(Austin, TX) - Last week was a very great week filled with friendly faces from the district. I truly enjoyed everyone’s visit and was glad to have been able to visit with many friends here in their Capitol building.
The Tyler county delegation met with Governor Greg Abbott about our shared priorities this legislative session and for years to come. I am grateful to Mayor Jimmie Cooley for leading this great group from my home county in a productive discussion. I would like to thank everyone who was here for their contributions to Tyler county and making the trip to Austin to petition their government. In addition, Rylan Grissom, grandson of Lonnie and Jill, joined the delegation’s discussion with Gov. Abbott and helped the Texas House gavel through parliamentary procedures as an invited guest on the Texas House floor.
On a separate visit, I was able to have dinner with four outstanding educators from Warren ISD: Cherie Stanley, Sarah Mannino, Daisy Marino, and Angela Moses. These four women visited Austin for their annual education technology conference. It was inspiring to see these educators dedicating their time to enhance their knowledge to prepare our youth for this 21st century hi-tech global economy. I am also grateful that their district’s administrative team understands the value of this type of professional development. As a fellow educator, I am always honored to meet with Mrs. Stanley. I am thankful for the work she does at Warren ISD and on her commitment to Texas children. She is indeed a very passionate advocate for our most vulnerable youth.
Joseph Gonzales and his family made the trip from Jasper county. I love the Gonzales family. They are committed to our Christian faith and are making the sacrifices to homeschool their children. They visited their State Capitol and joined forces with the Texas Home School Coalition (THSC) to ask for support of House Bill 1361. I was honored to be asked to file this legislation alongside the THSC that relates to the dismissal of suits affecting the parent-child relationship in which the court has rendered a temporary order.
Juvenile Probation Chief Edeska Barnes was also kind enough to come by the office to discuss legislation dealing with our juvenile justice system. Earlier this month Governor Abbott appointed Chief Barnes to the Texas Juvenile Justice Board and I look forward to the perspective and leadership he will bring to the board.
Serving as Physician of the Day, Dr. Ron McMurry was welcomed to the House Chamber by my colleagues and I. Dr. McMurry has served in this capacity every regular and special session of the Texas Legislature since 1985.
Kent Batman and Terry Johnson from Hardin county also took the time to come visit with me regarding their concerns this legislative session. As members of their local Soil Water Conservation Board and business leaders in their community, we discussed protecting Southeast Texas water rights and growing our local prosperity. I look forward to continuing to work with them and have the deepest level of gratitude for their service to our Southeast Texas community.
Also from Hardin county, Kim Deville and her children, Wesley, Isaac, and Vallie, drove to Austin from Lumberton to participate in Texas 4-H Day at the Capitol. This is a terrific program through the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension and I am always happy to see these young Southeast Texans participate in it.
The hometown district visits concluded in a “Tiger Roar.” Honor students from the Silsbee High School 2017 graduating class participated in a project that highlighted Texas history and government. The project required the students to use twitter and the hashtag #TigersTakeAustin to tweet out what they had learned during their two days in Austin. I was able to talk with these outstanding students about the duties of a state representative, the history of the House Chamber, and college readiness. Silsbee educator Erin Smith and two of her colleagues accompanied these Silsbee Tigers to their State Capitol.
Lastly, the Texas House of Representatives released House committee assignments for the 85th Legislature. Speaker Joe Straus appointed me to serve as Chairman of the House Committee on Corrections. I am honored and thankful that Speaker Joe Straus has given me the opportunity to serve as its chairman this term. I have served on the Corrections Committee since my first term in 2011 and I am eager to continue working with our public servants in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice in maintaining safe communities. While being good stewards of taxpayer resources, this committee has accomplished amazing victories for public safety, victims, and the rehabilitation of offenders. In the coming days, my office will be working to build a strong committee staff to serve my fellow colleagues: Vice Chairman Alma Allen (Houston), Rep. Sarah Davis (Houston), Rep. Ramon Romero (Fort Worth), Rep. Scott Sanford (McKinney), Rep. Matt Schaefer (Tyler), and Rep. Tony Tinderholt (Arlington).
Additionally, I will serve on the House Committee on International Trade and Intergovernmental Affairs. I look forward to using this appointment to highlight Southeast Texas global economic potential.
The Capitol of Texas belongs to you and visiting the Capitol during the biennial legislative session is a great experience. To assist in arranging your visit please call Saul Mendoza, my Chief of Staff, at (512) 463-0490 or at email@example.com. In addition, the House Honorary Page Program is open to any students 8-18 years old and my office would be glad to coordinate your participation. I look forward seeing to you at your Capitol this session.
P.O. Box 395,