LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - The start of the 83rd Texas State Legislature is just around the corner and representatives and the Deep East Texas Council of Governments are getting ready to head to the capitol.
Before our East Texas state representatives left for Austin, East Texas News talked with them about what's at the top of their agenda this session.
Thursday, the Deep East Texas Council of Governments gathered together to kick off the legislative season. DETCOG is made up of judges, commissioners, and leaders from East Texas cities that represent the interests of East Texas.
Lufkin Mayor Bob Brown said what's most important for the City of Lufkin is to have East Texas' voice heard.
"Combine our voices with all of East Texas and make certain that those things that we hold dear to our hearts are addressed during this session," Brown said.
District 57 State Representative Trent Ashby says there are going to be a lot of issues front and center.
"I think education, transportation, water and balancing our state budget without raising taxed are going to be some key issues that we're looking at this upcoming session," Ashby said.
Travis Clardy, the state rep for District 11, echoed Ashby's key issues and both agree keeping water in East Texas is vital.
"We're blessed to be the most waterous part of the state, not only do we have great rainfall and existing reservoirs we also sit on top of many of the best aquifers," Clardy said.
The hot topic around the nation right now is fiscal responsibility and Ashby said Texas is unique when it comes to budget.
"Our forefathers had the good judgment to require our state to balance our budget every biennium, or every 2 years, and so unlike our federal government, in Texas, we're going to live within our means," Ashby said.
Ashby even went on to say that there might even be some extra money in the budget this session.
Clardy says Texas' fiscal path should be a model for the federal government.
"We will see our star continue to rise in Texas because we have plotted a course that promotes economic freedom and growth of business in a responsible way."
The 83rd Legislative Session begins on January 8th.
The state representatives and members of DETCOG will be in Austin on Monday for the Deep East Texas Legislative Reception where everyone will get to know each other.