Jan 30, 2007

Tilting At Windmills



It is a sorry state of affairs in the Texas House of Representatives on this day. Paul Burka has a good look at today's vote. For those that like to watch a street fight, today is your day. Like a scene from Rammstein's Ich Will video it seemed more like a day to vent anger and bask in that anger. I hope for better days.

UPDATE:

The Austin American Statesman has come up with an editorial that pretty much sums up things:

Was Democrats' petty victory worth it?
EDITORIAL BOARD

A minority of the minority party, the Democrats, in the Texas House managed on Tuesday to trip up House Speaker Tom Craddick, an unpopular Republican, but it's hard to see just why other than an attempt to embarrass him. It's also hard to see just what was accomplished for the people of Texas.

A constitutional rule bars the Texas House from voting on bills in the first 60 days of a regular 140-day regular legislative session, which began Jan. 9. The rule can be suspended on a four-fifths vote, thus requiring at least 120 members of the 150-member House to vote for suspension.

The rule was enacted in 1930 and the House has routinely voted to suspend it early in every legislative session since, except in 1981 — and now this year. On Tuesday, the House voted 108-34 to suspend, a huge margin in favor but still 12 votes short of the four-fifths required.

Democrats led the charge against the rule suspension, but they couldn't muster even a majority of their own to vote against Craddick. There are 69 House Democrats, but just 33 voted to suspend the rule, along with one Republican.

A majority of House Democrats — 36 — either voted to suspend the rule, as Craddick favored, or didn't vote at all, so the minority party itself was quite split over the rule suspension.

And what was accomplished by this minority "victory"? Legislative committees can't consider bills before Feb. 7 — just next Wednesday. That's not too bad, though it's a week lost to thumb-twiddling.

More seriously, the failure to suspend also means that the House can't start taking up bills reported out by committees until March 9, unless the bill addresses an issue that has been declared an emergency by the governor or the House agrees to suspend the rules for that particular bill.

On Wednesday, there were efforts to work out a compromise, at least regarding local bills, which address only a specific situation in a representative's home district and arouse no controversy whatsoever. The Legislature passes hundreds of such bills every session, and they can be especially important to newer lawmakers trying to get something done for constituents back home.

The problem with delaying action on any bills until March is that it will reduce their chances of getting a shot at any up-or-down House vote as the automatic May 28 adjournment approaches. The calendar will simply be too crowded to get to all of the bills that members want to be heard — and some Democrats whose bills die as a result will no doubt accuse the speaker of singling them out for punishment.

And maybe he will. Craddick has been justly criticized for some heavy-handed tactics to pass favored bills, and he was forced to fight to keep the speaker's chair on the opening day of this legislative session. He has said he will moderate his ways, but it's too soon to declare that he has.

Still, this newest effort to embarrass Craddick by slowing down House business comes across as petty. A minority of House Democrats has seized on an arcane rule to throw mud on Craddick, but the stuff is sticking to the throwers.

The Houston Chronicle has other words of critisism.

The Dallas Morning News also shares a little love for the legislature's ich will event.

Even the Tyler Morning Telegraph chimes in with an editorial against the action exhibited.

Jan 29, 2007

Report Says Treatment Could Save Prison Space, Money

"More drug and alcohol treatment and fewer new prison cells could save Texas $442 million over the next five years, according to a major report that will be presented to House and Senate criminal justice committees today.
The report, obtained by the San Antonio Express-News and the Houston Chronicle, will recommend saving $377 million by avoiding construction of prisons for up to 5,000 more inmates."


The San Antonio Express has the scoop on the report.

The 80th Legislative Waltz Begins



The board is set the pieces are moving ... and so begins our biennial ritual. Governing a state of 25 million people with a gross state product of $982.4 billion dollars and to do so effectively that is a challenge. Preparing for the future that our state demographer (Steve Murdock) fortells in a conservative political climate will challenge the men and women who are shouldered with the choices that confront the state.

Now that the Speaker election and the committee appointments are behind us, it is time to get to the real work of governing the state. The Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence will quickly be organized. After I select the new staff (which is my first order of business) for the committee, I am hoping to have our first organizational meeting at the first possible date.

I am hoping that the larger workload will not interfere with my ability to post on this journal. I look forward to the challenge and would invite your input. We may not always agree but your constructive comments are appreciated.

