REDI for a new era

Governors, mayors announce new economic initiative for Texarkana area

Photo by Grace McGuire
Governor Greg Abbott of Texas waves at the crowd in front of the courthouse at the announcement of REDI, or the Regional;l Economic Development Initiative. Abbott joined the Governor of Arkansas Asa Hutchinson and several representatives and senators from both states including Texarkana Mayors Bob Bruggeman and Ruth Penney Bell to make the historic announcement.

Story by Joseph Rodgers, editor in chief

Governors Greg Abbott and Asa Hutchinson of Texas and Arkansas joined the mayors of Texarkana and many representatives and senators from both state legislatures to make a historic announcement at the courthouse downtown on Tuesday. To facilitate economic development for the greater Texarkana area, the governors have collaborated to form REDI, or the Regional Economic Development Initiative, which will coordinate with the city council, the state governments of Texas and Arkansas and businesses to attract jobs and industry.

“We will all benefit [from REDI] and we will be more successful working together,” Hutchinson said. “Texarkana is at a turning point when historians write the history, and they will write the history. They will know the vision of the leaders today who ignore the state line and say that we will grow more through addition rather than division.”

During the event, mayors of the Texas side Bob Bruggeman and Arkansas side Ruth Penney Bell symbolically knocked down the famous state line sign in front of the courthouse to show a unified front for REDI which was reaffirmed by Governor Abbott.

“It’s important that everyone here knows that we work very collaboratively together,” Abbott said. “We are allies together, not just today, but every single day working collaboratively for our communities as well as our country, and together, we are going to help you power the economy of the greater Texarkana area.”

Abbott also urged the need to unify because of the increasingly globalized economy and the steep competition America as a whole faces for jobs and businesses.

We must realize that we are competing in a worldwide economy and environment.”

— Greg Abbott

“We must realize that we are competing in a worldwide economy and environment. They’re not confined to state boundaries,” Abbott said. “Instead, they cross state lines. So as we gather today from different states, we gather for a single purpose, and that is to emphasize the importance of this particular economic development project as well as the importance of collaborating together.”

Abbott also informed Texarkana residents of how the region is “ripe for excellent economic development” and compared it to other cities throughout Texas that have developed into economic powerhouses.

“We’ve seen tremendous numbers of projects going into Dallas, Houston, Austin and San Antonio,” Abbott said. “But also we have seen projects go to the smaller communities like Longview, San Marcos and Arlington. Every time I have seen a headquarters relocation come in or economic development takes place, I have seen one constant, and that is a very active local economic development team.”

The governors both reassured the public about the purpose of attracting economic development.

“More importantly than any trophies or accolades, what you are going to do is going to change lives as well as change communities,” Abbott said. “It will mean more jobs for families, higher wages and a better quality of life.”