State Representative office to close
Because of redistricting, for the first time in many years, there will not be any elected state or federal officials with an office in Orange County after the end of 2012.
In addition, Beth Rach, who has worked as a district coordinator for State Representatives Ron Lewis for 17 years and Mike Hamilton for 10 years will be out of a job.
“I have worked for two great people,” she said.
However, Rach said she hopes there will be an office placed in Orange County soon and added Senator Robert Nichols does not have an office in Orange, but does a good job taking care of Orange County. The closest state representative office is that of Allen Ritter who has an office in Nederland.
“It’s been a ride,” Rach said. “I will miss the people.”
The furniture will be moved out of the office within the next few weeks, but will not close for good until Dec. 31.
Rach says she doesn’t know what she will do professionally, but said, “I am not one that just sits and does nothing.”
Until the office closes she is determined not to sit and worry about her uncertain future.
“For now I have a job to do and will do it until the end,” she said.
During her years of 17 years of service she felt, she didn’t work for the officials, but along with them.
Rach was responsible for keeping the office going while the representatives did their job in Austin. At different times she has had people work part-time or short term, but in the end, she was left to do the job.
When the citizens of Orange County had a problem, Rach listened to them and tried to help find a solution.
“ I took care of constituent concerns such as child support, insurance problems and more,” she said.
But, the hardest part was after Hurricane Rita in 2005 and Hurricane Ike in 2010. the devastation the storms left behind was difficult for area residents to manage. They reached out to the State Representative’s office in hopes of getting some help with their problems.
“ I will never forget the sound of the people’s voices,” Rach recalls.
Rach admits she didn’t always find the answer for them, but she did all she could to find one.
“It was a learning experience every day,” she said. ‘Sometimes the people just want to be heard, so you just have to sit and listen.”
Since her childhood days Rach has been taught to help others.
“I was taught to take part in the community and not sit back and let others do it for you,” she said.
Which is exactly what she has done.
“ I have made some great friends and met people I would not have met otherwise,” Rach said.
She smiles as she talks about her regulars who often come by the office to chat about what is going on over a cup of coffee.
“I am going to miss that,” she said.
Until the office closes, she will continue to do what she had always done and just take one day at a time.
Beth Rach sits at her desk continuing to do her job until her office closes on Dec. 31. RECORD PHOTO: Debby Schamber