Plans for East Texas Point to Success in 2009

by Kirby Gibbs

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - The nation's economic outlook for 2009 is rocky to say the least, but this year could still be a good one for East Texas, and specifically for local land owners.

This morning, Ron Hufford with the Deep East Texas Council of Governments (DETCOG) said that the imminent domain discussion is one that could come back up this year, and East Texas needs to have a voice in it.

"Private property rights, Eminent Domain Bill that passed the last session, that was vetoed... We're interested in seeing that come back up again and help land owners have more of a say in the future developments on their lands because there's increasing population and need for water" says Hufford. "There's gonna be need for transportation, but the land owner needs a voice as well."

Other issues Lufkin Representatives plan on bringing to the table at the legislative session include plans for better healthcare, and education incentives. And while many people are trying to cope with the uncertantiy of the economy, Lufkin Leaders are pushing to use what it has been naturally blessed with to keep the local economy afloat.

Texas representative Jim Mcreynolds says he plans on writing policies that will utilize East Texas' natural resources. His goal is to not only bring in revenue to Lufkin and East Texas, but to also find ways to use biomass and other resources to help lower utility bills for Texans.

"As far as natural resources are concerned, we have wind in East Texas, where we'll look at energy policies that will capture that wind. I think that's real possible this session" said McReynolds.

According to Lufkin City Mayor Gorden, it's also very possible that our natural resources is what will help keep Texas ahead of other states during the recession. "Look around", exclaimed Gorden. "What we have is pine trees and water and we need the state of Texas to help us utilize those two natural resources because they're not just East Texas resources, they are resources for the whole state of Texas."

Representative Jim McReynolds and Mayor Gorden, along with DETCOG members, will present their goals for East Texas during the up coming legislative session, which begins January 13th.