I've Seen Miles and Miles of Texas . . .
There have been many long days and a few sleepless nights, but being on the road through the vast Texas Senate District 31 has been fulfilling, educational, and enlightening.
As of mid-January, I have visited 41 of the 45 counties in District 31. Hold on Dawson, Borden, Martin, and Howard counties, I’ll be there as quickly as I can! Beginning the week before Christmas, I’ve been on the road for 12 days over three trips and covered more than 3,000 miles, or the distance from Los Angeles to Portland, Maine.
There’s no other senate district in the State like District 31 for its geography, diversity, and size. It’s 463 miles from Texline in northwest Dallam County to Eldorado in Schleicher County.. That’s huge. Campaigning through the entire district– all of it on the ground – has been worth every mile.
Some of what I’ve seen and heard about the needs and concerns of our district has only confirmed what I knew. For other things, it’s been eye-opening and thought-provoking. This district is so diverse. There are four distinct areas – the Hill Country, the Permian Basin, the South Plains, and the Panhandle. Each one of them offers resources that we need and use on a daily basis, whether that’s our energy source, our food and beef source, or our clothing source. This is an amazing district, and it is Texas to its core.
I’ve spent time with county judges, law enforcement officials, and school district superintendents, in particular, and I’ve listened more than I’ve talked. I hear concerns about border security, community safety, rural healthcare, and public education; those are concerns I also share and are the reasons I’m seeking the State senate office. But there’s one thing I’ve heard everywhere I’ve been:
Of course, we need to work with the folks in Austin, but the 45 counties in District 31 do not need the legislature’s thumbprint all over their way of life. Our counties feel overburdened by Austin and its mandates that affect us much differently than in the big urban areas in other parts of this State. I’ve heard repeatedly that our counties are concerned about the impact of the power and control that comes out of Austin, especially in our small rural counties.
School finance is another huge issue because of the amount of money that is sent to Austin. For example, I am told that Glasscock County Independent School District sent 86 cents of every dollar to Austin last year from their tax initiative. That’s a staggering amount. A lot of counties experience the same thing and are questioning why that money is not invested into education, or if it is, how much of it is and where does it go?
Left to themselves, these countries and cities know what they need. As they see it, those in the legislature in Austin are not living in these counties to know exactly what is going on and what their needs are. Hard-working people want to have more control and more say in their individual counties and municipalities, not less. I couldn’t agree more. Austin is doing to the rural areas what Washington, D.C., is doing to the states, and that’s taking more and more control away from local government.
As the campaign continues – with only 42 days remaining until the March 1 Republican Primary – I look forward to having more conversations with the people who really matter; the people who are making a difference – and that’s you. It’s the cattle rancher in Dumas, the cotton farmer in Muleshoe, the school board member in Big Spring, the oil and gas producer in Odessa and Midland, and the sheep rancher in Schleicher County. It’s all of us.
If that means buying a new set of tires for my truck, so be it. It’s one of the things you do for the responsibility and privilege of serving as the State Senator from District 31. Thanks for your time. Tim Reid timreidtxsenate31.com