County Judge Veronica Escobar Heads to Capitol Hill
POSTED: Thursday, April 7, 2011 - 9:33pm
UPDATED: Sunday, April 10, 2011 - 5:45pm
EL PASO- A local lawmaker layed out the issues the borderland faces in the nation's capital. County Judge Veronica Escobar spoke to a Senate committee.
Veronica Escobar testified before the Senate committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. The first-term County Judge delivered some strong words on her first trip to Congress
She held nothing back during her first appearance on a national stage. Judge Escobar went to Washington on the invite of Connecitcut Senator Joe Lieberman.
"The focus of the hearing was what has worked on the border when it comes to keep our communities safe," Escobar said.
Judge Escobar read a few pages of testimony, then took questions. Her main goal is to bring more federal dollars to the border area.
"When the federal government helps me supplement my local law enforcement through grants that help us buy vehicles or grants that allow us to hire more personnel, that is what is helpful," Escobar said.
Part of this hearing involved the cost to El Paso taxpayers. We pay the medical bills for many Mexican citizens wounded in the cartel war.
"My local property tax base is bearing the brunt of the burden of the uncompensated care for the victims of mexican violence," Escobar said.
Since 2008, El Paso has spent nearly five million dollars treating those injured in the Mexican drug war. The federal government has reimbursed the city only $1.2 million. We pay the rest of the bill, almost $4 million.
Escobar's overall message was that El Paso needs more federal money. She says feds routinely brag about El Paso when they want to highlight border security, but aren't nearly so fast to fund the border war in the Sun City.
"If they truly want to deal with the issues that they talk about in D.C. and far from the border, they need to send the dollars that will help us address the issues that we're living with," Escobar said.
Escobar said she thoroughly enjoyed the experience of testifying at the national level, although she's not completely convinced the senators took her advice.