Jan 28, 2007

Senator Clinton Coming To The Valley

I had dinner with a group of well connected politicos last night from the (neighbor)hood. They inform me that Senator Hillary Clinton is penciled in to come to the Valley on March 17. I guess the presidential campaign cycle has begun. Keep your eyes open for this one. I guess the Time magazine cover was correct in placing a question mark after - Senator Clinton.

The Prophet



The "prophet" demographer Steve Murdock is featured in the San Antonio Express newspaper. Steve is well known to state legislators as he regularly presents his data to the members. If you are unfamilar with his data it is worth reading. Stop by your local bookstore and pick up a copy of "The Texas Challenge: Population Change and the Future of Texas."

Jan 27, 2007

Hidalgo County Peace March



In conjunction with national events, various religious groups and individuals from throughout the Valley participated in a march and rally to encourage peace in the Middle East. With news that two more soldiers from the Valley lost their lives in Iraq last week organizers asked that I attend to hear their concerns.

Jan 26, 2007

The Texas House Committee Appointments



The appointments to the various committees of the Texas House of Representatives have been released. The chairmen are as follows:

1. Kevin Bailey (D - Houston) - Urban Affairs
2. Leo Berman (R - Tyler) - Elections
3. Dennis H. Bonnen (R - Angleton) - Environmental Regulation
4. William A. Callegari (R - Katy) - Government Reform
5. Warren D. Chisum (R - Pampa) - Appropriations
6. Byron C. Cook (R - Corsicana) - Civil Practices
7. Frank J. Corte, Jr. (R - San Antonio) - Def. Affairs & St.-Fed. Rel.
8. Joe Crabb (R - Atascocita) - Redistricting
9. Diane White Delisi (R - Temple) - Public Health
10. Joseph Deshotel (D - Beaumont) - Economic Development
11. Joe Driver (R - Garland) - Law Enforcement
12. Harold V. Dutton, Jr. (D - Houston) - Juv. Justice & Family Issues
13. Rob Eissler (R - The Woodlands) - Public Education
14. Ismael "Kino" Flores (D - Palmview) - Licensing & Adm. Procedures
15. Helen Giddings (D - Dallas) - Business & Industry
16. Tony Goolsby (R - Dallas) - House Administration
17. Richard L. Hardcastle (R - Vernon) - Energy Resources
18. Will Hartnett (R - Dallas) - Judiciary
19. Harvey Hilderbran (R - Kerrville) - Culture, Recreation & Tourism
20. Fred Hill (R - Richardson) - Local Government Ways & Means
21. Charlie Howard (R - Sugar Land) - Local & Consent Calendars
22. Jim Keffer (R - Eastland) - Ways & Means
23. Phil S. King (R - Weatherford) - Regulated Industries
24. Tracy O. King (D - Batesville) - Border & International Affairs
25. Mike Krusee (R - Round Rock) - Transportation
26. Jerry Madden (R - Richardson) - Corrections
27. Ruth Jones McClendon (D - San Antonio) - Rules & Resolutions
28. Sid Miller (R - Stephenville) - Agriculture & Livestock
29. Geanie W. Morrison (R - Victoria) - Higher Education
30. Anna Mowery (R- Fort Worth) - Land & Resource Management
31. Aaron Pena (D - Edinburg) - Criminal Jurisprudence
32. Larry Phillips (R - Sherman) - General Investing & Ethics
33. Robert Puente (D - San Antonio) - Natural Resources
34. Patrick M. Rose (D - Dripping Springs) - Human Services
35. Wayne Smith (R - Baytown) - County Affairs
36. John T. Smithee (R - Amarillo) - Insurance
37. Burt R. Solomons (R - Carrollton) - Financial Institutions
38. David A. Swinford (R - Dumas) - State Affairs
39. Vicki Truitt (R - Keller) - Pensions & Investments
40. Sylvester Turner (D - Houston) - Speaker Pro Tempore
41. Beverly Woolley (R - Houston) - Calendars

The Quorum Report has a pdf of all the appointments. But, if you wish a political master's insight and analysis on what these committee assignments really mean, stop by the capitol oracle's analysis at Billy Clyde's blog.

Vince at Capitol Annex also lays it out for us on his recently jazzed up site.

Scott at Grits for Breakfast looks at the challenges and opportunities facing the Criminal Jurisprudence Committee.

