Noriega joked that he ought to come down more often to the Valley, so that the region gets more attention from Cornyn. He said it was quite remarkable that Cornyn would announce a bill for a VA hospital in the Valley within days of confirming his decision to set up an exploratory committee.
"I need to come back more often so the Valley can, maybe, get their levees fixed, get their interstate built, get better health care," Noriega said. "I'll keep coming back so that the Valley can finally be paid attention, after six years of the junior Senator not knowing where the Valley was on the map. If it holds people's feet to the fire, I am coming down here more often."
Noriega said his intention was to "speak truth to power" over the coming months on behalf of millions of Texans who have not had proper representation in the U.S. Senate for the past six years. "This senator decided early on to represent one Texan - the President of the United States. He has carried George Bush's brief case. He has not represented the 22 million people that live in the state of Texas," Noriega said.
Noriega offered an example of what he believes is inadequate representation. "You have a united border leadership saying that a border wall will not work. Not to listen to that advice is not to represent the people of South Texas," Noriega said. "The question is will Texas voters hold him (Cornyn) accountable for voting for the border wall on two occasions? No one is holding his feet to the fire."
Noriega was just as critical of Cornyn over his help for Valley veterans. Last week, Cornyn announced he was filing legislation that would require the VA to report on the inpatient care needs of Valley veterans.
`The veterans have been screaming for a VA hospital for years. It has taken Mr. Cornyn six years and the threat of opposition to finally speak up on the issue," Noriega said. "A veterans' hospital would have been my issue the first year, not the sixth year. Not when it is election time."
Noriega said his duties in the National Guard in the Valley have included "putting people on buses, either to Kingsville, to El Paso, or to Sam Houston, so some poor guy can get an appointment he made four months ago." He said more people need to realize that Texas does not end in San Antonio.
"This is one of the most patriotic parts of the state. You look at the number of people who serve from the Valley, it is quite impressive. It's powerful and it's moving. The people should have a voice," Noriega said.