Aug 31, 2006

Rumsfeld's "Steel and Grit" Speech





A transcript of the address delivered at the 88th Annual American Legion National Convention by Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, Salt Lake City, Utah, Tuesday, August 29, 2006:


Thank you so very much. I appreciate that a great deal, that warm welcome. Earlier, a few minutes ago, I had a chance say hello to Senator Bennett and Senator Hatch, both of whom have provided such fine representation for this state and strong support for the Department of Defense and for the men and women in uniform. Members of the congressional delegation, I believe, are here -- Rob Bishop and Christopher Smith. We thank you for being here. The mayor, Mr. Corroon -- thank you. Distinguished guests.

Michael Peterson, if I could sing, I'd sing just like that. That is very nice.

And to the spirit of youth, young folks, I had a chance before I came him to watch their presentations on television. We appreciate your thoughtfulness and your service.

To the Spirit of Service Awardees, congratulations. It is impressive to note what you're doing while you serve our country in uniform.

My special thanks to you, Tom [American Legion Commander Tom Bock], for your service to the military, to our veterans and to our country. It was a pleasure to meet your wonderful family over there; your son who's flown Chinooks, I guess, in Iraq, is following your proud tradition of military service.

Certainly, our country is grateful to all of you who have children, relatives, serving in our nation's military. They're in our thoughts and prayers, and please tell them that we appreciate all they do for our country.

The remainder of transcript HERE.

Video of the entire speech HERE.

Voice of America comments on the speech. Time magazine provides an excellent analysis.

Keith Olbermann On Rumsfeld's Speech


Transcript of the Olbermann commentary HERE.

The President adds his two cents with his own speech to the American Legion.

Aug 30, 2006

Senate Committee Begins Evins Juvenile Center Investigation



I had the pleasure of sitting on an investigatory panel with the Senate Committee on Criminal Justice exploring two burning issues presently confronting policy makers. The hearing explored, interim charge 5, the growing drug-related crime and violence along the border. An important part of that discussion involved the involvement of this state in border security and immigration issues.

Also part of the investigation was interim charge 3, allegations of abuse and neglect within the Texas Youth Commission facilities, specifically with the Evin's Juvenile Detention Center in my home community of Edinburg.

The senate committee, chaired by Senator Whitmire, was kind enough to bring me into the process. My office and I have been particularly interested in clearing up the situation at the Evin's Juvenile Center. We have worked really hard over the past year with employees of the Evins' TYC unit and family members of juvenile detainees to find solutions to the many concerns confronting the administration of our youth facilities. Today was our opportunity to share with this important committee what many of us have seen and heard firsthand and to join them in fixing the problem.

As has been the subject of a number of newspaper and magazine reports, the administration of the juvenile center and the manner juvenile justice is administered in Texas is in need of correction.

The events of this day were covered by The Monitor newspaper, The San Antonio Express News and the Associated Press.


Aug 27, 2006

Barack Obama Visits Africa To Fight AIDS



Sen. Barack Obama, is spending six days visiting Kenya in order to help in the fight against the spread of AIDS. An average of 700 people die each day from the disease in Kenya. He is visiting a remote Kenyan clinic where he will publicly take an HIV test. He will take the HIV test near the the village of Nyangoma-Kogelo, where his now deceased father grew up and his grandmother still lives. Obama began his tour today with a visit to Nelson Mandela’s former prison.

Not since Robert Kennedy have I seen such promise in a political figure. If one follows the senator's speeches or public efforts it is quite apparent Barack has a great future in front of him.

This visit to his father's homeland for a necessary cause only adds to my opinion of the young senator. More on his visit to Africa.

A reporter's journal of the visit. Hear about the visit from Voice of America.

Obama in Kenya

Aug 26, 2006

A Big Check For UTPA



More good local news as the University of Texas, Pan American (UTPA) is the recipient of a check in the amount of $330,000.00 from AT&T. The donation will go to various projects and scholarships.

Following the presentation of the contribution, Rep. Veronica Gonzales, myself and representatives from the offices of our senator and other state representatives from the region gathered for a strategy session for the upcoming legislative session.

