LUBBOCK, Texas (KMID/KPEJ/KLBK) -
Mayors from cities across West Texas gathered Wednesday to build relationships and advocate for the region.
The idea of a coalition was created by Lubbock Mayor Dan Pope.
"Even though less than 15 percent of the population in our state lives west of I-35, many of the resources that this state counts on are in West Texas," Pope said.
Amarillo Mayor Ginger Nelson echoed Pope's reasons for calling a meeting.
"When you think about one of the strengths of West Texas communities, it's that we are neighbors. And we take care of each other, and we value and work hard to build the relationships behind all of those friendships we have in our community," Nelson said, "It's perfectly logical to take that West Texas spirit of neighborhood and community and extend that to our cities."
The cities represented included Amarillo, Big Spring, Midland, Odessa, and San Angelo. The biggest talkers included road infrastructure, TxDot and water resources.
"As West Texans, we're born and raised to be independent," Odessa Mayor David Turner said, "In some instances, that can hurt us, especially if we go to Austin."
The meeting came days after Pope and Nelson joined 16 other mayors in a letter to Governor Abbott, requesting an opportunity to voice their concerns over special session issues, including revenue and spending caps and limiting annexation.
"In this case, it was a letter to the Governor to sit down and talk about what's important to us," Pope said.
"[It's] important as a mayor to say, 'I'd like to have a conversation with you Governor about what's important to the people of Amarillo,'" Nelson said.
Pope said Wednesday's meeting was planned long before the 85th Special Legislative Session was called.
The group said they will plan to meet again and continue productive talks.
"You just can't replace on your own turf, when you're able to go outside your area and get the vision of other mayors," Big Spring Mayor Larry McLellan said.
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