A bipartisan group of lawmakers and representatives from the offices of Governor Rick Perry, Attorney General Greg Abbott and Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples traveled to California on Monday with one goal in mind — convince Huy Fong Foods founder and chief executive to move his famous Sriracha company to Texas.
The bold lawmakers are making their business pitch to owner David Tran following legal issues placed on his company's plant by the city of Irwindale in California.
More below the jump.The delegation of lawmakers, self-proclaimed the “sriracha delegation,” consisted of Texas state Representatives Jason Villalba (R-Dallas) and Hubert Vo (D-Houston), and state Senator Carlos Uresti (D-San Antonio). The lawmakers were also accompanied by members of the offices of Rick Perry, Greg Abbott and Todd Staples.
The lawmakers came ahead of a potential legal battle this week by the city of Irwindale against Huy Fong Foods. The city government of Irwindale had previously planned to vote whether the factory plant was a “public nuisance,” but retracted such measure after receiving pressure from elected officials in California. A vote may now be pending for Wednesday.
“I feel very happy; I have a lot of support,” said Tran. “If I can create more jobs for the U.S.A., I will do it.”
Even U.S. Senator Ted Cruz is advocating for the idea:
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) April 21, 2014
While the lawmakers claimed not to be in some kind of “job-poaching” mission on Monday, coming up with a relocation deal to Texas would create hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars in tax revenue for the state. In terms of a suitable location, San Antonio is the city where most of the chile peppers needed to make the sauce are grown.
The transition itself may not be the smoothest, however — according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, only 8,000 tons of chile peppers were produced in Texas in 2011. The numbers of chile peppers expected this season by Tran from his current pepper grower, Underwood Farms, is 58,000 tons. Add to this future potential problem is most of the chile peppers grown in Texas are green, while Sriracha uses red chile peppers for it's sauce.
Following the meeting, Tran said he still had no intention of leaving California — home to Huy Fong Foods and Sriracha since 1980. For now, Tran only considers Texas to be a potential place for relocation if forced to make such transition or for future possible expansion.
Perhaps the “sriracha delegation” would have been more successful had they taken Tran some Whataburger to try with his sriracha sauce.