Great things lie ahead for our growing university. As our community grows so does UTPA. Our appreciation to Sergio Contreras and the AT&T organization for the contribution to our campus and our students.

The story.

Aug 25, 2006

"Future of The Region" Explored In Corpus Christi

Political, economic and educational leaders from across the South Texas region comes together yesterday in Corpus Christi to discuss strategies for the advancement of the region. The "Future of the Region" conference is designed to bring together leaders from communities in the South Texas region to build a strategic vision and action agenda for the area.

Leaders and citizens of the South Texas communities came together to discuss their needs for workforce development, economic growth, environment, health care and infrastructure. I, along with Congressman Henry Cuellar, acted as guest speakers at the event. In addition to discussing my views on the region's direction and prospects for the future I picked up a number of valuable concepts that will be useful in the coming legislative session.

The group committed to present a number of legislative requests for my and my colleagues consideration. One suggestion coming from the group is the formal formulation of a South Texas legislative caucus. I committed to act on their request. I would like to express my appreciation to the organization for their work and the hospitality they showed me at yesterday's event.

Aug 24, 2006

Faith In Their Community



Brothers Chris, Kent, and Sandy Burns (featured from left to right) symbolize the can-do attitude and dedication to their community that makes it my honor to represent them and the rest of my constituents in House District 40.

The Burns Brothers on Wednesday donated 40 acres of prime real estate in their upcoming master community, known as La Sienna Development, so that the dream of a Catholic high school in Hidalgo County will have a great chance of becoming a reality.

So important is their gift that Bishop Reymundo Peña and other leaders of the Catholic Diocese of Brownsville traveled to north Edinburg, site of the planned Catholic high school, to receive this family's most generous gift.

A very good story about the planned high school, and the planned "master community" of schools, businesses, homes, church, and parks that are being built in north Edinburg, is available in the current online edition of EdinburgPolitics.com

Hidalgo County Commissioner Oscar Garza, one of the many area leaders who participated in the ceremony marking the land donation for the high school, said the Burns brothers' donation of land – and their plans to develop the 731-acre La Sienna Development – is an exercise in courage on behalf of an entire region.

“My mama says I'm a risk taker,” the county commissioner said. “You can either risk everything you have to try to come out way, way ahead, or you can sit in the background and watch other people risk it all.”

The Burns brothers “are risking it all, but look what Edinburg is going to have,” he said. “It takes guts to do a project like this.”

It takes a lot of heart, too, to give away land worth $3.5 million so that our children can have access to what will become the fourth high school in the three-time All-America City.


Photo courtesty of David Diaz/EdinburgPolitics.com

Aug 23, 2006

Groundbreaking At La Sienna



Groundbreaking occurred today in the City of Edinburg at a master planned community called - "La Sienna." It is one of the largest master planned communities in South Texas and the development is entirely in my hometown of Edinburg.

The definition of the term sienna is best described as an earth color (yellow-brown) caused by ferric oxides in the soil. The name derives from the Renaissance location for the earth, Siena, Italy, and is short for terra di Sienna, "earth of Sienna".

As I noted at today's presentation before the groundbreaking, the borderlands of South Texas were settled by Europeans when Spanish colonizer Jose de Escandon came to what we now know as the Valley. Settlements started by placing a Catholic church at the center and the community developed around it.

A unique feature of La Sienna following a similar pattern is that 40 acres were contributed by the Burns family, the developers of the project, to the Catholic diocese of Brownsville upon which a Catholic High School and a church will be built. The Catholic High School would be a first for Hidalgo County. La Sienna is owned by SKC Development in McAllen. Sandy, Kent and Chris Burns are three brothers of a well known local farming family.

And so today saw a diverse mix of priests, politicians and business persons gathered for the official groundbreaking for the 700 acre La Sienna development. The project will change the dynamics of my small but rapidly developing city. In the next seven years it could add about 4,500 people to Edinburg. The addition of the Catholic High School is significant in this largely Catholic community. Interestingly enough many of the children who will attend this new high school are descendants of the soldiers who colonized this area with Jose de Escandon many years ago.

UTPA Gets A New Logo


The University Of Texas - Pan American unveiled a new logo today. What do you think?

Read more here.

