The 30th annual Border Governors Conference touched on everything from economic development and health care to border violence, and governors from both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border agreed Friday that only strong partnerships will allow them to tackle the issues.
The two-day discussion wrapped up with a closing ceremony in which the governors of New Mexico and Arizona and the Mexican states of Baja California, Sonora and Chihuahua vowed to continue working together.
Representatives of Texas and the Mexican states of Nuevo Leon and Coahuila were also in attendance.
Governors Brewer and Martinez, together with representatives from Texas, pointed to the billions of dollars in exports that move from their states to Mexico each year. They said the border region represents one-quarter of the nation’s gross domestic product and new emphasis needs to be put on developing strategies for improving communication, transportation and infrastructure along the U.S-Mexico border.
Despite all the talk about competitiveness and economics, warring drug cartels and the violence that stems from drug trafficking and human smuggling could not be ignored. “It’s an issue we talk about,” said Sonora Gov. Guillermo Padres Elias. “We always talk about how to help each other. We see obviously the risks, but we also see the great benefits we have between the states in the border region. It’s not something you should keep as a secret, it’s something you put on the table and try to work through.”