U.S. Congressman Pete Gallego reported to members of the South San Antonio Chamber of Commerce on his own legislative agenda for that section of his broad district.
The South Side of San Antonio has grown since the Base Realignment Commission (BRAC), the opposite of what most people in the mid 1990s thought would happen.
What once were fields surrounding Brooks and Kelly Air Force Bases are now buzzing centers of energy surrounding the new Brooks City Base and Port San Antonio.
Gallego told chamber members that building small business will anchor South San’s future:
"I want to talk about some of the issues that impact small business. I want to talk about, frankly, the mechanics of Congress and why some things work and some things don’t work and what we need to do as a group - as a society really - to change it to make Congress be more effective and more proactive in terms of making sure our kids have a future," Gallego said.
Immigration is also important to the South side of San Antonio and the communities further south. Gallego said this is the legislature that will pass immigration reform, but he said there are infrastructure and resource issues he wants to see addressed not just by Congress but also by the administration.
"What I do hope is on the president’s agenda is the issue of water. Because we have such a significant water shortage in Texas on this side, and by treaty Mexico is supposed to be sharing water and they have not as of yet," he said.
According to the 1944 treaty that outlines usage of the Rio Grande, Mexico is falling behind on the amount of water it releases to the U.S.
Officials have said the last time Mexico fell behind, the deficit reached 1.5 million acre feet.
Gallego said that water is important to Rio Grande farmers, and also to the oil and gas industry fracking in South Texas.