By Susan Montoya Bryan
The Associated Press
ALBUQUERQUE – Their two-day discussion 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 30th annual Border Governors Conference 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.
“We are all neighbors. We are all concerned about promoting prosperity for the people we represent on both sides of the border,” Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer said at a news conference following the conference.
Representatives of Texas and the Mexican states of Nuevo Leon and Coahuila were also in attendance.
Brewer, Martinez and 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.
“Our region is a force to be reckoned with,” Martinez said, adding that leaders on both sides should feel a sense of urgency in following through on the recommendations developed during the conference.
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.
Also: Farley, Mott debate border policy/Arizona Daily Star