The 87th Texas State Legislature is officially in session, and I am ready to get to work! I am honored to be back in Austin representing your voice before our state leaders. We will be tackling some big issues this year.
My primary commitment is to renew the health and livelihoods of families hit hard by COVID-19. Solutions come first from our fellow Texans through innovation, hard work, and generosity. Government must play a supporting role, cutting red tape and listening to local medical professionals, business people, and school leaders. I plan to author and support legislation to restore checks and balances where the government and Governor Abbott have overstepped their constitutional and statutory authority.
Another priority is protecting and advocating for life. Without life nothing else matters. Protecting innocent pre-born babies from abortion will always be my mission, and I will author and co-author legislation to defend those lives made in the image of God.
Accountability for spending tax dollars wisely also will be a focus. We must keep taxes low and regulation light. The budget will be very tight, and we must focus on core functions of government including public safety, education, infrastructure, and access to healthcare for those in critical need. I expect to be very involved in the budget writing process.
Restoring vocational training in public schools remains one of my favorite projects. A college degree is not the only way to succeed. I will once again author a bill to allow public schools to teach plumbing in high school. My bill passed the House in 2019, but met opposition from plumbing unions in major cities and died in the Senate. I won’t give up!
Second Amendment freedoms have really come into focus lately. I will author legislation that will ensure that if you are legally able to buy and own a firearm under current law, then you will be able to legally carry that firearm without obtaining permission from Austin.
On the local front, establishing a medical school in Tyler is my top priority along with that of our whole East Texas delegation and Chairman Eltife on the UT Board of Regents. We need a medical school, and the time is now.
Another major battle this session is redistricting. Following the census that was taken in 2020, the Texas State Legislature must redraw all the boundary lines for positions like the U.S. House of Representatives, state senators, and state representatives. Texas’s population has grown significantly, but primarily in the major urban areas. Smith County has grown, but not nearly as fast as the DFW area. So, it is possible that the East Texas region will lose a member of the Texas House. The urban vs. rural political divide is increasing. My goal will be to ensure that East Texans have as much influence in the redistricting process as possible, so that our voice in Austin will always be heard loud and clear. As urban areas gain more representation due to growing populations, it means that budget considerations and passing policies that are unique to rural Texas will become more of a challenge.
It is going to be a very busy session! As always, I invite you to come visit me and my team in the Capitol. You can also call us or send us an email. I love to hear what issues are important to those back home, and your voice matters in how I vote on legislation. My sleeves are rolled back and I'm ready to keep up the fight for you, for liberty, and for East Texas.
State Representative, HD - 6