Aug 22, 2006

Valley Blogger Recognized

Shaine Mata over at RGV Live and Spin RGV was the primary focus of an article that appeared in the McAllen Monitor. Even the anonymous bloggero Earn My Vote was mentioned. Because of the love of politics and the rich cultural dynamics of the Rio Grande Valley, look for citizen journalism to continue to grow in South Texas. Shaine is a good representative of the dynamism that is present in our community on the borderlands. Our congratulations to Shaine on the recognition.

Valley in Exile has more, as does Onward Into The Fog, as does The Blogging Journalist.

Aug 21, 2006

City Cracks Down on Immigrants


UPDATE: Protest of anti-immigrant efforts in Farmers Branch expected.

The city of Farmers Branch, a Dallas suburb, is the latest city to crack down on undocumented immigrants. City Councilman Tim O'Hare blames undocumented immigrants for the city's problems. His solution - keep the kids of the offenders out of the Boys and Girls club and other youth programs. He further aims to make English the city's official language.

We live in a representative democracy and the councilmember is well within his right to respond to the desires of his constituents. The question must be asked, is the uncertainty in our lives that troubles most people today truly satisfied by punishing children whose parents have avoided the immigration laws of this country? The war, the fear of terrorism, the competitive global economy and the other stressors in our lives, are these feelings pacified by keeping kids away from the Boys and Girls Club?

Lets deal with the immigration question; let's reduce immigration levels; lets increase the security on our borders - if that is what the citizens of this country want to do? As I said this is after all a representative democracy. But let us confront the question directly. Let us confront our country's insatiable demand for cheap labor. Keeping children out of the Boys and Girls Club may make some feel good but to this writer it seems misdirected and counterproductive.

We can do better as a country!

The story here from the Dallas Morning News.

Read more on the politics of the use of the issue of immigration from today's Washington Post.

Photo by MEI-CHUN JAU/DMN

Aug 19, 2006

The UTPA Graduation Ceremony


It was a great day for a speech. Things went great. The students were excited. The parents were beaming with pride. I have never been so happy than to return to the university were I first struggled as a student. I hope they enjoyed the speech. Here is the text.



Aug 17, 2006

My First Commencement Address


Okay, I shouldn't get a big head about this request to give the commencement speech at the University of Texas - Pan American. This is after all a serious affair with serious traditions and the graduates and their parents have worked really hard to reach this milestone.

This Saturday will be the first time since 1992 UTPA will offer an August graduation ceremony for students completing their degree during the summer. The decision to have an August graduation ceremony was based on the increasing number of graduates and not having room in the facility were the ceremony takes place.

So despite my tendency to want to have fun with this speech (like this one) as many of you have suggested. I'm taking this project seriously (but not too seriously) and started reviewing the collective wisdom from hundreds of undergraduate commencement speeches to see if there is anything I can add to the discourse. So in addition to reading a number of very good speeches, ranging from U.S. Presidents to students - from the funny to the very serious - I am also watching a number of speeches that are now available on video here and here.

My research has brought me across some really interesting commentary out there about the whole "commencement speech genre" - like this one from National Public Radio:

"First there's a joke to get their attention... then maybe a reflection on lessons learned the hard way, a self-deprecating anecdote, a meaningful life experience, another laugh and then the inspirational send-off. That's the outline of a commencement address."

Although it's hard to stray from the time tested formula found in the better commencement speeches, I will do my best to provide all the insight and inspiration I can muster. For a guy who spent his youth and early adult life trying to overcome a deep and severe case of stage fright and fear of public speaking this is a crowning achievement in my short public career. In many ways I will probably enjoy this event as much as the students and parents in the audience, if not more. My thanks to President Blandina Cardenas for the opportunity.

The Graduation ceremony is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 19 and is set to include two ceremonies, one at 9 a.m. and the second at noon. I will be speaking at the 9 a.m. event. We are expecting about 500 prospective graduates.

Until that time, I'm going to put aside my writing on this journal, so forgive me if I take a little time away to get this right.

Until then....


UPDATE: Here is the speech.


(photoshop by my daughter Alyssa)

Yañez Will Not Challenge Cuellar In Special Election


Moments ago I received a courtesy call from Judge Linda Yañez to inform me that she would not be challenging Congressman Cuellar in the upcoming special election in Congressional District 28.

