Jobs and the Economy
The Economic Resource & Career Fair 2011 at the State Farm Arena in Hidalgo County was a great success Close to 3,000 jobs available and over 5,000 job pursuers came to meet recruiters.
Creating jobs and reducing unemployment has been my primary mission since coming to Congress. When I was elected in 1997, the unemployment rate for Hidalgo County sat at an unconscionable 22 percent. I made it my goal to help bring this number down to a single digit and we succeeded -- within the first ten years, we brought the rate down below 6 percent. Although with the current economic downturn our numbers have crept back up to around 11 percent we have closed the gap between the 15th District and the rest of the nation. I focused on infrastructure modernization, workforce training and health care in order to position our district to compete in the global economy and create good paying jobs.
The 15th District has seen remarkable growth. The McAllen metro area was one of only two US cities that had employment levels completely recovered to pre-recession levels by the first quarter of 2011 and the McAllen metro area was the only one of the largest 100 US metro areas to gain jobs. I helped secure the permits and funding for infrastructure projects like the Anzalduas International Bridge at Mission and the Donna International Bridge in Donna which have increased cross border traffic dramatically. In the north, the new Eagle Ford Shale field is bringing much needed revenue and jobs to the rural communities of the Coastal Bend. As a champion of small business, I have worked to open new markets for South Texas products and defend the Small Business Administration's programs that help entrepreneurs access credit and expand their businesses.
In Congress I continue to support initiatives like Make it in America and the President's "An America Built to Last".
These are comprehensive efforts that include:
- Investing in infrastructure and supporting the flow of commerce
- Keeping America competitive
- Supporting small businesses
- Smart tax policy
- Clean energy jobs
- Innovative education policy
By focusing on these critical investments in our future, we can create an environment that:
- Creates good-paying middle class jobs;
- Boosts America’s global competitiveness;
- Creates a trained workforce; and
- Helps to spur growth in other areas of the economy that support manufacturing.