Fort Bend County Judge KP George has reached out to Tesla CEO and billionaire Elon Musk to bring his factory to the county.
George wrote a quick letter on Saturday and placed it on his social media accounts to try to lure Musk in bringing his company to Texas after he threatened to move his factory and headquarters from California over restrictions dealing with COVID-19.
“I understand that you have become frustrated with the climate in your current location as we all fight this collective invisible enemy,” George wrote. “However, I think your company would greatly benefit from learning about Fort Bend County as a search for a suitable location.”
George touted the county’s diversity, high graduation rates and purchasing power as strengths to bring Musk’s electronic car factory to Fort Bend County. George then invited Musk to the county.
“While your location in California is no longer deemed suitable for your company, we in Fort Bend County are more than open to welcome thousands of jobs and billons of dollars in investments,” George continued. “We stand ready to work with you and your team to explore the many options that exist in our community.”
Musk angrily tweeted that he plans to move his headquarters and company to Texas and Nevada immediately.
The Associated Press reported that in a lawsuit filed in federal court, Tesla accused the Alameda County Health Department of overstepping federal and state coronavirus restrictions when it stopped Tesla from restarting production at its factory in Fremont. The lawsuit contends Tesla factory workers are allowed to work during California’s stay-at-home order because the facility is considered “critical infrastructure.”
Tesla owns and operates a plant in Fremont in the San Francisco Bay Area. It is the company’s only assembly plant in the U.S. and would lose critical production time if it were to shut down to move equipment to another state.
An order in the six-county San Francisco Bay Area forced Tesla to close the plant starting March 23 to help prevent the virus’ spread, and it was extended until the end of May. Public health experts say the orders have reduced the number of new coronavirus cases nationwide.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom allowed the Bay Area counties to continue restrictions while easing them in other areas of the state.
Tesla currently has 48,016 employees, which would bring a big boost to Fort Bend County’s economy, as well as the Houston area. Sen. Ted Cruz and U.S. Rep. Pete Olson also tweeted support in bringing Tesla to Texas.
But Musk’s statements could be a part of a negotiation strategy with Alameda County, the state of California and the courts.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.