Locals talk Texan in Austin, Discuss issues with legislators
Orange and Jefferson County officials took concerns to Austin this week for Golden Triangle Days, talking shop with state lawmakers.
Events included meetings on industry, environmental quality, economic development and coastal erosion, and discussions with state Sen. Tommy Williams and state Reps. Mike Hamilton, Joe Deshotel and Allan Ritter.
Orange County Precinct 3 Commissioner John Dubose said by phone that one discussion included updates on an education bill expected to be enacted into legislation this session.
The bill targets adults without a high school diploma who could benefit from career or technical work.
Area officials urged Capitol lawmakers to support appropriations and special funding for Lamar University, and its state colleges in Orange and Port Arthur.
In a 12-page brochure presented in Austin – written by a committee of area chamber and city officials – state lawmakers were urged to be aware of hurricane recovery efforts and support tax incentives to promote affordable housing construction.
Other requests of the 81st Texas Legislature include supporting:
• Continued reconstruction and expansion of Interstate 10 through Orange and Jefferson Counties.
• A double rail crossing over the Neches River to allow for the growth of freight movements.
• Tax abatements and other economic development incentives.
• Strategies of the Texas Workforce Commission to develop and recruit skilled workers in competition with the Gulf Coast region for construction / manufacturing jobs.
• Removal of certain cities from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality’s “Air Pollutant Watch List.”
Also attending Golden Triangle Days were Orange County Precinct 1 Commissioner David Dubose, Orange City Manager Shawn Oubre, Orange Mayor Brown Claybar, Port of Orange Director Gene Bouillion, OC Economic Development Director Bobby Fillyaw, the Bridge City chamber’s Anneita Piediscalzi, the Orange chamber’s Tim Hughes and Jefferson County Commissioner Everette “Bo” Alfred.
“We’re going to have some stimulus money coming from TxDOT (Texas Department of Transportation) and some stimulus funds coming into aviation airports,” John Dubose said. “It will be interesting to see what we can do with that, because there are some things at the airport we’ve wanted to do but haven’t been able to do.” Dubose’s precinct includes the Orange County Airport.
Regarding Hurricane Ike, he added, “There wasn’t a whole lot more information than what we knew before.”