Texas County Judge K.P. George gets national attention for inviting Disney to relocate

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Fort Bend County Judge K P George. PHOTO: courtesy Office of the Fort Bend County Judge

Even before Elon Musk’s plans to acquire Twitter for $44 billion started trending on Monday, an Indian-American County Judge in Texas was already trending for tweeting his invitation  April 21, 2022, letters written to Twitter and the Walt Disney Company in Florida. These letters invited both corporations to relocate to Fort Bend County, in the Lone Star State, for better and more lenient business prospects.

Claiming that Fort Bend County is a unique and diverse place to conduct business, County Judge K P George, in two separate letters, dated on April 21, 2022,  to these corporations, wrote, “our residents and families compose the most diverse county in the United States, deliver extremely high graduation rates, and are one of the top capita purchasers in Texas, have lots of wide open and affordable land, while also being strategically located for the most efficient distribution of goods domestically and internationally including the best access to both inland and waters ports in Texas.”

When asked about his rationale behind penning these letters, especially to these two corporations, George told News India Times in a phone interview on April 27th, “this is not the first time we’re doing it. We did that with Amazon, Tesla, and Samsung chip factory before in Texas. Actually, we have had some success with Amazon. We wrote a letter on February 14, 2019, to Amazon. We now have three fulfillment centers, and one of the largest centers in the country is in Fort Bend County. So I always believe in reaching out to organizations. We are one of the most vibrant and diverse communities in the country with highly educated skilled workers and incredibly strong schools. We have low taxes, and we have large tracts of open and affordable land available with business friendly environment.”

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As a Chief Executive of his County, George said that he has consistently been involved in these outreach efforts to promote economic development, especially by creating jobs and securing tax revenue for the County. When questioned about how organizations will perceive his invitation when the move would be from one Republican State to another one, he responded that he has no control over Tallahassee or Austin, but has control over his County. He re-iterated that the strategic location of Texas is inherently a value added proposition for these companies.

About Texas having controversial policies and the manner in which those aspects will impact the State’s ability to attract new corporations, George explained, “I don’t control a lot of things, but I’m only looking at it positively. Texas has always been a business friendly place. Tesla opened one of the largest facilities, and Samsung opened one of its largest chip manufacturing organizations in Texas. Numerous big businesses are moving towards this direction and we will continue to be a business friendly and open minded community.”

About Musk’s plans to acquire Twitter, he said, “it might be a good thing. We have to wait and see.”

Since assuming office in 2019, George has focused on homeland security and emergency management, transparency in government, youth empowerment, and improving the quality of life for citizens while building resiliency through infrastructure improvements. He also seems to have efficiently handled COVID-19 testing and vaccination efforts, thereby bringing Fort Bend County to the top five of the State’s vaccination rate.

George in his letter, while elaborating that these corporations are subjected to authoritarian, anti-business and culture war attacks in Florida, invited these corporations to Fort Bend for “thousands of good paying jobs and billions of dollars of investments,” adding, “in fact, major employers like Amazon, Texas Instruments, Comcast, Gallery Furniture, and others have already made massive investments in our community including thousands of good paying jobs with many more major employers on the way.”

Along with Musk and George, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is also trending for his recent legislations in the State. On Monday, March, 28, 2022, DeSantis signed a bill into law forbidding instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through third grade, and on April 22nd, DeSantis dissolved Reedy Creek Improvement District, a special self-governance district created for The Walt Disney Co. in 1967. The move is likely to burden neighboring Orange and Osceola Counties, where property taxes for the residents are estimated to go up to 20 to 25 per cent.

After DeSantis signed the bill on March 28th, President Biden tweeted, “every student deserves to feel safe and welcome in the classroom. Our LGBTQI+ youth deserve to be affirmed and accepted just as they are. My Administration will continue to fight for dignity and opportunity for every student and family — in Florida and around the country.”

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