Jan 25, 2007

Hoping For The Best

It is widely believed that committee assignments will be coming out today. Like many in the membership I have intentionally remained as mum as possible as people speculate on who will likely go to which of the various committees in the Texas House. As good as some of that speculation may be it is better that I leave that speculation to you.

I told my local paper that I was comfortable remaining on the Appropriations Committee if the speaker would permit me to remain on that committee. That is unless a leadership position arose in the Criminal Jurisprudence Committee in which I now serve. As some of you know, my original intent in coming to serve in the legislature was brought about by my desire to make a difference in the lives of juveniles, particularly when their lives brought them in conflict with their maximum personal development and the laws of this state. I pray I will continue to have that opportunity. There is so much work to be done.

For now, all I can do is hope for the best. I suspect we will all have our answer very soon.

UPDATE: Quorum Report is reporting that appointments will not be released today.

Jan 23, 2007

Are Bloggers Journalists?

Are bloggers journalists? This conundrum is explored in R.G. Ratcliff's most recent post and podcast on the Chronicle/San Antonio Express blog. R.G. interviewed a number of this state's leading bloggers who did a good job expressing their perspectives. I added my two cents. The irony of ironies is that this informative post involved traditional bloggers being interviewed by the newest entry into the blogosphere - professional bloggers from the traditional press. I for one appreciate and welcome their involvement. Now, if they could just help us answer the question.

Express your opinion on this interesting question at the Chronicle/San Antonio Express "Texas Politics" blog.

Jan 22, 2007

Separated At Birth



Joel Olsteen and Rep. Kelly Hancock pose for a picture at the governor's swearing in ceremony to dispel the myth that they are in fact the same person. With twin brothers Julian and Joaquin Castro walking around the floor during opening ceremonies the sergeants at arms in the Texas House of Representatives were on high alert.

Jan 20, 2007

Day 3 - Valley Legislative Tour



First visit is to the Doctors' Hospital at Renaissance to continue the discussion on border health issues.



Rep. Juan Escobar, a former border patrol agent, discusses border and security issues with Senator Dan Patrick of Houston on the banks of the Rio Grande River in Roma, Texas.



Rep. Wayne Smith of Baytown, Texas is greeted by legislators from the Mexican state of Tamaulipas at the international bridge in Nuevo Progesso.



Texas legislators visit with legislators from the Mexican state of Tamaulipas in Nuevo Progresso, Mexico. As has been the subject for the entire tour, immigration and the border wall were at the forefront of discussions between the legislators.

As the Brownsville Herald notes, immigration was the issue of the day.

Jan 19, 2007

Day 2 - Valley Legislative Tour



Visit to the Food Bank of the Rio Grande Valley.



Visit to the Museum of South Texas History for box lunch and a little South Texas history.



Visit to the Edinburg Children's Hospital of South Texas Health System. We had a good discussion regarding the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), reimbursement rates, doctor referral practices, immigration and health care.



Visit to Hidalgo County colonia. The day ends with dinner with Mexican officials in the border city of Hidalgo.

Day 1 - Valley Legislative Tour



Bill Summers with the Rio Grande Valley Partnership rounds up legislators at the Texas state capitol for their visit to the Valley.



Legislators arrive in Harlingen. Receive a legislative briefing from Harlingen and Cameron County leaders on the needs of the surrounding community.



The arrival of legislative delegation at Weslaco City Hall in Hidalgo County. Introduction of officials, discussion of legislative needs and discussion of immigration and state park issues.



Visit to Quinta Mazatlan in McAllen. Photo of McAllen Mayor Richard Cortez discussing the importance of trade and immigration issues on border economy.

The Monitor newspaper covered the first day of the trip.

Jan 17, 2007

Valley Legislative Tour



AUSTIN - State legislators who have been on the Rio Grande Valley Partnership’s biennial Visit to the Valley tour in the past are recommending that their colleagues go.

“The Rio Grande Valley is misunderstood by some and so these Visit to the Valley tours are so educational and so much fun,” said Rep. Dianne White Delisi, R-Temple.

“For example, I deal in healthcare issues and on the trips I would hear about the problems, whether it be the number of physicians, healthcare costs, immunization rates. Visiting the Valley helps me address these issues at the Capitol.”

Delisi was quick to point out that while the Valley, with some of the poorest communities in the nation, has many challenges, it also has many attributes.

