State Representative to Sriracha CEO: Relocate to Texas

By now we've all heard about the ongoing saga of the Huy Fong Sriracha plant, which was forced to temporarily shut down part of its production due to complaints from nearby residents about fumes emanating from the plant. We've moaned and groaned and wrung our hands, fearful that we might be deprived of the spicy red sauce on which we've grown so dependent. And we've whined a lot. Could California be losing a great thing?

The Texas state representative for House District 114, which encompasses part of northern Dallas, isn't content to sit back and wait for the Sriracha shortage to grip the nation. Instead, he's gotten proactive, inviting David Tran, chief executive officer of Huy Fong Foods, Inc., to move the plant to Texas.

On Tuesday, Rep. Jason Villalba sent a letter to Tran in which he wrote, "As a public official and a corporate attorney for small businesses, I am extremely troubled by excessive government interference in the operations of private, job-creating businesses like Huy Fong Foods. You have worked too hard and have helped too many people to let government bureaucrats shut down your thriving business."

Amen to that!

In the letter, Villalba listed the following as good reasons for Huy Fong Foods to come to the Lone Star State:

  • There is no personal or corporate state income tax - this means you would keep more of your hard earned profits;
  • Texas has the finest distribution channels in North America - based in the center of the United States, and nearly equidistant between Mexico and Canada;
  • According to Forbes Magazine, Texas has the best climate in the country to run and grow a business because of its low regulations and limited government interference;
  • Texas is a right-to-work state with a sophisticated and plentiful labor pool - ensuring that companies have access to good, well-trained employees to grow their business;
  • Texas appreciates and supports business owners. We do NOT believe in interfering in the internal operations of private businesses.

When reached by phone, Villalba admitted that his request may sound a little silly, but, he says, "We believe strongly in free enterprise, and that is something we take very seriously. We thought that this is a problem caused by California's overregulation and a litigious climate that stifles businesses from doing what they do best. What better place to do business than an open or free market like in Texas?"

Villalba has long been a fan of Sriracha, which he enjoys on much more than just Asian food.

"I'm a huge fan of pho," he says. "I've become a bit of a connoisseur. Any time you have pho, you have Sriracha and Hoisin sauce, and I eat a lot of Asian cuisine, so Sriracha is a staple of my diet. I have it on my eggs, I put it on burritos...anything that needs a little kick to it."

Villalba acknowledges that a key part of what makes Sriracha great is the peppers that go into the sauce. The chiles are grown in a specific region in California and harvested only once a year. He points to the Pace picante sauce plant in San Antonio as proof that chiles can be grown in our Texas climate, but also says that even if the Huy Fong plant moves here, they can still grow their peppers in California.

"The value proposition for Texas is our distribution channels," he says. "It's easier to get to the east coast, Canada and Mexico from Texas than it is from California."

Of course, he hopes that if Huy Fong Foods takes him up on the offer to move to Texas, the new plant will be built somewhere near him in north Dallas, though he admits Houston would be a decent spot as well.

Ideally, Villalba says, he hopes that Tran will take his request seriously and allow him and "a delegation of Texas dignitaries" to travel to Rosemead, California, and present their arguments to Huy Fong Foods.

So, Mr. Tran, consider the Houston Press on board with that idea as well. You get nicer neighbors who like spicier food, and we get a thriving company in our local economy. It's a win-win. And if you do settle on Texas, we'd like to cordially invite you to move the plant to Houston. Because let's face it: We're way cooler than Dallas.

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