Governor, Lt. Governor speak at economic summit

By Donna McCollum - bio | email

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) -  More than 300 East Texans showed up for today's East Texas Economic  Summit. About four times that is how many people are moving to Texas every single day.

"It will almost double (in 30 years). That's huge," said Lt. Governor David Dewhurst. He was providing predictions on what that growth means. "Lots of consumers. Additional consumer spending," said Dewhurst. "For those of us in government, local,county, state we've got a lot of challenges."

They're the kind of challenges facing Dewhurst and Governor Rick Perry in their bids for reelection. Understandably, they focus on the opportunities.

"Bottom line is, word is pretty much out on Texas, and the word is good," Governor Rick Perry said in an appearance at the summit. Perry attributes in part Texas higher education preparing workforces for high tech jobs, one of the fastest areas of growth.

"This climate of innovation here in Texas have been attracting employers. Employers who have been chased out of some other states," Perry added.

Yet with growth comes problems. Wear and tear on roads, overcrowded schools and personal challenges will face many East Texans, including the ones at today's summit.

Dr. Ray Perryman, a leading economist, recognizes opportunity is measured in different ways. "No matter what these big numbers we look at say, if you wake up in the morning, you're worried about you're job, you're worried about your house, you're worried about your retirement, you're not going to feel too good about it. So we're on a path to get us where we need to be, but we're not there yet," Perryman said.

The summit provides East Texans resources for coping with the change. This summit brought a little bit of Austin to East Texas as state agencies provided information.

That makes East Texans think they matter. "These people who represent us in Austin really do care," Glenna Enos, a non profit representative from Houston County said. "They really can and will be available, but you need to make your voice heard."

If they listen to the state leaders Texas is on balance for coming out of the recession. They promise the steps for a turnaround are there.

©2009 KTRE. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.