October 23, 2020  ImageImageImage

Dear Friend,

U.S. Department of Transportation Awards $14.5M to the Port of Brownsville

This month, I was pleased to announce that the Port of Brownsville received $14,504,850 from the U.S. Department of Transportation through a Port Infrastructure Development Grant. Funds will be used to support the expansion and upgrade of a grain and bulk handling facility and ship-loading capacity.  

These federal funds will be used for fixing landside, rail and road improvements, as well as related planning and other development activities. When this project is completed, the port can once again be a major exporter of agriculture commodities worldwide. 

The Port of Brownsville is currently a major exporter of steel, aluminum and wind energy products in South Texas and with these improvements they have the opportunity to restore its business in agriculture. I look forward to seeing the completion of this project and the success it will bring to our region. 



Exceptional Residents of the 34th District of Texas

This week I would like to highlight the incredible accomplishments of a few members of our TX-34 Community. 

First, I would like to acknowledge Mr. Doug Dowler. After 5 years as the Mathis Economic Development Executive Director, Doug has decided to retire. He leaves behind a lasting legacy of growth and prosperity for the City of Mathis. I have seen firsthand the positive impact your thoughtful leadership has had on the economy of the City of Mathis. Thank you, Doug, for your continued hard work and dedication. On behalf of the entire TX-34 Community, I congratulate you on a fruitful career and wish you a restorative retirement.

I would also like to give a special congratulations to my former district office intern, Commanding Officer Dalton St. Romain, for being assigned Naval Flight Officer as his service community for the United States Navy! As an intern you were diligent, proactive, and eager to learn and I know that you have carried these attributes with you. It is an honor to call you my former intern. On behalf of the TX-34 community I wish you the best of luck on your new endeavor and thank you for your service! 

Lastly, I would like to congratulate the Texas A&M Kingsville’s Institute of Architectural Engineering Heritage team for placing second at the Association for Preservation Technology International (APTI) Student Design-Build Competition. Not only did the team place second, but they also won two of the five categories, Best Build and Best Poster.

The team included Jacquelyne Garcia Torres, Architectural Engineering sophomore; John Ruiz, Mechanical Engineering junior; Maria Garcia Torres, Architectural Engineering senior, Richard J. Rowland IV, Architectural Engineering senior and the team captain; Kaley N. Dodd, May 2020 graduate of Architectural Engineering. The students are sponsored by The Institute of Architectural Engineering Heritage, and Dr. Breanna Bailey, Dr. Francisco Aguiniga and James Glusing served as faculty mentors and Patrick Sparks of Sparks engineering (San Antonio), was the industry professional mentor.

Congratulations to these outstanding students and Texas A&M Kingsville. I cannot wait to see what you all accomplish in the future. On behalf of the entire TX-34 community I would like to congratulate you on this fantastic feat and wish you continued luck as you continue your studies.

These individuals exemplify the hard work and tenacity of TX-34 and I am proud to spotlight them and their accomplishments.



Meet the Interns – Fall 2020

Interns are an integral part of my office and have the unique opportunity to gain first-hand experience on the lawmaking process and inner workings of a congressional office. This fall, I have the pleasure to host four hardworking students. Read more about them below:

Image Hi, my name is Zenaida Alaniz and I’m from Mission, Texas! I’m a recent graduate from Texas A&M University with a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition. During my internship with Congressman Vela, I hope to gain more knowledge about issues related to healthcare, agriculture, and women’s rights. I’m very excited to learn as much as I can during this election season. 
Image Hello! My name is Nadia Faour and I am from Falls Church Virginia. I am a third year sudent at George Mason University where I study Global Affairs with a concentration in global inequalities and a minor in Journalism. During my internship with Congressman Vela I would like to focus on Immigration issues, environmental policy and women's issues. 
Image Hey everyone, my name is Rebecca Fernandez, and you can find me in Brownsville, Texas! This will be my 3rdyear at Georgetown University where I am pursuing a double major in International Business and Operations & Information Mgmt. At the Office of Congressman Vela, I have been fortunate enough to focus on policy areas relating to socioeconomic inequality, industry commercialization, and space expansion. I am looking forward to what the rest of the semester has in store!
Image Hi, my name is Cesar Augusto Ruiz and I am from Harlingen, Tx. I am currently a freshman at the University of Texas RGV where I am majoring in Biomedical Sciences. During my internship with Congressman Vela I hope to learn more about immigration, healthcare, and the BLM movement. After my internship, I will start preparing for the MCAT and hope to take part in scientific research at my university!

If you or anyone you know may be interested in interning in my office, please visit I am committed to providing opportunities to students in my district, and look forward to hearing from you!


Do You Have A Plan to Vote?

Election Day is in in 12 days! Do you have a plan to vote? If not I encourage you to make one and have your friends,  family, coworkers, and neighbors of voting age do the same. While Tuesday, November 3, 2020, is the official election day, early voting is well underway in Texas! The right to vote is a fundamental right in our democracy. When you vote, you are taking an active role in deciding issues regarding taxes, health care, jobs, education, social security and much more. If you are registered to vote, you can vote early, from now until Friday, October 30, 2020. Dates and hours may vary depending on where you live. You can vote early by mail or in person. Millions of Americans, including myself, have already cast their ballot in the 2020 election and are letting their voice be heard. Don’t miss out on this vital opportunity to participate in our democracy. For additional information on the early voting process please click here.





Filemon Vela
Member of Congress

307 Cannon HOB
Washington, D.C. 20515
(202) 225-9901


800 N. Expwy
77-83 Suite 9
Brownsville, TX 78521
(956) 544-8352

500 East Main St.
Alice, TX 78332
(361) 230-9776
301 West Railroad
Weslaco, TX 78596
(956) 520-8273
1390 W. Expwy 83
San Benito, TX 78586
(956) 276-4497