The nearly 2,000-mile U.S.-Mexico border region is home to over 80 million people where over a billion dollars’ worth of goods cross the border each day. It’s dynamic, rich in culture and possesses immense opportunities.
As programming for this year’s Border Legislative Conference (BLC) in Ensenada, Baja California gets underway, we had a chance to talk with current Chair, Baja California Diputado Román Cota Muñoz, about his background, his district, and the issues in his community which led him to run for public office. We hope you enjoy learning about him as much as we did.
One last most important note, on April 26th Diputado Cota Muñoz and his wife, Alejandra, welcomed their first little one into this world. Congratulations on this exciting event, Diputado Cota!
What inspired or motivated you to run for a seat in your legislature?
Throughout my life I have had experiences which drew me to public service. The first is academics, which lured me towards the legal field with the aim to modify the laws of my state to achieve the development and well-being of its residents. That’s a passion of mine. The second is having served as executive secretary for the Mayor of Tecate, which broadened my perspective by working closely with the city’s residents.
What do you view as the most important binational issues for your community?
Improving infrastructure and wait times for Mexican tourists crossing into the U.S. It is essential for future binational agendas to optimize and expand modalities such as Ready Lanes* in cities that do not yet have them, which would have a positive impact for both sides of the border.
Increase tourism should also be a primary objective in the binational agenda given the important cultural and economic ties held by the CaliBaja** region. Our state has immense natural wealth that we are willing to share with our neighboring state, as well as with visitors who come from beyond California.
The strengthening of institutions is a pillar that we contemplate for the growth of democracy of our government. This is why agreements must be attended to – whether they are on environmental issues, security, or economic development – they are all critical.
What would you like people to know about your district?
We are the best of both worlds. On the one hand we have the warmth of a Pueblo Mágico***, with very marked traditions such as the taste for exquisite bread, which is the very best in the entire state, to a good beer as this is where Tecate beer was born. Also, development is thriving in this growing city, with a strong will get ahead.
What is one thing that most people don’t know about you but would find interesting?
I am a faithful fan of sports and physical activity. My diabetes diagnosis has turned me into a very active person who makes every effort to stay in shape despite the level of responsibility required by my work. In my free time I run, do CrossFit, and recently entered the world of “pádel”- a type of tennis played on a small court surrounded by a net or walls. It is usually played by two teams of two people, a sort of cross between tennis and squash, which is having its heyday here in my area. One last thing, like any good Mexican, I faithfully follow and am a fan of the Guadalajara soccer sports club (Club Deportivo Guadalajara), known by their nickname “Chivas.”
*Ready Lane is a dedicated primary vehicle lane for travelers entering the United States at land border ports of entry.
**CaliBaja is a vast region comprised of important border cities in the Baja California-California area that are hubs for cross-border collaboration due to their economic activity, labor force, world-class university education, and unparalleled growth potential. It stands out for its entrepreneurial outlook, unique cultural characteristics, and its 7.1 million inhabitants from San Diego to Imperial Valley in the U.S. and Tijuana to Mexicali in Mexico.
**The program “Pueblos Mágicos,” or magical towns, is a marketing strategy initiative led by Mexico’s Ministry of Tourism, with support from other federal agencies, to promote a series of towns and villages around the country that are rich with cultural heritage. They offer visitors