“When I visit the Valley I see vibrant, progressive, communities and civic leaders that are truly engaged. I am most impressed with the emphasis on education,” she said.

The Partnership, the regional chamber of commerce, has been organizing its Visit to the Valley program for state lawmakers since 1975.

This year’s tour, which is likely to attract around 25 to 30 lawmakers, will take place between Jan. 18 and Jan. 21, with an emphasis on Hidalgo and Starr counties. In 2005, the trip focused on Willacy and Cameron counties.

“During this Visit to the Valley we want to show these Texas legislators the sites and attractions at the Tip-of-Texas,” said RGVP President and CEO Bill Summers. “But more importantly, we want to introduce to these policy makers the extraordinary people and potential of the Rio Grande Valley.”

Rep. Joe Deshotel, D-Beaumont, said he has thoroughly enjoyed the Visit to the Valley trips he has made with colleagues. He’s hopeful his schedule will allow him to make it next week. “It is incredible just how many things we get to see,” Deshotel said.

Summers said the first two days of the fast-paced tour – Thursday and Friday - will include visits to the new Weslaco City Hall, the Quinta Mazatlan World Birding Center, South Texas College, the Food Bank of the Rio Grande Valley, the new Edinburg Children’s Hospital, the Museum of South Texas History, the communities of Pharr, San Juan, and Alamo; and the historic Pumphouse at Hidalgo.

On Saturday, lawmakers will tour Rio Queen Citrus, Los Ebanos Ferry, and the historic plaza of Rio Grande City. Summers said that evening Texas legislators will meet their counterparts from the Tamaulipas Legislature atop the Weslaco-Progreso International Bridge for ‘Fiesta de Hermandad: Texas – Tamaulipas,’ later sharing dinner at a Nuevo Progreso restaurant.

On Sunday morning, the legislators will round out their visit with a quick excursion into Cameron County, with a tour of the Rio Grande Regional Seawater Desalination Pilot Plant and the Port of Brownsville.

Rep. Ryan Guillen, D-Rio Grande City, said that when it comes time for his colleagues to review policy options and formulate their arguments back in the Capitol, those who have been on the Valley trip have a better understanding of the region and the issues relevant to it.

“There really is no better way to get 30 or 40 members of the Legislature down to the Valley to witness the needs of the Valley. The Partnership has done a great job of facilitating that project,” Guillen said.

Guillen said he was particularly looking forward to having lunch with his colleagues in downtown Rio Grande City and giving them an historic tour of the city.

“It should be fun,” he said. “It’s important to show them the needs, it’s important to show them the great strides we are making and it’s also important to entertain them while they are there.”

Rep. Dan Flynn, R-Van, said he was looking forward to going down to the Valley again because he spent so many years there. Decades ago he owned a company called Muzak in Harlingen. And, back in the 1960s, he used to be a bank examiner based in Corpus Christi and would travel to the Valley to examine its banks.

“All the big time bank operators down there now were all tellers when I was down examining the banks. So it’s kind of fun to go down there and see the success of so many of them,” Flynn said.

Flynn said it helps that, even though the region is heavily Democratic, the Visit to the Valley program is completely non-partisan.

“The Visit to the Valley really is the best opportunity that I have as a legislator to see what’s happening and what your needs are,” Flynn said.

“I know there have been a lot of changes in the Valley and I know that you have a lot of challenges. With this trip, we bring folks from both sides together and just sit down and take a look at the needs. I am really looking forward to it. It’s going to be an exciting time.”

This story courtesy of the Rio Grande Guardian, www.riograndeguardian.com with express permission from Steve Taylor.

Jan 16, 2007

The Inaugural Address

It was snowing outside today. It was also very, very cold. Thus the inauguration of the governor and lieutenant governor were moved inside to the chamber of the Texas House of Representatives. This is the first time this has occurred in the last fifty years.

Because of icy roads and hazardous travel conditions few members were in attendance for today's formalities. I had the good fortune to be in the chamber to hear the speeches of the governor and lieutenant governor. I must say that I thought both men delivered good speeches.

The governor's speech was probably the best I've heard him deliver. The rhetorical content make this speech worth reading.

The text here.

Jan 15, 2007

Rep. Rene Oliveira of Brownsville Facing Heart Surgery

State Representative Rene Oliveira was scheduled to have double-bypass heart surgery today in Austin. Our thoughts are with the good representative.