Aug 15, 2006

Bell and Alvarado Pay a Visit to Valley Democrats


Chris Bell, Maria Luisa Alvarado, Boyd Richie and Judge Fred Hinojosa were the guest speakers at this morning's organizational meeting of the Hidalgo County Democratic Party. All were enthusiastically welcomed by those in attendance.

I had the honor of introducing the Democratic gubernatorial candidate who had just come from a visit to our neighboring county of Cameron. Chris shared his experiences there which included his visit to one of the many colonias that dot the South Texas landscape. At that visit his hand was firmly grabbed by a woman while visiting her home. Chris recounted her statement made to him as he left her home, "never forget the poor." That simple unadorned statement from the quiet dignity of a small and gentle woman from an almost forgotten part of Texas seems to have had an impact on Chris Bell. Those of us who heard him on this day could tell that it did.

Maria, who has visited the Valley before, and Boyd, who was visiting for the first time, also shared their hopes for success.



Fred Hinojosa (photo above), who has a Republican challenger, was the featured speaker of the event. He left the audience with a rousing presentation of why Democrats were best suited to hold on to the position he currently holds on the Corpus Christi Court of Appeals. His introduction was by Judge Linda Yanez, who has been suggested by many to enter the race for the newly formed congressional district 28 seat. She did not reveal her intentions this morning as to whether or not she would be running but suggested an answer in the near future.

Aug 14, 2006

Statewide Candidates Visit South Texas

The Hidalgo County Democratic Party is having an Organizational Meeting & Reception tomorrow, Tuesday, August 15 at the Echo Motel in Edinburg. The meeting is scheduled for 7:30 AM - 9:00 AM and will feature Judge Fred Hinojosa who is the special speaker for the event. Other speakers include, Democratic candidate for Governor, Chris Bell and Maria Luisa Alvarado who is running for Lt. Governor. This is all part of their "South Texas Tour." I had a good and productive meeting tonight with Texas Democratic Party Chairman, Boyd Richie (center) who is in town for tomorrow morning's event. Chuy Gonzalez, (far left) who is the South Texas DNC field coordinator, participated in tonight's discussions. Treasurer of the Texas Democratic Party, Victor Garza (far right), also participated in the discussions as did Hidalgo Democratic Party Chairman, Juan Maldonado.

I would invite all to tomorrow morning's meeting.

Aug 13, 2006

Solomon Ortiz, Jr. Receives Democratic Nomination

South Texas Chisme is reporting that Solomon Ortiz, Jr. has received the Democratic nomination in the race for House District 33 to replace the retiring Vilma Luna. My congratulations to both candidates in this hard fought nomination. Solomon Ortiz, Jr. received 23 votes, Danny Noyola 20 with 1 abstention. As with the other members of the South Texas House delegation, we look forward to working with all our colleagues from the city by the bay.

On Tuesday the Republican party will chose a nominee. Joe McComb or Raul Torres will be the Republican candidate.

"Swift Boat" Veterans Set Sights on Rep. Murtha

The Iraq war is increasingly becoming "the issue" in congressional races around the country. The so called "Swift Boat" Veterans are at it again, as the group that helped defeat John Kerry targets anti Iraq war lawmaker, Rep. John Murtha.

"Long among the most hawkish Democrats in Congress, the once media-shy Murtha has become a standard bearer for the party's antiwar wing since airing his criticism of the Bush administration's commitment in Iraq. And on street corners and town squares of this Rust Belt district, a small but committed corps of volunteers has joined Bailey, a North Carolina resident, in trying to make sure Murtha's constituents remember it — and vote against him in November."

The story by the Los Angeles Times.

Aug 12, 2006

Texas Growers: Inaction on Immigration Hurts Business

Texas produce growers said they are facing a labor shortage because heated discussion about immigration reform, and a lack of action, is scaring away Mexican workers.

The story by the AP.

Robert Trevino 1963-2006

Although growth is all around, I still live in a small community. People we grow up with and know in elementary school remain close to us to the ends of our lives. The brothers and sisters of our friends are similarly like extensions of the large family that is this community. When death removes someone from this city it is deeply felt and that loss reverberates through the people that live here.

