Class 30 Leadership Harlingen explores state government in Austin

AUSTIN — A total of 18 business professionals of Leadership Harlingen Class XXX traveled last week to the state capitol in Austin for their annual state government session.

The two-day trip included meetings with various state government representatives and a dinner at the Austin Club on Tuesday night.

“Being informed about how government works is instrumental to our success as a region,” said Chris Gonzales, President and CEO of the Harlingen Area Chamber of Commerce. “Our leadership program accomplishes this each year by scheduling our Austin trip and lining up a stellar group of speakers.”

Secretary of State Carlos Cascos welcomed the leadership class on Tuesday afternoon and discussed his travels across the state and his new radio campaign to increase voter turnout in Texas.

Leaders also were able to meet with representatives from the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, Commissioner Sid Miller of the Texas Department of Agriculture and legislative consultants for the city of Harlingen, Terral Smith and William Yarnell.

“This trip really clarified our Chamber’s role in keeping Harlingen and its interests fully represented at the state level, especially the hard work that has to be done with elected officials from outside the Valley,” said Joseph Albury, Leadership Harlingen participant and Small Business Relationship Manager III of Lone Star National Bank.

On the second day, there were morning meetings in the capitol with George P. Bush, Commissioner of the Texas General Land Office, and representatives from the Texas Railroad Commission Office, Texas Education Agency Office, Speaker of the House Office and the Office of the Governor.

“It was very intriguing to hear from Texas General Land Commissioner George P. Bush, not only for the pertinent information on what his office does but also to get a firsthand account of what presidential primary politics looks like in Texas regarding voting and delegates,” said Albury.