SAN ANTONIO – For more than 40 years, economical leaders of San Antonio have taken an annual trip to Washington DC to advocate on behalf of the Alamo City.
Local leaders say it is the best way to influence our members of Congress, administration officials and leaders at the Pentagon to shape funding decisions and the direction of policy — meeting them face-to-face.
One of our local leaders joined us Sunday on Leading SA from our nation’s capital to talk about the goals of the trip.
“Well, the goals are to bring resources to San Antonio. You know, San Antonio, as you well know, is the seventh largest city in the nation. We have needs just like any other city. We pay taxes just like every other city and so we want to bring some of those resources back to San Antonio, leveraging the projects that are happening now to make that money go that much further,” Richard Perez, president and CEO of the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, said.
One of the main topics Mr. Perez plans to speak about is our military community.
“Military affairs is always a big issue. As you know, we’re Military City, USA. We have the largest military footprint of any city in the country. So making sure that our men and women in uniform have the resources that they need to carry out their missions, but not just the person that’s in the uniform, but their families. Increasingly, when the Department of Defense scores a community on the whether it’s a good place for more military missions to be located, they look at things like child care. They look at things like health care. They look at the school systems for the children of the military people and those are the things that increasingly are just as important as any other infrastructure, if you will. So making sure that we are investing dollars in families... We also want to tell the story of the fact that we are doing a good job in that area,” Perez said.
Another important topic is transportation.
“Transportation is huge. And in fact, there is the bipartisan infrastructure bill that was signed by the president a few months ago. Those moneys are now being the scheme for getting them out to communities is being developed now. And we want to tell the story of San Antonio, and that is we have a $1.2 billion bond that we’re all going to vote for in May. And I’m very hopeful it will pass. We can use that bond to leverage additional federal dollars to come to San Antonio,” Perez said.
The fruits of the SA to DC trip may not come overnight, but Perez is confident it will be a success because it has been in the past.
“Slowly but surely, we kept advocating. And Senator Cornyn and Congressman Henry Cuellar were the two tips of the spear that helped us get that money. So if we don’t come back on Wednesday with a check in our hand, I can assure you that we’re putting a good down payment to make that check happen...,” Perez said.
You can watch the full interview with Perez in the video player above.