Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Dispatch from Mexico: Arizona House Heads to Mexican House

The latest entry from Glenn Hamer, who is participating in a trade mission to Mexico City led by Arizona Speaker Andy Tobin.

As part of a historic bipartisan delegation to Mexico, Arizona House Members and business community stakeholders on Tuesday headed to Mexico’s House of Representatives, the Cámara de Diputados.

Arizonans should be proud of these fine ambassadors led by Speaker Tobin. The representatives here are from both rural and urban communities. A nod to the urban and rural makeup of Mexico’s House is on display here, too, where outside the building are symbols of the country’s urban and rural populations.

Our Mexican hosts welcomed our group with open arms, inviting the delegation of Reps. Tom Forese, Karen Fann, T.J. Shope, Lydia Hernandez, Catherine Miranda and Juan Carlos Escamilla onto the floor of the House chamber.

Arizona House members visit Mexico's Cámara de Diputados

We had a deep, nearly two-hour discussion on ways to strengthen the trade relationship between Arizona and Mexico. We visited on the topic of congestion at the port of Long Beach and need for a deep-water alternative potentially in Guaymas, and the need for expanded north-south trade corridors such as I-11, which would connect Phoenix and Las Vegas.

From the business side, we discussed the need for the U.S. Congress to pass a major immigration reform package, and reflected on how some U.S. companies could cease to exist if not for an ability to employ foreign workers.

Reform is in the air in Mexico as well. Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto successfully navigated a major education system overhaul to passage, striking a major blow against this country’s powerful teachers unions. In fact, there are protests right now in Mexico City as a result of passage of these reforms. It’s interesting to see how this rising economic power recognizes the importance of better educational output in order for it to take its place as a major player on the world stage.

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