The skyrocketing price of gasoline and unease over the economic downturn has candidates in the 23rd Congressional District crisscrossing the Texas border region to address voters' concerns.
Rep. Ciro Rodriguez and Republican Bexar County Commissioner Lyle Larson scheduled events across the expansive district to discuss economic plans and hear constituents' concerns.
"As our economy stumbles and people have a hard time paying their mortgage or dealing with rising gas and food costs, we must work toward a more sustained economic recovery," said Rodriguez, D-San Antonio.
He has scheduled a May 3 districtwide Amtrak tour on the Sunset Limited to meet with constituents from El Paso to San Antonio. An economic roundtable discussion will be held between train stops in Alpine, Sanderson and Del Rio.
The train trek through West Texas is not a Rodriguez campaign event, an aide stressed. It is not paid for by campaign funds, and there are no political rallies scheduled around the congressman's stops.
Larson, meanwhile, was in Eagle Pass earlier this week to discuss plans to bring jobs to Maverick County and the border region.
He plans to meet with constituents in Del Rio on May 3 at the 31st annual George Paul Memorial Bull Riding event.
Larson, like Rodriguez, said economic woes, particularly the rising cost of gasoline, are foremost on voters' minds.
"The economy is what people are most upset about, and they are blaming the people in Washington for it," Larson said.
The state of the economy has surpassed the Iraq war as the top concern for a majority of Americans, according to recent national polls. More than 80 percent of those responding to a recent CBS-New York Times poll said the country is moving in the wrong direction.
Larson said the border region could see employment opportunities through the automotive sector, in spin-off companies located between the Toyota plant in San Antonio and the U.S.-Mexico border.
He said increased oil production would also create jobs.