News Article | February 10, 2023
TAC Hosts Counties at the Capitol
The Texas Association of Counties held its Counties at the Capitol Legislative Day on Tuesday, Feb. 7, with Sen. Charles Perry (R-Lubbock) and Rep. Lynn Stucky (R-Denton) speaking to about 180 county officials gathered in person and virtually from around the state. The event, held early each legislative session, underlines TAC's role as an information resource and bridge between county officials and state legislators.
Tom Green County Auditor and TAC Board President Nathan Cradduck welcomed county officials to kick off the event. TAC Executive Director Susan Redford followed and introduced Sen. Perry.
The senator highlighted issues on his agenda: the budget, energy, broadband, schoolhouse discipline, among them. Perry is chair of the Senate Water, Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee and devoted time to talking about the state's water supply, which he deems insufficient to match the state's growth rate.
TAC Legislative Services Director Noe Barrios introduced Rep. Stucky, who addressed the need for the Legislature to help counties meet several challenges, such as finding and retaining jail staff. He praised county officials as a valuable resource for their representatives and senators. "I greatly appreciate my local officials and what they know," he said.
House Speaker Dade Phelan had not yet announced his chamber's committee assignments on Tuesday. The next day, he appointed Stucky as vice chair of County Affairs. Rep. Victoria Neave Criado (D-Dallas) leads the panel.
The morning wrapped with representatives from the various county office organizations updating members on their affiliate's legislative priorities and concerns. The importance of county cooperation and maintaining relationships and communications with legislators and their staff emerged as a common theme.
"We're all in the race together and need to cross the finish line arm in arm," Cherokee County Commissioner Kelly Traylor said. Traylor is president of the North and East Texas County Judges and Commissioners Association and a member of the TAC Board of Directors.
Philip Mack Furlow, 106th District Attorney serving Dawson, Gaines, Garza and Lynn counties in West Texas, encouraged county officials not only to get to know their legislators, but also to get to know their legislators' staffers. "Your legislators are relying on you to provide them with information. Please do that," he said.
Following the morning session, county officials who attended the event in person met with their local legislators at the Capitol to talk about issues important to them and their counties. The day closed with a reception in the TAC building for county officials, legislators and legislative staff.