Last summer, I had the unique opportunity to spend time in the Kharkiv region of the Ukraine. In addition to expanding my knowledge of this culturally rich region and its many traditions and customs stemming from the country’s expansive history, I was also able to observe the many economic collaboration opportunities that exist between our state and the country of Ukraine. Through my numerous conversations with government officials and business leaders on that trip, I quickly realized that the citizens of the Kharkiv region of the Ukraine share the same entrepreneurial and economic spirit that Texans have come to be known for.
In an effort to continue developing this relationship of economic collaboration and opportunity between our two great states, I had the immense honor of hosting a delegation of visiting Ukraine elected officials to Texas this past week. This delegation included Mikhail Dobkin, Governor of the Kharkiv region, Yuriy Sapronov, Lieutenant Governor of the Kharkiv region, and Victor Bondar, a current member of the Ukrainian Parliament.
From my perspective, I have no higher priority than doing everything in my power to keep our Texas economy strong and growing. As such, I view this opportunity with the Ukrainian delegation as a great opportunity for Texas.
With only a week to showcase Texas’ proven model of economic success and different partnership opportunities to this group of elected officials, we made an effort to tour as much of Texas, and speak to as many government and business leaders as we could fit in. Needless to say, we made no time to account for their jetlag!
Beginning in Houston, the delegation toured the Houston Medical Center and the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. The Kharkiv region remains the leading industrial, agricultural, and scientific center of the Ukraine, and so we made an effort to establish an agenda that provided the delegation with great opportunities to discuss investment and collaboration opportunities in Texas with some of the leading experts in the fields that are of interest to the region. The week also consisted of a visit to Texas A&M University to meet with professors specializing in agriculture and energy technology, and a trip to the Barnett Shale to better understand shale development.
With an entire day dedicated to our State Capitol, the delegation received many opportunities to sit down with some of our state’s highest officials. Meetings with Governor Perry, Secretary of State Steen, Chairman Smitherman and Commissioner Porter at the Railroad Commission, and staff members of the Department of Agriculture quickly filled up the day, and provided the delegation with a wonderful chance to really sit down and have face to face conversations about investment opportunities here in Texas, and ways in which Texas companies can help Ukraine maximize its rich agricultural lands and abundant oil and natural gas resources.
Our busy week was brought to a close with a reception held with the US Ukraine Business Council. Besides the opportunity to further discuss our two states’ desire for a mutually beneficial relationship, this reception provided me with a wonderful time to just enjoy an evening with men and women who have become dear friends to me over the past week. I was blessed to have met such wonderful people last summer during my visit to their country, and I consider it a tremendous privilege to have been able to host them in the state that I am proud to call my home.
As always, it is an honor to serve you in the Texas House of Representatives and I welcome your feedback on this and any other critical state issues. If you would like to share a thought with me, please feel free to contact me at my Capitol office at 512.463.0688 or by e-mail at [email protected]