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Washington, D.C. – Congressman Rubén Hinojosa (TX-15) released the following statement in anticipation of the State of the Union address tonight by President Barack Obama. “President Obama’s plan to keep America strong and on a path to success is working. After being left with one of the worst economic times this country has ever seen, the President has been working diligently to build our nation back up. 

In 2008, the façade created by Wall Street fell apart. Mortgages were sold to people who couldn’t afford them. This debacle caused a crisis that cost eight million Americans their jobs and it sent our economy into a downward spiral. But the President has fought back to turn our economy around and kept his promise in making Wall Street accountable. 

The President has been clear that we need to do more to create jobs and help economic growth. And his plan is working. The economy added a total of 3.2 million private sector jobs over the last 22 months. 

What the President is stressing is the need to build our nation from within. He led the charge last year with the “Make It In America” plan. He encouraged American made products by American hands. This was the beginning of a structured plan to make our economy strong. The President’s motto — “An America Built to Last” is based on hard working Americans who are committed to keeping America a strong, prosperous and free country.  

Here in the Rio Grande Valley some elected officials, including myself, have been supporting and following the President’s plan. We’ve invested in our people. We are working towards that goal of offering job training and creating a skilled workforce. That is why I worked to bring necessary funding to create the Rapid Response Manufacturing Center in McAllen. This is the way of the future in the Rio Grande Valley. Creating jobs and a trained workforce at the same time. 

We must focus on infrastructure and job training in the Rio Grande Valley. That is why I continue to support the “Workforce Investment Act”. I am hoping that this legislation passes because it focuses on workforce training. We have a young able bodied workforce in Deep South Texas. These workers must be trained because skilled workers can compete for the new jobs that are being created in South Texas. We have the educational facilities throughout the Rio Grande Valley that can make this happen. U.T. Pan American, South Texas College, Texas State Technical College, U.T. Brownsville and Texas Southmost College are excellent resources that already provide quality education and training. 

Infrastructure is key when it comes to attracting new businesses and new industry. Over the years I have been able to bring federal resources and millions of dollars in funding to expand and repair our levees, highways and bridges.  One of the most important investments in infrastructure was the $300 million in federal funding used to repair the old levees along the Rio Grande River. The repairs in South Texas came just in time to prevent massive flooding in Hidalgo and Cameron Counties in 2010. Hurricane Alex brought massive amounts of rain and the river crested at 59 feet. The levees held back what would have been devastating flood waters. 

Our new international bridges, the Anzalduas and the Donna-Rio Bravo bridges, are attracting new business and trade that create jobs in our communities. 

Businesses such as the new Bass Pro Shop in Harlingen are finding out that the Rio Grande Valley is a good place to set up shop. Hundreds of jobs were created at the Bass Pro Shop and business is thriving. 

Just last September my office, in conjunction with Workforce Solutions of Hidalgo, Willacy and Cameron Counties had a Job Fair. 3,000 jobs were ready to be filled. We had close to 4,000 job seekers and many of them were hired and are continuing to be hired. 

President Obama wants to build an economy that works for everyone, not just the wealthy. We must keep the middle-class strong and be fair when it comes to taxation. We will do that by working hard to create a climate for business, build a quality workforce and expand on our infrastructural needs as we grow. 

Under President Obama, for the first time in 9 years we no longer have American troops fighting in Iraq. Last year was a time justice was served when our U.S. Navy Seals took down the terrorist and murderer Osama bin Laden. We have seen the Libyan dictator, Muammar Qaddafi taken down by his own people. Americans remain on alert knowing we will never give in to terrorists. In the Rio Grande Valley we suffered great losses in both the war in Iraq and Afghanistan.  My prayers and my heart go out to our fallen warriors and their families and loved ones. I am so very proud of all of our troops and veterans. We are Americans who know how to win and keep our freedom. To those who have returned, especially the wounded, we must make certain that they have what they need to support themselves and their families in a civilian workforce. 

The President and Democrats in Congress continue to fight to keep Medicare, Social Security, health benefits and accessibility and affordability to higher education for all Americans. We will not turn our backs on those who need help the most. 

One of the most important issues the President has highlighted is a call for a return to American values. This is about equality. It is about fairness for all and responsibility from all. What are we doing for each other and what are we doing for America? We must all work towards a common goal and that is doing our fair share to keep America number one. Let’s join President Obama on making sure we do our part in making an “America Built to Last.”



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