Thursday, April 24, 2008

I'll stick by my friends. And I'll eat more chicken-fried steak

Today's Date: Thursday April 24, 2008

Congressman Solomon P. Ortiz meets with Ingleside LRA officials

Wednesday, April 23, 2008 5:17 PM CDT

Congressman Solomon P. Ortiz met with local officials at the T.P. McCampbell Airport in Ingleside last Friday to discuss the Ingleside Local Redevelopment Authority (ILRA) and tour the regional airport facility.

Those in attendance included San Patricio County Commissioner Jim Price, Nueces County Commissioner Oscar Ortiz, ILRA Chairperson and Ingleside Mayor Pro-Tem Stella Herrmann, Ingleside Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Sandi Ridgley, Naismith Engineering representative John Michael, Ingleside City Council members Willie Vaden and Stewart Wilson, and Airport Manager George Alvarado.

Discussion among the attendees at the two hour meeting included the topic of how regionalism was being achieved in a new way through the ILRA.

“The ILRA is responsible for offsetting the economic losses as a result of the closure of NAS Ingleside. I am proud that Nueces County and San Patricio County are a part of this group,” said Congressman Ortiz. “Though there is a long road ahead, I am pleased with the ILRA's work and the progress they will make.”

“The ILRA's re-use plan will help ensure economic stability in the region,” added Congressman Ortiz. “We find ourselves in a period of growth and development in several outlying areas of the Coastal Bend, including both south of Corpus Christi in the Kingsville and Robstown areas, and to the north in Ingleside.”

“This was a great day for the Ingleside Local Redevelopment Authority,” said Ridgley. “Regionalism is the wave of the future with regard to the way in which both state and federal dollars are allocated to achieve smart growth.”

“It is a true honor to have the Congressman to take time out of his extremely busy schedule to tour our facility and listen to our vision for future airport operations,” said Price, whose commissioner's precinct has jurisdiction for the airport. “Our counties and cities are working well together for the common good.”

“I have found that there is a new awareness, not only among those of us on the ILRA, but as well among our four entities,” said Herrmann. “We work together well for a common purpose, and I believe it has brought our jurisdictions closer together in many ways.”

Congressman Ortiz was given a tour of the ILRA office, which is managed by Interim Project Manager Rose Collin. The Congressman also received a tour of the airport facilities by Alvarado, who was recently named Texas Department of Transportation's Airport Manager of the Year. “The Congressman and I have known each other since growing up in Robstown,” said Alvarado, “but it had been over 30 years since we have seen one another.”

The Congressman's visit also included lunch at Floyd's Ranch House, owned and operated by Ingleside City Councilman Luis Lamas. The group was joined at the restaurant by San Patricio County Commissioner Nina Trevino and Ingleside Mayor Elaine Kemp. The Congressman was greeted by several locals who were thrilled and surprised to have the opportunity to meet with him.

“I had been told that this place had some of South Texas' best chicken fried steak,” Congressman Ortiz said to Lamas, “and I wasn't disappointed.”