More from the Associated Press.

UPDATE: San Antonio Express

Jan 14, 2007

Lost 1965 Speech of Martin Luther King




The speeches and sermons of Martin Luther King have always interested me. On this holiday in his honor I wanted to look for some his sermons which I know still exist. In the past I got to hear one at a friends house and was intrigued. I went down to my local Barnes and Noble and found for purchase copies of many of his sermons. The quality of the recordings vary depending from sermon to sermon. The poor quality of some is because the unauthorized recordings were made by citizens at the event where he was preaching.

A quality recording of one of Mr. King's sermons was recently found that I would like to share with you. In February, 1965, Mr. King was invited to give a sermon for Friday evening Shabbat services at Temple Israel of Hollywood. The moral authority of his sermon based firmly in biblical writings and traditions still rings true. The links provided by the Jewish Journal are below.

The first part of the speech.

The second part of the speech.

Jan 13, 2007

A Valiant Effort



Austin Representative (via the Valley) Eddie Rodriguez proposed a rule that would allow bloggers floor access similar to that of the traditional press. Anticipating the argument that "unwashed masses with computers" would inundate the floor, the representative placed a threshold in his proposal of requiring any applicant blogger a minimum of 200 unique hits per day. One has to commend the effort made by the good representative. It did not seem that the proposal had much chance of success so Eddie pulled it down and used the opportunity to introduce the concept for another day.

The unfiltered (as well as filtered) reporting in recent days did not do much to win over converts and I hope these same feelings don't pour over to other legislation of interest to bloggers and reporters.

I did take the opportunity to ask some of the traditional press members about their feelings on the amendment. I will only report that their response was not enthusiastic.

The good news is that nearly all the members read blogs at some time during their legislative day. In the traditional press, many of them have succumbed to blogging in order to keep up with a changing marketplace.

Eddie was correct in bringing the question to the body. If a "true citizen blogger" is going to one day receive credentials to the house floor (without having to run as a representative) a thought out and reasonable threshold, acceptable to the members, will need to be advocated. I am sure Eddie would appreciate the suggestion.

Until then bloggeros, the balcony is open. Well done Eddie!

Other points of view: Capitol Annex, Eye on Williamson County, Casual Soapbox, McBlogger

First Week Of Session




The first week of session is behind us. We finished the week late yesterday afternoon. I got up early this morning to try to dodge the stormy conditions in and around Austin so that I could make my way home to the Valley. It was 38 degrees when I left Austin. Here in Edinburg as I type this entry it is a balmy 85 degrees.

The diversity of today's Texas weather is a good segue metaphor for the first days of session. We began the session with the swearing in ceremonies with our friends and families. That is always a touching moment. But like a Texas norther, the weather in the chamber rapidly changed as we moved into the election of the speaker of the house. As expected our former speaker was reelected to lead the chamber. This came as a surprise to some, but for readers of this blog and for the keen observer willing to look past the spin, it was not the excessively volatile and unpredictable race reported by many in the various mediums. This, the first speaker's race waged over the internet, is not likely the last.

As in the passing of a weather front, the temperature in the chamber fell, rose, and eventually settled, as the body got to work on establishing the rules governing the legislature.

Before a vote could be taken, Rep. Fred Brown was sworn in. The representative was unable to attend opening day ceremonies due to the passing of his mother. All members greatly respect Rep. Brown and expressed our condolences to him.

The House went on to pass a rule to ban smoking in the members' lounge and bathroom, leaving Rep. Garnet Coleman, D-Houston, who smokes two packs a day, to reminisce with reporters about the days 15 years ago when members could smoke on the House floor.

Others had their own way of exhibiting their displeasure with the rule.

Freshman Rep. Juan Garcia had his introduction to the process when he advocated a rule requiring record votes on the second reading of a bill. Juan who is from Corpus Christi is a good friend with a bright future in the House. His efforts led to the amendment that record votes be taken on third reading.



All in all, an exciting week, a very tiring week, but a strong start to what should end up a productive session. Next week, we return on Tuesday, following the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday weekend. Tuesday begins the Governor's inauguration and related ceremonies. Let us see if the weather cooperates.

