On Feb. 17, Gov. Greg Abbott delivered his State of the State address to a joint session of both the Texas House and Senate. I was honored to serve on the escort committee that welcomed Governor Abbott to the House Chamber and to sit directly behind him during his important speech. But more than my proximity to the Governor, it was a true privilege to hear his vision for Texas and to share that message with you today.
Finishing the Job on Border Security
In his speech Governor Abbott talked extensively about the need to strengthen our border security. I am proud that over the course of the last six years we have tripled border security funding in Texas, as well as taken other steps to equip law enforcement with the tools necessary to secure our border. Still, I stand with Governor Abbott in declaring that we must continue this fight until the border is fully secured.
The Governor’s plan calls for doubling our current level of border security funding, adding 500 new state troopers to the border region and increasing resources available to local law enforcement agencies along the border region. Having spent extensive time along the Texas/Mexico border during this past summer, I have seen first-hand the need for additional resources in combating the drug cartels and human trafficking along our international border. No matter of public safety is of greater importance to our citizenship than fully securing our border and I am thrilled that Governor Abbott has put this at the top of his agenda.
Providing Meaningful Tax Relief
During the State of the State address, Governor Abbott made it very clear that the budget the legislature gives him to sign into law must include more than $4 billion in meaningful tax relief. Tax relief is also a key priority for the Texas House, where the desire and wherewithal to deliver over $4 billion in tax cuts has been strongly echoed. As the official leader of the Republican Majority in the Texas House, I have been involved in many conversations on this topic and I am very confident that the sun will not set on this session of the legislature without tax cuts that will both stimulate our economy and provide meaningful relief to hardworking Texas families.
Improving Education in Texas
No resource is more important to our continued prosperity than our children. Texas has made great strides in recent years, but we must continue to improve the quality of education in Texas. Our Governor’s plan addresses education improvements from pre-K to higher education. Recognizing that it is more effective to get children engaged in education at an early age rather than later in life, Governor Abbott shared his support for providing additional funding for schools that adopt high quality pre-K programs.
These programs increase graduation rates and reduce the likelihood that a child will later enter the criminal justice system. They are important to securing our children’s future, as is expanding the opportunity for higher education in Texas. Governor Abbott proposes we see meaningful improvement in higher education by controlling escalating tuition costs and expanding many 2-year degree opportunities that lead to six-figure salaries in the workforce.
During his speech, Governor Abbott hit on several other important topics, such as improving the quality of life for our state’s veterans, improving ethics and transparency in state government, finding more ways to increase road funding without raising taxes or fees, furthering our 2nd Amendment rights, and more. I certainly applaud the direction that Governor Abbott has charted for making Texas even greater, and I look forward to working hard to deliver his agenda in the Texas House.
As always, it is an honor to serve you in the Texas House of Representatives and I welcome your feedback on these and any other 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].