Secretary of State speaks at chamber luncheon


Special to the PRESS

The South Padre Island Chamber of Commerce welcomed Secretary of State and former Cameron County Judge Carlos Cascos as the guest speaker for their Quarterly Public Affairs Luncheon at Schlitterbahn Beach Resort.

Mayor Barry Patel introduced Cascos, acknowledging his many years of public service as Cameron County Judge, as a member of the Texas Public Safety Commission and as a Cameron County Commissioner from 1991 to 2002. Cascos was born in Mexico and immigrated to the United States as a child. After becoming a permanent resident during adolescence, he went on to graduate from the University of Texas at Austin. Cascos was nominated to serve as the 110th Secretary of State by Governor Greg Abbott on January 21.

Cascos said it was great to be home and went on to speak about the constitutional role of Secretary of State. The secretary serves as the Chief Elections Officer for the state and often speaks for the governor in his absence.

He has chosen to be an active secretary, visiting communities across the state and saying that no community is too large or too small to go to. In addition to this, the main role of the Secretary of State is to promote Texas, and for Cascos specifically, is to nurture and strengthen the state’s relationship with Mexico. Mexico is Texas’s largest partner in terms of trade and is responsible for almost 500,000 jobs in Texas alone. Although it is a federal issue, Cascos has also addressed immigration issues with Mexican officials encouraging them to secure their southern borders.

Cascos moved on to describe what makes Texas so great. He addressed the “Texas Miracle,” which is the reason why the state had been able to grow even in light of a nationwide recession. According to Cascos, this was no miracle at all but was a result of the fact that Texas is doing things differently than most states including the fact that it is one of only seven states that does not have a state income tax, which is a major attraction for businesses and entrepreneurs. In addition, it is one of twenty-five right to work states that does not require workers to join a union.

In 2014, Texas communities created almost 458,000 jobs and lead the nation in job growth. Since 2009, one out of four jobs in the U.S. was created in Texas. Some might argue that Texas created jobs, but Cascos disagreed saying that government is not the job creator in this country. When addressing what it is that government should do, Cascos said, “Government has to move out of the way to let business flourish.” He went on to point out that limited regulations are necessary, but more importantly, that government must create an environment that allows for job growth.

With many local officials in attendance from the Island, Port Isabel and Laguna Vista, Cascos shared five components to bring business to the area. Infrastructure topped the list followed by the education system and healthcare. Taxes and responsible government spending were also on the list, with an emphasis on the importance of a stable local government. Cascos emphasized to officials that city meetings should be run smoothly and “fights” should be behind closed doors. He added that during meetings, disagreements should be resolved with commissioners voting yea or nay and providing constituents with their reasons why.

Cascos encouraged officials to think outside of the box saying, “We cannot solve today’s challenges with yesterday’s solutions. Things have changed, but we have to change with them.” The Secretary said he is happy and proud to serve and is using his opportunity to promote Texas and to promote his home in the Rio Grande Valley.

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