Abbott coming to Willacy: Governor set to speak at county GOP fundraiser

RAYMONDVILLE — Many residents here are rolling out the red carpet for the first Texas governor to visit Willacy County in 50 years.

Today, Gov. Greg Abbott is expected to speak at a local Republican Party fundraiser at the Willacy County Historical Museum and Community Center.

At $50 a ticket, the event is sold out, Wolf Chapa, chairman of the Willacy County Republican Party, said yesterday.

“It’s amazing,” Chapa said. “I think it will help the county very much.”

For weeks, residents have helped plan to host the first Texas governor since Dolph Briscoe, a Democrat.

Last month, veterans from American Legion Post 390 joined members of First United Methodist Church to build a wooden ramp for Abbott, who uses a wheelchair.

“It’s a labor of love,” said George Solis, the commander of the local American Legion post who helped build the 28-foot ramp as part of the Texas Ramp Project.

“It’s awesome that the governor is going to use the ramp and it’s going to remain here so disabled residents can use it,” Solis said.

So far, Abbott’s office has helped the county land grants to fund road projects, beef up security and fund improvements to the county courthouse, Chapa said.

Now, he said, Abbott will visit the farming area plagued with one of the state’s highest unemployment rates.

“He has a lot he can give to our county,” Solis said. “Our county is one of the poorest in the country. We need a lot of help.”

About five months ago, Chapa said, he asked Abbott’s office if the governor could speak at the local fundraiser.

Tonight, the event begins at 6 p.m. with a photo session, Chapa said.

“People can take selfies with themselves and the governor,” he said. “He’s very personable. He likes to meet people.”

At about 7 p.m., Abbott is expected to speak about “economics” at the Lincoln-Reagan dinner, Chapa said.

On the menu is rib-eye steak, mashed potatoes, green beans, salad and cheese cake.

Meanwhile, local Democrats have postponed their second bi-annual Willacy County Democratic Party Pioneer Celebration, which was set to be held at the same time, Lefty Cavazos, the party’s chairman, said.

For weeks, Chapa accused Cavazos of scheduling the event to conflict with Abbott’s appearance at the GOP fundraiser.

But Cavazos denied the accusations.

Yesterday, Cavazos said Abbott’s visit did not lead him to postpone the Democratic Party event.

Instead, Gilberto Hinojosa, the former longtime Cameron County judge who serves as chairman of the Texas Democratic Party, could not attend today’s event, where he was set to speak, Cavazos said.

Now, he said, the Democratic Party event is set for Dec. 2.

“That way they won’t say we’re (conflicting) with the governor’s visit,” Cavazos said. “That way, whoever wants to go can go. He’s our governor.”