I’d like to start the column by recognizing a very special group of young constituents that made their way to Austin this past week. The San Augustine High School Band was selected to come to their State Capitol to help commemorate the State of Texas Anniversary Remembrance Day. It was my distinct honor to introduce them in front of hundreds of Texans in the Capitol rotunda, whom I’m sure were just as blown away by the sound of the band as I was. It was a beautiful start to the week and I was honored to be a part of the ceremony. With that said, here’s an update on what’s happening here in Austin. . .
Meetings and Engagements
I recently had the privilege of delivering the opening address for Texas FFA Day at the Capitol. As a former FFA member, I have a special place in my heart for this youth organization and the values it instills in our young people. I was very pleased with the turnout, and I enjoyed visiting with a number of members from my district. These young people are our future. Therefore, I encouraged them to consider volunteer and public service opportunities in their communities, their state, and their county country, as they graduate from high school.
The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Article III, which I chair, has convened bright and early at 7:30 every morning this week as we begin to consider our state’s budget as it relates to public and higher education. We have heard testimony from the Texas Education Agency, institutions of higher learning, and their related agencies, such as the AgriLife Extension Service and the Texas Forest Service. These early meetings will continue over the next several weeks as we deliberate on how we can responsibly allocate our state’s funds.
I’d like to bring everyone up to speed on a couple pieces of legislation regarding the proposed high speed rail project in Texas, which I filed in response to the tremendous amount of opposition our office has heard from constituents. This past week I filed HB 2172, which prohibits the Texas Legislature from appropriating money to pay for the cost of the project. Another bill I filed, HB 2173, would require the Texas Department of Transportation to produce a report that assesses whether ridership will be sufficient to provide the project with enough revenue to sustain long term operation. Moreover, the report must assess any projected costs to the communities that would be affected by the high speed rail. It’s a fact there isn’t a high speed rail project in the world that doesn’t require taxpayer subsidies, and I don’t want Texans to be paying for project that is largely foreign owned and I believe destined to fail.
The mobile office is back on the road in March and looks forward to seeing you around the district! Here’s this month’s schedule: March 1st from 9am – 11am at the Leon County Courthouse in Centerville or from 1:30pm – 3:30pm at the Madison County Courthouse Annex in Madisonville. You can also visit us on March 15th from 9am – 11am at the Houston County Courthouse Annex in Crockett or from 1:30pm – 3:30pm at the Trinity County Courthouse in Groveton. Finally, you can come see us on March 22nd from 9am – 11am at the San Augustine County Courthouse in San Augustine. 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, or you can call my Capitol office at (512) 463-0508.