Editorial

03 October 2022

Capitol Update: House Interim Charge – International Relations and Economic Development

On the misty morning of October 2nd, 1835, fighting broke out at Gonzales between Mexican soldiers and Texas militiamen, signifying the start of the War for Texas Independence. When the Mexican commander received word that Texas settlers refused to surrender a small cannon, he dispatched 100 soldiers to retrieve it. There were around 140 Texan rebels ready for action in Gonzales, and they flew a makeshift flag reading “Come And Take it.” And thus, the first shots of the Texas Revolution were fired.

The famous flag from that Gonzales clash has become a hallmark of Texas pride, with the “Come And Take It” message enduring today, nearly 200 years later, as a testament to the strength and bravery of the Texas spirit.

With that bit of Texas history, we’ll dive back into our examination of House interim charges. . .

House Interim Charge: International Relations & Economic Development

The committee of focus this week is the House Committee on International Relations & Economic Development. With nine sitting members, this Committee is responsible for matters involving trade relations between other states, nations, and the federal government. Additionally, the Committee has jurisdiction over economic and industrial development, efforts to support small businesses, and job creation programs. The Committee also has purview over several state agencies, including the Office of State-Federal Relations, the Texas Economic Development and Tourism Office, and the Texas Workforce Commission.

Like most House committees, this Committee will conduct active oversight of relevant legislation passed by the 87th Legislature and ensure the policies are being implemented as intended. To touch on a few, HB 3767 established the Tri-Agency Workforce Initiative as a permanent collaborative effort between the Texas Education Agency, the Texas Workforce Commission, and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. The Tri-Agency Workforce Initiative aims to build a strong Texas workforce and ensure that Texans are prepared for jobs in the industries that power the state’s economy both today and into the future. Additionally, the Committee has been tasked to monitor several bills related to supporting child-care workers who play a vital role for families with working parents but often lack adequate compensation and opportunities for career growth.

Following the pandemic, the Committee has been tasked with several charges associated with the state’s economic recovery. These charges include examining the economic impact of inflation, monitoring current economic development incentive programs and opportunities to enhance job creation, evaluating labor shortages and unemployment numbers, and identifying initiatives to expand opportunities to help meet labor demands. The Committee will also examine the state’s ongoing efforts to attract businesses in the technology and innovation sector, such as semiconductors. The production and manufacturing of semiconductors has become an essential component of our state and national economy over the last decade. Attracting capital investments allows semiconductors to elevate Texas as a hub for semiconductor manufacturing activity to rival chip production in foreign countries like China.

As always, please do not hesitate to contact my office if we can help you in any way. My district office may be reached at (936) 634-2762. Additionally, I welcome you to follow along on my Official Facebook Page, where I will post regular updates on what’s happening in your State Capitol and share information that could be useful to you and your family: https://www.facebook.com/RepTrentAshby/.

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