Like those that came before in our state’s rich history, 2011 was a year that will stand out with its own unique attributes. Even though we’ve only had a few days to reflect on 2011, many events and moments from the past year will continue to have an impact on our way of life going forward.
The year started with arguably the most critical session of the legislature in recent decades. Faced with a record setting revenue shortfall, state lawmakers buckled down, set priorities and confronted the difficult decisions necessary to balance our state budget without raising taxes. Though very challenging, we did what was necessary to keep our economy growing, protect our taxpayers, fund education, secure the integrity of our election process, account for Texas’ dramatic growth in the redistricting process, along with addressing a host of other critical issues.
Many other important moments happened within our state during 2011, starting with the center stage Texas took in athletic competition. As North Texans, we watched with extreme pride as our Dallas Mavericks emerged from underdogs to hoist the franchise’s first NBA championship. Likewise, we all felt a deep sense of bittersweet pride in our Texas Rangers after watching them play their hearts out in an seven game World Series with the perennial powerhouse St. Louis Cardinals. We also saw the historic first Super Bowl to be hosted in North Texas, while on the college grid iron Baylor Quarterback Robert Griffin III became the first Heisman Trophy winner from a Texas university since 1998.
Even closer to home than our Rangers and Mavericks, the Flower Mound Marcus Men’s Varsity Basketball team started the year by winning a state championship and then ended it as a nationally televised, featured high school basketball game on ESPN. The Byron Nelson Varsity Football team earned the first playoff victory in the school’s short history and Argyle High School capped off a tremendous football season by playing for their division’s state championship as well.
2011 will also be remembered as the year that Texas made good on the prediction that we would be the first state to emerge from this national recession. In recent months our unemployment rate has fallen as private sector jobs have grown and monthly sales tax revenues have experienced double digit gains, each strong signs of an economy on the move. Our strong economic performance in 2011 has set up what will hopefully be a prosperous 2012 for the Lone Star State.
Finally, 2011 was filled with many stories that will forever stay with us, including those uplifting moments and inspirational individuals close to our homes. As a State Representative, I was proud to recently honor Sam Davenport of Argyle for his efforts to bicycle from New York City and back in order to raise money and awareness for cancer research. Likewise, Emily Dombrowski of Flower Mound Marcus High School caught our attention when she took it upon herself to start a drive to raise necessary supplies for the Ronald McDonald house in Dallas. These are but a few examples of how our North Texas neighbors made significant contributions to our society.
Indeed, 2011 was a year filled with many memories. My hope is that you and those close to you will reflect upon it fondly as we embark upon 2012, a year that proves to be full of excitement and anticipation for the Lone Star State. Please continue to share with me your stories of personal interest in the future.
As always, it is an honor to serve you in the Texas House of Representatives and I welcome your feedback on all critical state issues. If you would like to share a thought with me, please feel free to contact me at my Capitol office at 512.463.0688 or by e-mail at [email protected]