LITTLE ROCK – The leaders of the twin cities of Texarkana, Arkansas, and Texarkana, Texas, are setting aside all rivalries in order to shore up the economy on both sides of the state line.
They have created the Arkansas-Texas Regional Economic Development Incorporated, or AR-TX REDI. It is an organization that will recruit new business and strengthen the economy so that existing companies will stay and expand.
Fifteen-hundred folks from both states stood in the ninety-degree heat on Tuesday as I joined Texas Governor Greg Abbott to announce the creation of AR-TX REDI in front of the federal courthouse that straddles the Arkansas-Texas state line.
The last time Arkansas and Texas showed this much togetherness was in 1975 when the Hogs, the Aggies and the Longhorns tied for the Southwest Conference Championship.
I didn’t remind the crowd that the University of Arkansas “out-Aggied the Aggies” that year and crushed A&M’s hope for an undefeated season.
But that is football. We were in Texarkana to capitalize on the assets we have in common. We were celebrating cooperation between the cities and the states that will fortify the region with new jobs and new business.
During my brief trip to the southwest corner of our state this week, I met people who work in Arkansas and live in Texas. Texans travel to Arkansas to shop or to see a doctor. The state line is symbolic and not divisive. This new level of cooperation won’t require much adjustment for Texarkansans.
The payoff will be new and expanding businesses, more jobs, and an emphasis on strengthening the workforce through improved educational opportunities. Uniting for economic development is the right thing to do.
I like one of the slogans they use in Texarkana: “Two cities that are one of a kind.”
AR-TX REDI will suggest ways to combine the workforces of the two Texarkanas. This will produce better opportunities. Together, we will be more successful.
Regardless of the part of the state you live in, we should remember that we can do more together by combining our regions to work together for economic development. And your growth and success will be your history and your legacy.