AUSTIN, TX (KTRE) - Funding for public schools, water rights, and support for the Texas State School were all at the top of the list for discussion today at the state Capitol. However, Senator Robert Nichols emphasized, above all, the importance of meeting face to face.
"I can assure you whether you're a house member or a senator, we have real citizens that take the time to come to Austin and address their concerns or issues and support not only to us, but the other members of the legislature," Nichols said.
Texas State Representative Jim McReynolds agreed with Nichols that traveling hundreds of miles to bridge the gap between Angelina County and Travis County is important.
"It's a thrill to me to have folks come from back home come back here to the legislative session. We get a lot of emails, we get a lot of calls, but to have people actually come in the flesh," McReynolds said.
Senator Nichols and Representative McReynolds said the state capitol belongs to the people of Texas, and the citizens of Angelina County took full advantage of that today."
President of Angelina Hardwood Sales Company, Trey Henderson, said, "You have to let these folks here in Austin hear from you. There are a lot of constant, big changing situations that require you to stay on top of it."
Angelina County Judge, Wes Suiter, said making sure the people of Angelina County have plenty of water in the future was a major issue for him today.
"We're willing to share, we have no problem sharing all resources for the state of Texas, but we need to be able to be at the table to decide how those resources are distributed," Suiter said.
Suiter said the Office of Rural Community Affairs gave Deep East Texas Council of Governments $59 million worth of government funding to fix the damage made by Hurricane Ike. Hearings to split up the funds among the 12 counties in DETCOG will be Thursday in Livingston and Friday in Lufkin at 9 in the morning in the commissioner's courtroom and the public is welcome to attend.
For Mayor of Lufkin, Jack Gorden, using the water we have to create jobs for the people of Angelina County was his main focus.
"We need to transform that natural resource into better jobs for the people of Lufkin and East Texas," Gorden said.
The people from Angelina County talked with more government officials tonight at a reception, but tomorrow they still have more work to do.
Although the visit to Austin may only be a snapshot in time, the people in Austin hope the trip will have positive, lasting effects for the people of Angelina County.