas Senate in the 84th Texas Legislature. Senator Hinojosa currently serves as Vice-Chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, and serves on the Senate Committees on Natural Resources & Economic Development; Transportation; Agriculture, Water & Rural Affairs as well as the Sunset Advisory Commission.

Senator Hinojosa Appointed Co-Chair of the Joint Interim Committee on Disclosure of Emergency Call Information

AUSTIN, TX — Yesterday, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick appointed Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa as Co-Chair of the Joint Interim Committee on Disclosure of Emergency Call Information. The committee is charged with studying the process, handling, and disclosure of emergency call recordings made by individuals who subsequently die from the emergency described in their call.

Senator Hinojosa issued the following statement on his appointment to this committee:

“Thank you to Lt. Governor Patrick for appointing me as Co-Chair of the Joint Interim Committee on Disclosure of Emergency Call Information.  This is an extremely sensitive and challenging issue in that we must balance our 1st Amendment rights and the public’s right to know, with the personal privacy of families who have lost loved ones in a tragic situation and have had their anguish recorded and replayed through the disclosure of a 911 recording of a loved one’s emergency call.  We must come up with a solution that protects the privacy and heartaches of the families who have lost loved ones, while at the same time protects the public’s right to know.”

Other members of the committee include: Sen. Donna Campbell, Sen. Bob Hall, Sen. Don Huffines, and Sen. Jose Rodriguez.

Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa proudly represents the counties of Nueces, Jim Wells, Brooks, and Hidalgo (part). Senator Hinojosa served as the Senate President Pro Tempore of the Texas Senate in the 84th Texas Legislature. Senator Hinojosa currently serves as Vice-Chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, and serves on the Senate Committees on Natural Resources & Economic Development; Transportation; Agriculture, Water & Rural Affairs as well as the Sunset Advisory Commission.

RAYMONDVILLE DRAIN PROJECT GROUNDBREAKING FRIDAY SENATOR HINOJOSA PROUD TO SECURE $17.1 MILLION IN STATE FUNDING TOWARDS THE PROJECT

McALLEN, TX –  This Friday, a groundbreaking ceremony will take place for the long-awaited Raymondville Drain Project, a 63 mile drainage improvement system that will benefit Hidalgo, Cameron, and Willacy counties. As the largest regional project in the Rio Grande Valley, there has been significant public and governmental support for this project as it will allow for the future economic growth of our cities and communities by decreasing detrimental flooding events.

Senator Hinojosa released the following statement in anticipation of Friday’s groundbreaking:

“The Raymondville Drain project is a huge undertaking of enormous significance that will provide storm water management to our entire region and will continue the economic growth of our communities. The groundbreaking ceremony today is an important milestone in seeing this project come to fruition.

Over the last few years, we have worked tirelessly to identify and secure sources of available funds that would not burden our taxpayers or Hidalgo County. To date, I have helped secure $17.1 million in state funding for the Raymondville Drain and I am proud of our efforts to provide tremendous flood control for our communities.

Thank you to Hidalgo County, Hidalgo County Precinct 4 Commissioner Joseph Palacios, our local state and federal legislative delegation, as well as the citizens of Hidalgo County who have voted to support this project through local bonds.”

Recently, the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) approved $4.5 million in funding for Hidalgo County Drainage District No. 1 to finance costs of the  multi-phase drainage project known as the Raymondville Drain Project for Flood Control. As Vice Chair of the Senate Finance Committee, Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa was instrumental in authoring and securing a budget rider last session for this funding that directs the TWDB to allocate these funds. In the last biennium, the TWDB also allocated $5.6 million as a result of the same budget rider; and this past spring, TCEQ announced a $7 million grant from the Texas RESTORE Act grants made possible through the efforts of Hidalgo County Drainage District No.1 and Senator Hinojosa.

The Raymondville Drain groundbreaking event will take place on Friday, October 6 at 10:00 a.m. in Edinburg close to FM 2812 and Seminary Road.

Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa proudly represents the counties of Nueces, Jim Wells, Brooks, and Hidalgo (part). Senator Hinojosa currently serves as Vice-Chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, and serves on the Senate Committees on Natural Resources & Economic Development; Transportation; Agriculture, Water & Rural Affairs as well as the Sunset Advisory Commission.

Celebrating Hector P. Garcia Day

AUSTIN, TX – Tomorrow commemorates the legacy of Dr. Hector P. Garcia, a Mexican-American civil rights leader who founded the American GI forum and fought for the rights of Hispanics in this country. In 2009, Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa designated the third Wednesday in September as Hector P. Garcia Day through Senate Bill 495. The bill authorized the observance of the day by schools and state agencies to honor Dr. Garcia and teach our younger generations about his legacy. Senator Hinojosa also passed a resolution naming a portion of State Highway 286 the Dr. Hector P. Garcia Memorial Highway in Corpus Christi.

Dr. Hector P. Garcia was a legendary physician and World War II Veteran who fought for the rights of Hispanics and veterans who were denied educational, medical and housing opportunities. A man who served and advocated for the most vulnerable and underserved portions in our communities, he reminds us that serving our community is an act of selflessness.

Senator Hinojosa commented on the value of commemorating Dr. Garcia’s contributions:

“It is important that our Texas youths learn about an extraordinary man who dedicated his life to public service and who broke down the barriers that existed at the time. Dr. Garcia made a significant difference in the freedoms we now enjoy and was able to advance the interests of Hispanics, even in the highest levels of government.

Dr. Garcia embodies the spirit of selflessness and public service. As a private American citizen, Dr. Garcia exercised his constitutional rights to elevate awareness about the plight of neglected Americans. As a physician, he provided access to medical care to underserved communities.  As a soldier, he demonstrated valor and sacrifice as he fought to protect our liberties. Dr. Garcia left us a legacy and his memory serves as lessons to us all.”

Dr. Garcia received the Presidential Medal of Freedom and earned a Bronze Star for his military service and six battle stars while protecting our way of life. He served as an advisor to Presidents John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson and Jimmy Carter and served as the first Hispanic on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.

Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa proudly represents the counties of Nueces, Jim Wells, Brooks, and Hidalgo (part). Senator Hinojosa currently serves as Vice-Chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, and serves on the Senate Committees on Natural Resources & Economic Development; Transportation; Agriculture, Water & Rural Affairs as well as the Sunset Advisory Commission.

Senator Hinojosa Appointed to Joint Interim Committee on Higher Education Formula Funding

AUSTIN, TX — Today, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick appointed Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa to the Joint Interim Committee on Higher Education Formula Funding. The committee is charged with preparing recommendations for realignment and/or possible elimination of non-formula support items and improvements of formula funding for institutions of higher education.

Senator Hinojosa issued the following statement on the importance of this committee and the need for a strong higher education funding plan:

Investing in our institutions of higher education is key to the future growth and success of Texas. Funding for higher education in the state budget plays a critical role in ensuring that our universities are providing our students with the tools they need to successfully complete their degrees. They also allow universities to collaborate with their communities to help address local challenges and respond to workforce needs.

It is imperative that we have discussions surrounding the possible realignment of formula funding and that we work to improve the way our institutions of higher education are funded. I am honored to have been appointed to this Joint Interim Committee so that South Texas is at the forefront of these critical discussions.

Higher education special items are items in the state budget that are not supported through formula funding and support the special mission of the institution. Special items can also be used to support new academic programs or address geographic disparities and other inequities among institutions.

Other members of the committee include: Sen. Kelly Hancock, R-North Richland Hills (co-chair); Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham; Sen. Donna Campbell, R-New Braunfels; and Sen. Charles Schwertner, R-Georgetown.

Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa proudly represents the counties of Nueces, Jim Wells, Brooks, and Hidalgo (part). Senator Hinojosa served as the Senate President Pro Tempore of the Texas Senate in the 84th Texas Legislature. Senator Hinojosa currently serves as Vice-Chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, and serves on the Senate Committees on Natural Resources & Economic Development; Transportation; Agriculture, Water & Rural Affairs as well as the Sunset Advisory Commission.

Governor Abbott Visits Corpus Christi to Announce Commission to Rebuild Texas for Hurricane Relief Efforts Texas A&M Chancellor John Sharp to serve as Commissioner

CORPUS CHRISTI, TX – Today, Governor Abbott along with Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp, visited Corpus Christi to announce the Governor’s Commission to Rebuild Texas. The Commission, led by Chancellor Sharp, will oversee the response and relief efforts between state and local governments to ensure victims of Hurricane Harvey get everything they need as quickly as possible.

The Commission will provide a single point of contact and authority for overseeing the rebuilding of public infrastructure — focusing on restoring roads, bridges, schools and government buildings in impacted communities. While there may be some overlap, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will have responsibility for assisting individuals with homes damaged or lost in the storm. This effort does not override or replace the excellent disaster management efforts currently underway through FEMA and the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM).

Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa offered the following remarks:

“Although the storm has passed, the long road to recovery is just beginning and we need a strong and collaborative team to rebuild our great state. Now is the critical time that our communities and families are in great need of resources, funding, and clear direction on how to begin rebuilding their lives.

I commend Governor Abbott for creating the Commission to work towards a quick recovery response for our devastated communities. Chancellor John Sharp was the perfect selection to lead this Commission and I thank him for his leadership in this challenging role.”

In addition to today’s visit to Corpus Christi, Governor Abbott and Chancellor Sharp will travel to regions impacted by Hurricane Harvey to meet with local officials regarding the needs of their communities. They will receive on-site briefings on the current response efforts and the ongoing recovery process. State agencies will also play a major role in coordinating with the Commission.

Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa proudly represents the counties of Nueces, Jim Wells, Brooks, and Hidalgo (part). Senator Hinojosa currently serves as Vice-Chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, and serves on the Senate Committees on Natural Resources & Economic Development; Transportation; Agriculture, Water & Rural Affairs as well as the Sunset Advisory Commission.

 

SENATOR HINOJOSA’S STATEMENT ON DACA

AUSTIN, TX – Today, the Trump Administration announced the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Senator Hinojosa issued the following statement:

Ending DACA is cruel and morally unacceptable. This is not who we are as a country. We are not about hate or people ready to kick out young adults who were brought to this country as innocent children. Young adults who consider themselves Americans and who are proud of their country.

To end DACA is also shortsighted and works against America’s future growth and success. DREAMers make us more competitive as a nation and as a state by fostering economic growth, developing new ideas, and bettering our society. They are not eligible for welfare or any government benefits, yet DREAMers pay over $2 billion in state and local taxes each year.

Texas has always supported our DREAMers and was one of the first states to allow these high school graduates to pay in-state tuition. And the result has been tremendous — these DREAMers have excelled. They study hard, work hard, and contribute significantly to our society. Thousands have pursued their academic dreams and have entered our Texas workforce bolstering our economy. Without DREAMers our country would lose about $280 billion over a ten year period.

DREAMers live in our communities, they work with us in the Texas Legislature, they teach our children in classrooms, they provide healthcare in our hospitals, and most importantly, they are our family and friends.

We have made a significant educational investment in these students and they have not let us down. We cannot now let them down. Congress must act to provide a pathway for them to stay in our country. Legislators must put people over politics and craft a compassionate solution. I stand with these DREAMers and their families and offer support in this time of uncertainty.” 

Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa proudly represents the counties of Nueces, Jim Wells, Brooks, and Hidalgo (part). Senator Hinojosa currently serves as Vice-Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and serves on the Senate Committees on Natural Resources & Economic Development; Agriculture, Water & Rural Affairs; and  Transportation as well as the Sunset Advisory Commission.