FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 17, 2002
In light of recent misconceptions about my support of Tony Garza's nomination as the U.S. Ambassador to Mexico, I want to publicly state that I do support him for this position.
I talked to Tony on Friday, July 12, 2002, about the proposed Brownsville Weir and Reservoir Project, which I am working diligently on to see it come to fruition. Over the years, Tony has opposed this project, and it has deeply concerned me, as well as many others in the Rio Grande Valley. I had no choice but to say that I would oppose his nomination if he continued his efforts to block the weir project.
During our conversation, Tony assured me that he would not talk to any regulatory state or federal agencies about the weir; he would not attend the weir meeting held Monday, July 15; nor would he talk to the press about the project. Tony kept his word.
Building a weir to give us desperately needed water is not and never was a partisan issue.
For anyone to say that I would not support a person for a position simply because the individual is a Democrat or Republican is ludicrous. Obviously, some people have not followed my legislative career.
In fact, I am known in Austin as a Senator who can work on most issues in a bipartisan manner. When then Governor-elect George Bush called me in December 1995, asking me to confirm Tony as Secretary of State, I told him that we would be honored that someone from Brownsville--a Hispanic and a Border native--would be Secretary of State.
Governor-elect Bush told me he really appreciated the opportunity to work with me and thanked me for confirming Tony. He added that Tony was a good friend of his.
The elected official known as the most bi-partisan in the history of Texas, the late Lt. Gov. Bob Bullock, used to say to the Senators when they engaged in a heated argument that this type of exchange was healthy. His favorite line was, "If two people agree on everything, then one of them is not necessary."
Just recently, I supported Gov. Rick Perry's nominee, Robert Estrada, who is originally from Brownsville, to be a member of the University of Texas Board of Regents, and another Brownsville native, Dr. Felipe Alanis, as the new Texas Education Commissioner. I welcome anyone to call either one of them and ask if I inquired whether they were Republican or Democrat. It didn't happen.
As an elected official Tony is indebted to the people who put him in office. As an appointed official, he's indebted to the Bush administration. More importantly, Tony is uniquely qualified to assist President Bush in developing his Border policies.
My hope is--and Tony has given me no reason to believe otherwise--that he will seek advice and input from everyone on the Border. There have been issues and proposals that I have supported throughout my years in the Legislature that were good for the Valley that I'm sure Tony didn't agree with, and conversely there have been issues and proposals Tony worked on that didn't meet my approval. But for the most part, Tony and I worked together on critical issues, including legislation impacting colonias, health care, and transportation along the Border.
If Tony Garza, or a member of the United States Senate, would ask me to testify in Washington, D.C., on behalf of this appointment as U.S. Ambassador to Mexico, I would be honored to do so.