WASHINGTON, D.C. - Despite the snow and artic weather in and around the nation’s capital city, the Laredo delegation met with senior officials across Washington today to continue building opportunities for partnerships.
There was a special emphasis today on public safety and homeland security. The delegation met with the U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Department of Justice Community Oriented Policing Programs (COPS) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) grant funding programs, as well as, Customs and Border Protection.
“We had positive dialogue all around the table today, both on our behalf and that of the agencies. Laredo is a known commodity to D.C. and people know that they receive a return on their investments in Laredo,” City Manager Carlos Villarreal explained. “An example of that investment was recently seen in the $62 million-dollar investment DHS and the General Services Administration announced in Port Laredo.”
Among the top officials that were in discussions with City Manager Villarreal, Chief of Police Ray Garner and Council Member Roque Vela were:
• B. Todd Jones, director of the U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
• Alan Bersin, Assistant Secretary of International Affairs for the Department of Homeland Security
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Health Human Services (HHS) were important stops on the list of one-on-one visits handled by other members of the Laredo Delegation including Dr. Hector F. Gonzalez, Health Department Director; Tomas Rodriguez, Utilities Director; and Riazul Mia, Environmental Services Director.
“Response at the border is response for the nation,” stated Dr. Gonzalez, Health Department Director in a meeting with the special assistant to Assistant Secretary on Preparedness Response, Kacey Wulff and Alyson Rosewood Acting Director Office of Global Affairs with HHS. “We also reinforced the need for surveillance and disease detection as well early detection and they agreed; it was positive discussion.”
Laredo Department heads highlighted Laredo as a best practices model for energy conservation, water treatment and waste water management green technologies and Border 2020 accomplishments with EPA.
Laredoans continue their advocacy efforts tomorrow with visit to Capitol Hill including Laredo’s own Henry Cuellar, member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Senator Ted Cruz and Senator John Cornyn is sponsoring the Laredo Day Reception at the Senate Kennedy Caucus Room tomorrow night.