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Brownsville Economic Development Council

BROWNSVILLE, Texas — The Honorable Joe Straus, Speaker of the Texas House, was recently recognized with the 2014 Outstanding Leadership in Economic Development Award during the 2014 Annual Leadership in Economic Development Reception of the Brownsville Economic Development Council.

More than 100 people, including local, regional and state leaders, as well as the BEDC Board of Directors and members attended the event held Nov. 20, at the historic Alonso Building in Brownsville.

Speaker Straus was recognized for his outstanding leadership in creating economic development opportunity, fostering job creation and promoting significant investment in the Greater Brownsville Borderplex.

“Creating jobs within a community provides a key path to workers and their families. Since Speaker Straus took the leadership position in 2009, the manufacturing employment in Texas has climbed and industry has rebounded to healthy levels,” said BEDC President & CEO Jason Hilts, who highlighted Speaker Straus’ leadership and impact on statewide projects.

“For the Brownsville Borderplex, we see the increase in the manufacturing sector and its associated supply chain and logistics,” Hilts added. “It all starts with the leadership at the legislative level.”

On hand to present the award were members of the BEDC Executive Committee, Chairman Tony Cappella, Past Chairman Keith Uhles, Vice Chairman Steve Muschenheim, Secretary Patti Ayala, and members Ankjaer Jensen, David Hughston, R. Lee Ostos.

Public officials present at the event were Senator Eddie Lucio Jr., Representative Ryan Guillen, Brownsville Mayor Tony Martinez, Cameron County Treasurer and Greater Brownsville Incentives Corporation Chairman David Betancourt, and Texas Southmost College Board of Trustees Adela Garza.

Speaker Straus has been Speaker of the Texas House since 2009. He has repeatedly led the Texas House to pass balance budgets, and promote private-sector growth.

During the 2013 legislative session, Speaker Straus led the effort to address the state’s increasingly severe water shortage. Recognizing the importance of a reliable water supply to economic growth, Speaker Straus built support for a plan to secure a long-term water supply without raising taxes.

Later that year, he led the public campaign to dedicate funding for water in the Texas Constitution. In November 2013, Texas voters approved that plan by a nearly 3-to-1 margin, providing a significant step forward for the Texas economy.

Previous Outstanding Leadership in Economic Development Award recipients include Gov. Rick Perry, Texas Secretary of State Esperanza ‘Hope’ Andrade, Chairman John Davis of the Texas House of Representatives, the Economic Development & Tourism Team of the Office of the Governor, as well as Jason Wolfe, of NovaLink Manufacturing, and former Keppel AmFELS President CY Ho, both in the private sector.

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