• Members of the Texas House Water Caucus
  • AUSTIN (KXAN) — In the Texas Capitol, bridging partisan divisions seems to be about water, because this particular issue is bringing together a broad coalition of House lawmakers during this legislative session.

    At least 67 state representatives are now officially part of the newly created Texas House Water Caucus. These members include legislators from the state’s largest cities to its rural communities, with an almost equal number of Republicans and Democrats in its ranks. The caucus, its organizers say, will work this session to not only prioritize scaling up the state’s water supply, but also invest in Texas’ aging water infrastructure.

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    State Rep. Tracy King, Democrat of Laredo, will be the first chairman of the water caucus. It represents District 80, which includes the districts of Atascosa, Dimmit, Frio, Uvalde, Webb, and Zavala. He is also chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee for this session.

    “I want people to understand that the Texas legislature takes water needs very seriously,” King said, “and that we are going to do everything we can to try and keep Texas safe when that happens. their water resources.

    Each week, the Texas Water Foundation, a non-partisan non-profit organization, plans to hold educational outreach sessions for members of the water caucus to learn about various aspects of policy. Sara Rowntree Schlessinger, the group’s CEO, said it would help create “water advocates” in the Capitol, especially among new lawmakers. She added that water should remain on the priority list of any legislator, not just when disaster strikes, such as floods or prolonged drought.

    “Water is one of those things that is the lifeblood of a state. This is a basic theme that should always be prioritized,” said Schlessinger. “Especially in session when we are running a budget surplus – and there will be a number of competing priorities, we want to make sure that there are lawmakers who truly recognize and appreciate the critical investment needs that are available for water security and that this is at the forefront.”

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    The new year began with the US Census Bureau’s announcement that the population of Texas now exceeds 30 million. When looking at percentage change, Texas is the fourth fastest growing state. This accelerated growth shows legislators like Rep. Cody Harris the need to strengthen water infrastructure.

    “None of these people are taking more water or pipes with them,” Harris said. “So we need to make sure we do our best to plan ahead to make sure that future generations have an adequate water supply and water security in the future. That’s why I think the water caucus brings together members – whether they’re on the committee or not – who share the same goal.”

    Harris, the Palestinian Republican representative in east Texas, said joining the first-ever water caucus already has an impact solely on raising awareness.

    “In the last three days, I’ve done probably five or six news interviews about the water meeting and maybe two about water policy in the last four years, just talking about natural resources. [committee],” he said. “So it draws attention to this issue, and I think that was all the hope it would do.”

    Harris added that he hopes his work with the water board will include getting private partners to work with the state to desalinate brackish groundwater in places like Fort Worth as part of a costly effort to boost water supply. Meanwhile, King said he would like to see Texas make more funds available for projects to improve water infrastructure.

    “We hope we can create a cash fund, a pool of money that is available to help people match grants and loans and things like that that are available,” King said, “especially for communities that are finding that with a low tax base or just financially unable to do it.

    Members of the Texas House Water Caucus

    These 38 Republicans and 29 Democrats, listed alphabetically, subscribed to the Texas House Water Board:

    • Rep. Steve Ellison (House of District 121)
    • Representative Charles “Doc” Anderson (Dvorovoy District 56)
    • Rep. Trent Ashby (Dvorovoy District 9)
    • Representative Ernest Bales (House 18)
    • Rep. Kate Bell (District 4)
    • Rep. Rhetta Bowers (House of District 113)
    • Rep. John Bryant (House of District 114)
    • Rep. Brad Buckley (Dvorovoy District 54)
    • Rep. John H. Bucey III (House of District 136)
    • Rep. DeVayne Burns (House of District 58)
    • Rep. Dustin Burroughs (Home District 83)
    • Rep. Elizabeth “Liz” Campos (house 119)
    • Rep. Terry Canales (Dvorovoy District 40)
    • Rep. Travis Clardy (District 11 House)
    • Rep. Charles Cunningham (House of District 127)
    • Rep. Drew Darby (Yard District 72)
    • Representative Mark Dorazio (House 122)
    • Representative Lulu Flores (House District 51)
    • Rep. Frederick Fraser (House of District 61)
    • Rep. Stan Gerdes (House District 17)
    • Rep. Mary Gonzalez (House of District 75)
    • Rep. Vicky Goodwin (house 47)
    • Rep. “Bobby” Guerra (District 41)
    • Rep. Cody Harris (Home District 8)
    • Rep. Abel Herrero (Home District 34)
    • Rep. Donna Howard (House of District 48)
    • Rep. Carrie Isaac (District 73 Houses)
    • Rep. Jaycee Jetton (Home District 26)
    • Rep. Jolanda Jones (House of District 147)
    • Rep. Kyle Kakal (House of District 12)
    • Rep. Tracey King (District 80 House)
    • Rep. Stan Kitzman (House of District 85)
    • Rep. John Kuempel (Yard District 44)
    • Rep. Stan Lambert (House of District 71)
    • Rep. Brooks Landgraf (District 81 House)
    • Representative Oscar Longoria (Dvorovoy district 35)
    • Rep. Janie Lopez (District 37 Houses)
    • Rep. John Luhan (House of District 118)
    • Representative Armando Martinez (House 39)
    • Representative Will Metcalfe (House District 16)
    • Rep. Terry Meza (House of District 105)
    • Rep. Cristina Morales (House of District 145)
    • Rep. Eddie Morales (House of District 74)
    • Rep. Penny Morales Shaw (house 148)
    • Rep. Jeanie W. Morrison (Yard District 30)
    • Representative Victoria Neve Criado (House of District 107)
    • Rep. Claudia Ordaz (House of District 79)
    • Representative of Michael Ples (House of District 70)
    • Representative Four Price (House District 87)
    • Rep. Ana-Maria Ramos (House of District 102)
    • Rep. Richard Peña Raymond (Courtyard District 42)
    • Rep. Glenn Rogers (House of District 60)
    • Rep. Ramon Romero (House of District 90)
    • Representative Hugh D. Shine (House District 55)
    • Rep. Shelby Slawson (Home District 59)
    • Rep. David Spiller (House of District 68)
    • Rep. Lynn Stuckey (District 64 Houses)
    • Rep. Carl H. Tepper (House of District 84)
    • Representative of Kronda Thimesch (House District 65)
    • Rep. Ed Thompson (House District 29)
    • Rep. Senfronia Thompson (House District 141)
    • Rep. Tony Tinderholt (Home District 94)
    • Rep. Ellen Troxcler (House District 19)
    • Rep. Chris Turner (House of District 101)
    • Representative Cody Vasut (House 25)
    • Rep. Armando Valle (House District 140)
    • Rep. Erin Zwiener (Dvorovoy District 45)

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