PHARR — The city of Pharr’s annual State of the City address was a spectacle of lights, smoke machines, musical numbers and an opportunity for Mayor Ambrosio Hernandez to announce his intent to seek re-election.
Actress Gabrielle Ruiz kicked off the event with a song and dance before a video segment played showing the numerous events the city hosted throughout 2022.
Following a short video depicting city employees using the city’s TeamPharr.net broadband internet service, Hernandez was introduced.
“I want to thank our sponsors for making this event possible,” Hernandez said. “As always, this event is put on with 100% sponsored funds, with any excess funds used to donate to local community organizations.”
The mayor said he is proud to report that the city continues to grow, progress and thrive.
“The state of the city is strong and vibrant as ever,” Hernandez said.
He touched on a number of subjects, but the main topic and inspiration for the event’s theme, “Building a Smart City,” was TeamPharr.net. He attributed the city’s success to the internet service.
“It’s all about connecting — connecting people, connecting partnerships and connecting our citizens to the world,” Hernandez said. “The city of Pharr made it a priority, a priority to bridge the digital divide before it was the talk of the town.”
Hernandez said that the installation of the fiber optic internet service was 72% complete city-wide and 100% complete in the South Pharr area. He added that 695 miles of fiber have been installed thus far.
Another topic addressed by Hernandez was the Pharr International Bridge, which he said is the number one bridge for crossing produce in the entire country. He added that 65% of all produce from Mexico enters the country through the Pharr International Bridge, which averages 200,000 produce shipments per year.
“We feed the world through our bridge,” Hernandez said. “Everything goes from this bridge to the east coast, to the midwest and ultimately can end up in other countries such as Germany. We’re very proud of that.”
Speaking to media after the event, Hernandez said that connectivity was the main point he wanted to demonstrate during his state of the city address.
“The number one message we have is connectivity, connectivity because we’re going to become a smart city.” Hernandez said. “Connectivity because we have the best internet service anywhere in the nation. We want people to understand that by working together as a society, students, school districts, colleges, businesses, health systems, government, by us working together on one platform — betterment of our community.”
The event concluded with awards, including the Polo Palacios Award that was awarded to former Hidalgo County District Attorney and newly appointed deputy city attorney and prosecutor Ricardo Rodriguez Jr.
After that, Hernandez announced his re-election bid.
“The state city of Pharr is as strong and vibrant as ever, and it’s just going to be getting better,” Hernandez said. “That is why I stand before you today. I’m announcing, of course, that I will be seeking re-election as mayor of the city of Pharr in May.
“We have come so far together, and there is so much more to do, so much more. There’s no telling where Pharr will go, but with your support and our connections, I know it will continue to be a great place to go and moving Pharr forward.”
To see more, view Monitor photojournalist Joel Martinez’s full photo gallery here: