Mayor Ron Nirenberg gives his 2018 State of the City address.
Mayor Ron Nirenberg gives his 2018 State of the City address. Credit: Scott Ball / San Antonio Report

Every Thanksgiving, thousands of San Antonians gather at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center to serve 25,000 of their fellow neighborhoods a hot turkey dinner.

The Raul Jimenez Thanksgiving Dinner – a mass act of empathy – exemplifies not only the compassion of our community, but the spirit of service that defines San Antonio.

This Thanksgiving, I am of course very grateful to my wife, Erika, and my son, Jonah, whom I love more than they can ever know, but I am also thankful to serve as your mayor, working every day to make San Antonio a better place for every family.

Today, I am thinking about the men and women in uniform serving our country in the deserts of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan to secure our freedom here at home.

In our 300 years as a community, we have much to celebrate. As our Tricentennial comes to a close, this is a time to reflect upon how far we have come and how much further we will go together.

I am thankful that San Antonio is a center of action, with 66 new residents calling our city home every day. Economic development is accelerating with companies such OKIN BPS and Ernst & Young creating thousands of high-paying, middle-class jobs here. The new Frost Tower is now piercing the downtown skyline, and a new tech district is burgeoning in the urban core.

Our higher education community’s advancement is awe inspiring. UTSA is expanding downtown with a more than $200 million investment in a new School of Data Science and a National Security Collaborative, while Texas A&M-San Antonio is spurring a new hub of innovation on the South Side. Alamo Community Colleges just won the Baldrige National Quality Award for excellence and is educating the workforce of the future.

I am thankful that this year as a community we came together to work on our common problems. The Mayor’s Housing Policy Task Force worked for a year to develop community-driven, data-informed policy recommendations that City Council adopted to comprehensively and compassionately address the challenge of housing affordability.

The joint City-County Opioid Task Force spawned collaboration from a broad swath of our community from public health professionals to first responders. In the process, we secured more than $5 million in federal grants for anti-overdose medicine that is saving lives.

And equity – matching the greatest investment with the greatest need – is now the lodestar of policy making at City Hall.

The past year has not been perfect, but I have never had more faith in our future.

I am thankful that as a city, we voted for unity over division with Proposition A, and we rejected the forces that seek to divide us. This past weekend’s civil rights conference at Our Lady of the Lake University reminded us that progress is not inevitable but it is worth striving for. Next year, we will present voters a transportation plan to transform mobility, reduce congestion, and connect every part of the city to opportunity.

Imagine riding rapid transit to the Final Four 2025, nurturing a growing ecosystem of science at the South Texas Medical Center and in Military City USA, and continuing to attract people from around the world with our confluence of cultures.

I am forever grateful to serve as your mayor and together we will continue building the city of America’s future – and it is a bright future.

Happy Thanksgiving. Viva San Antonio.

Ron Nirenberg is the mayor of San Antonio.