Nevada Sen. Cortez Masto visits Valley

McALLEN — Nevada Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto was in town earlier this month to raise funds and tour the area during a time in which the Rio Grande Valley and U.S.-Mexico border have become a political backdrop for elected officials.

Hers wasn’t the only notable trip to the Valley lately, as Vice President Mike Pence also toured the area on Friday. Recently, the Border Health Political Action Committee hosted Cortez Masto, the first Latina elected to the U.S. Senate.

The PAC contributed $10,000 to Cortez Masto’s Senate campaign in 2016, according to Federal Election Commission filings, and contributed that same amount to the junior senator this month, according to the committee.

Elected in 2016 to replace longtime Democrat Harry Reid, Cortez Masto toured the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge and met with the Sierra Club.

“The Border Health Political Action Committee (BHPAC) works to promote the interests and health of the Rio Grande Valley,” Prisylla Ann Jasso , the PAC’s executive director, said in a statement. “We proudly support elected officials like Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto who are willing to fight for Dreamers and stand up against President Trump’s misguided, wasteful and senseless proposal to build a border wall.

“We are delighted to have had the opportunity to invite Sen. Masto to the Rio Grande Valley and show her firsthand how the president’s border wall will devastate the crown jewel that is the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge. BHPAC continues to advocate for, and better educate, our elected officials regarding the wide-ranging issues that affect the health of our region.”

Her communications director, Rey Benitez, said as the first Latina elected to the U.S. Senate, Cortez Masto has been invited to a lot of Hispanic organizations around the country.

The difference between Cortez Masto’s visit and many others is she did not publicize her presence.

U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-WI, was the most prominent elected official Doctors Hospital at Renaissance, which is closely tied to the PAC, hosted recently, when Ryan toured the hospital last October.

Other congressional politicians to visit the Valley over the last year include Texas Republican Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz, Cortez Masto’s Nevada counterpart; as well as Sen. Dean Heller, R-NV, Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-MO, U.S. Reps. John Carter, R-Round Rock, Mike Conaway, R-Midland and David Rouzer, R-N.C.