McALLEN — State Rep. Bobby Guerra, D-Mission, and Tamaulipas state Rep. Luis Cantu met here Wednesday for a ceremonious display of unity between the two state governments. Though the meeting fell short of any tangible action, it set a precedent for future alliances.
Pepe Cabeza de Vaca, assistant chief of staff for Hidalgo County Commissioner David Fuentes, helped organize the press conference between the two local legislators. He described the meeting as “historic,” as it was the first meeting between representatives of their respective districts.
“This is the best way to grow our communities,” he said. “Not a wall, but these kinds of relationships.”
As the meeting opened, Guerra gifted Cantu a Texas flag that was flown over the capital. In return, Cantu presented Guerra with a crested pin that’s worn by the representatives in the legislative house of Tamaulipas.
Guerra said the relationship between the two governments is important for the flourishment of both economies. The issue, however, is making that point clear to his colleagues in Austin.
“Here in the Rio Grande Valley, we understand the relationship we have with Mexico,” Guerra said. “But I want to make sure that the message of cooperation with both countries for our economies and our businesses is understood not only here in the Rio Grande Valley, but in Texas and throughout the U.S.”
Cantu echoed that sentiment, pledging to invite his colleagues in the Tamaulipas House of Representatives to meet with Valley legislators.
“We are a region as a whole,” Cantu said in Spanish. “We shouldn’t look at each other as two different cities or two different countries. At the end of the day, we’re a region; we’re family.”
Cantu represents the sixth congressional district of Tamaulipas, which encompasses parts of Reynosa. He is part of the National Action Party (PAN), the country’s conservative party, which currently holds the majority in the Tamaulipas House of Representatives.
He congratulated Guerra on his re-election this November and wished him luck in the upcoming Texas legislative session, which kicks off in January. Though Guerra has filed three bills this session so far, with plans to file more during session, none are necessarily reflective of the relationship that was just established with Cantu. He does plan on filing a resolution, he said.
“I’m sure there will be several bills that will be discussed and debated during the session,” he said. “We vote on over 5,000 bills every other year that we meet… Trade with Mexico is very important.”
Talks of future meetings and the formation of a binational group of local state legislators were discussed, but no official plans were made.
As more media trickled in, the two legislators repeatedly shook hands and looked at the cameras, with an American flag as their backdrop. As the meeting came to a close, Cantu presented Guerra with yet another gift: a bottle of Taumalipan mezcal.