A letter from Mike Hernandez.

My name is Mike Hernandez and I am supporting Raul Villanueva and Ed Rivera for Port Commissioners.
I was born and raised in Brownsville until midway through high school at which point my family relocated to the Dallas-Fort Worth area due to my father’s employment. My family history and presence in Cameron County dates back to the early 1800’s and the majority of my family still live in the Valley. I am now semi-retired and chose Cameron County for my philanthropic efforts given the fact that it has the lowest per capita income in the country and because I have always considered it my hometown.
I feel that it is appropriate and legitimate to ask why I would become involved in the Port elections. My reasons in a nutshell are as follows:
1) Brownsville is ranked last in the nation in per capita income and has been ranked there for some time.
While I understand the challenges of being a border town to Mexico, the combination of being on the border but also on the coast puts Brownsville in a uniquely favorable position above all other border towns from here to San Diego.
We now have a tremendous opportunity before us to transform our economy and increase the quality of life our residents. And I want to help make that happen because it’s the right thing to do. Our community deserves it.
2) While the Port of Brownsville has a history of corruption, it is not my belief that any of the current board members are engaging in corruption in any form.
This particular election is not about corruption. It is about an overall lack of vision for how to create good paying, long-term jobs for the people who need them, and making the Port work for the community, instead of the other way around.
The bottom line is that, under normal circumstances, ports are an asset to a community in two ways…tax generation and job creation. In successful communities, ports normally generate their own operating revenue from the businesses there without needing outside subsidies. Unfortunately in Brownsville, the people must pay taxes to support the Port, which is the opposite of how it should work. So not only should we not have to pay taxes to the Port, but the Port should instead be contributing to the tax base of our community.
Doing so would not only allow us to better meet our community’s basic needs (e.g., streets, drainage, traffic, parks, trails etc.), but would also reduce our tax burden.
3) Personally, my businesses are in the metropolitan areas of Texas and are related primarily to finance and the automobile business, not shipping or warehousing. Any suggestions that I have some current or future opportunities to benefit from the Port of Brownsville is just political maneuvering and inaccurate.
The most important thing to me is that the Port becomes the job creation asset and the tax revenue contributor for our community that it is supposed to be.
While I am respectful of the efforts and commitment that the current board members have made over the last 8 years, it’s obvious that it’s time for a new vision to finally make the Port of Brownsville the engine for creating good paying jobs and contributing to the City as we deserve.
It is my conclusion that Raul and Ed clearly understand that, and have the correct vision and plan to make that finally happen.
But having said that, Raul and Ed are professional and independent thinkers. They are not beholden to me or anyone else, and do not have, or are related to anyone who has, any private business interests at the Port; which in my view would be a direct conflict and should not be allowed of any commissioner.
I firmly believe that their interest is to make our community better, and that they have the capacity and ability to make that happen.
I have invested in their campaigns because I believe that their leadership will give our community an important competitive advantage for growing our economy and creating more and better paying jobs. I believe that it’s every citizen’s responsibility to get involved to make sure that we have the right leaders to move our community forward.
Mike Hernandez