From Christine Perkins, executive director of the Comanche Chamber of Commerce
Texas Midwest Community Network announces plans for Texas Midwest Day at the Capitol on February 5, 2013. Community leaders from throughout the region are encouraged to participate.
“Generally speaking, rural communities are at a disadvantage when it comes to influencing state lawmakers” says TMCN President Kathy Keane of Eden. “By joining together, a larger group of rural delegates gets more attention and presents a stronger voice in Austin.”
The day in Austin will include a photo session with lawmakers on the steps of the Capitol, a briefing on issues important to the region, visits with lawmakers and staffs and a legislative reception for which TMCN is partnering with the Brownwood Area Chamber of Commerce to host.
The primary issues to be addressed by the Texas Midwest delegation that meets with lawmakers are water and transportation.
Funding the 50-year water plan passed by the Legislature in 1997 is most important. SB1 provided a framework for the management of water resources, including drought planning, water rights regulation, financial and technical assistance and data collection, however, funding was not provided. The regional organization supports bills that have already been filed to designate $2 billion from the Economic Stabilization Fund (e.g. Rainy Day Fund) to fund the plan.
Regarding transportation, it is the view of TMCN that the State must take on the responsibility of funding the basic transportation needs of our State. With the booming oil and gas industry and a heavy influx of new residents, the transportation system is reaching a point of critical mass to improve how goods, products, and services move from point to point in our state. TMCN supports the “User Fee” option to fund DPS as proposed by Rep. Drew Darby (R-San Angelo) thus not diverting those funds from current sources of revenue for roads.
The more citizens attending Texas Midwest Day at the Capitol from the region, the better the message will be heard for rural Texas. A list of the regional issues and talking points is posted online at texasmidwest.org.
For details on registration for Texas Midwest Day at the Capitol visit the texasmidwest.org website or call the TMCN Office 325-795-8626. Make a difference for rural Texas. Plan to participate on Feb. 5th.
Lawmakers representing the Texas Midwest region include Senators Troy Fraser (Dist. 24), Robert Duncan (Dist. 28), and Craig Estes (Dist. 30); and Representatives Harvey Hilderbran (Dist. 53), J.D. Sheffield (Dist. 59), Jim Keffer (Dist. 60), Drew Springer (Dist. 68), James Frank (Dist. 69) Susan King (Dist. 71), Drew Darby (Dist. 72), and Charles Perry (Dist. 83).
TMCN Member cities: Abilene, Albany, Anson, Aspermont, Baird, Ballinger, Brady, Breckenridge, Bronte, Brownwood, Buffalo Gap, Cisco, Clyde, Coleman, Colorado City, Comanche, Cross Plains, De Leon, Dublin, Early, Eastland, Eden, Goldthwaite, Gorman, Hamilton, Hamlin, Haskell, Hico, Knox City, Menard, Merkel, Miles, Munday, Ranger, Rising Star, Robert Lee, Roscoe, Rotan, San Angelo, San Saba, Santa Anna, Snyder, Stamford, Sweetwater, Throckmorton, Tye and Winters.