Jan 4, 2007

The Speaker of The House



That time has come. It's time to pack the car and head north to the state capitol. The 80th Legislative Session is about to start. It's unfortunate that this will mean time away from the family. I do however look forward to working with a great bunch of guys and gals who love their state and want to do their part to improve it.

Before I leave and take a break away from this computer in order to prepare for the session, I have one bit of unfinished business to attend, namely wrapping up this series of reports on the speaker's race. Curious things, these speaker's races, everyone has a point of view. In the beginning, like any other house member, I simply wanted to wait to enter my vote and be done with it. Ah, but you wiley folks reminded me that as a blogger, I had an obligation to lift the veil of secrecy on the process. I have done my best to try to find a middle ground in providing information while allowing the process to take it's course. Well the candidates have all made their pitch and the members have, to a measurable degree, responded.

So here it is, who is going to win? Well, I've told you all along that a front runner emerged last weekend. Prior to that point, momentum was traveling in one direction. Then as one pundit noted, it became very hard for a challenging candidate to reach the 75 votes necessary to win. Yesterday, my good friend Brian McCall, withdrew from the race. This left one challenger to the current speaker of the house. Will he succeed where other challengers did not? Knowing history to be the final arbiter, based on observable evidence, including the majority of recent converts, it is my opinion that he will not.

Best wishes to all. I will see you in Austin.


Additional perspective from Paul Burka.




UPDATE:

Jan 3, 2007

Vertigo Conquered



It is the middle of the week and as expected the much sought after evidence in the speaker's race is becoming increasingly apparent to the members. Today I expect increased clarity. Look for public statements from leaders, news reports and listen for converts.

Every member has been measured and remeasured. With some reasonable degree of certainty the participants at the center know what the numbers are. Like good advocates each is putting their best foot forward. The question that remains is do the contestants, with the small remaining uncertainty, allow this to go to a final vote on January 9. I don't think so.

A negotiated resolution is how most disputes before a court in Texas are resolved. In this case it may be no different. In today's Austin American Statesman, Laylan Copelin and Gardner Selby, describe discussions between the participants which could lead to a resolution. We will see where this goes.

If left unresolved for opening day, I am confident that the candidate, I observed yesterday increasing his lead, will prevail. More likely than not his opponent will withdraw before the final vote. In the end we, the members of the house, will all need to come together as we have real work in front of us. I look forward to that day.

UPDATE: As expected see Keffer's public statement via the Quorum Report. The Austin American Statesman has the details.

The "converts" I mentioned last night are mentioned in the Quorum Report.

FURTHER UPDATE: (3:30 p.m) Look for a big change in the candidate dynamics soon. Look for more public "leader statements" as thing get whittled down. A candidate will be dropping out.

Jan 1, 2007

The Screen Photo

"You Gotta Spin To Win!"



We are eight days away from the beginning of the session. It's the final stretch. From what legislators are reading and hearing some at this point may be experiencing a bit of vertigo from the competing universes thrown at them. I have done some checking around because other than a few media reports it has been a bit quiet. From this perspective things seem to be quite settled with members NOT in the excessively fluid state suggested in some media reports. That is of course in comparison to their state before the holiday weekend. Frankly speaking, some of the members are amazed (some amused)(some angry) at how wrong some of the press reports have been.

Tuesday should begin the all out assault on the various members, with particular emphasis on the swing votes. I still see this race as having been successfully won over the weekend.

With Tuesday rapidly approaching, as the carnival barkers of my childhood used to yell out - "You gotta spin to win!" Look for that to be the slogan of the week.

Post Script: I know some of you want an end to the cryptic nature of these posts, but let's give the candidates the opportunity to make their case one last time without interference from this blog. It's makes for a more exciting race (and better relations).





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A Capitol Blog's Second Anniversary



A Happy New Year to all!

January 1, 2007 marks the second anniversary of our little experiment on the "internets." I have truly enjoyed the journey. Our thanks to all our new found friends who love politics and the great state of Texas. "A Capitol Blog" will continue into it's third year and God willing into the future. Something tells me it's going to be a good ride.



Photo credit to Bruce McDonald.

Song - "Rio Grande Valley Home"


Here is the sheet music.

"Rio Grande Valley Home"

For we love our Valley home

Way down upon the Rio Grande

Land of yours and land of mine

Land of the palm trees

and the bright sunshine

There we live in Paradise

Where roses bloom on every hand

For we love our Valley home

Way down upon the Rio Grande