Today we say our final farewells to the younger brother of one of my childhood companions. Robert Trevino, 42, passed away on Wednesday, August 9, 2006, after fighting a brief but brave battle with cancer. Robert was born in Edinburg and graduated from Edinburg High School.

I came to know Robert in the sandlot baseball fields and backyard football games of my youth. Later in life, when I decided to run for public office, Robert and his small children worked as volunteers in my campaign. He walked door to door reminding our neighbors that someone from the neighborhood needed their vote. I can't thank Robert enough for his help and support. I definitely needed it that year. I wish I had a moment with him to tell him how much he mattered to all of us. These few words will have to do.

In an hour we will place his remains in a final resting place not far from the baseball fields of our youth where many of us spent a happy moment. And like others from our community that we lost this week, this town will pause today and remember the splendor of life and it's passing and the special beauty manifested in our dear friend Robert.

May God speed good friend - until we meet again.

Aug 10, 2006

Official Ribbon Cutting At Irma Rangel Pharmacy School


With the 78 students present, of the first entering class of the Irma Rangel Pharmacy School, the ceremonial ribbon was cut officially opening the first professional school in South Texas.

This accomplishment did not come easily as many people (including my colleague Rep. Escobar shown here), applied great effort to see today's event come to fruition. No greater effort in the furtherance of education in South Texas was made however than by the person who was not present on this happy occasion. That person was of course Irma Lerma Rangel after whom the pharmacy school was named.

Her sister, Minnie Rangel Henderson (shown here), also a pharmacist recounted Irma's struggles and that of their family. Especially touching was the story of their parents. Mrs. Henderson informed the audience that she insisted the addition of her mother's maiden name - Lerma - to the pharmacy school because although her mother lacked an education, she had a strong desire to see that her kids received one. "We picked cotton less than a block from this facility," she told the audience.

Perhaps the biggest laugh and applause came when the grandmotherly Rangel-Henderson wagged her finger at the mostly male gathering of public officials and said:

"I want you men to make note - it took a woman to do this!"

Also present were congressmen, Solomon Ortiz and Ruben Hinojosa; Texas Senators Leticia Van De Putte and Eddie Lucio, Jr.; House Speaker Tom Craddick; Texas Representatives, Juan Escobar, Geanie Morrison, Yvonne Gonzalez Toureilles, Gene Seaman and your truly; former State Senator Carlos Truan. Mayor of the City of Kingsville, Sam Fugate welcomed the gathering of several hundred in attendance.

The Brownsville Herald has the story as does the Corpus Christi Caller Times.

Columnist Carlos Guerra, who never let this story die until something was accomplished, has his remembrances of the day.

A Town Hall Visit To STC



Representative Mando Martinez and I participated at an education forum at South Texas College in Weslaco yesterday. Dr. Shirley Reed and her staff were very hospitable and even provided us with a tour of the Mid-Valley campus.

STC is doing a great job of providing students in Hidalgo County and the Rio Grande Valley access to higher education.

Aug 9, 2006

Irma Rangel College of Pharmacy Ribbon Cutting


The Irma Rangel College of Pharmacy located at Texas A&M University Kingsville will be hosting a ribbon cutting ceremony tomorrow, August 10th, at 2:00 pm. This wonderful facility will finally be opening its doors to a new generation of pharmacists trained in South Texas.

My congratulations to the Texas A&M Health Science Center and so many local and state leaders for their hard work and commitment to the vision of the late State Representative Irma Rangel.

I hope to make it out to Kingsville tomorrow and participate in the ceremony.

Aug 8, 2006

A Congressman For District 23

As attempts are made to find a candidate in Congressional District 28 (Webb to Valley), in San Antonio politicos seem to have a number of potential candidates. Fielding a consensus candidate, as suggested by some, to run against Congressman Bonilla is proving difficult. Names of suggested potential candidates include: Julian Castro, Richard Perez, Rick Bolanos, Richard Gambitta, Albert Uresti, Ciro Rodriguez. A few other names may be forthcoming but have asked for confidentiality at this time. I will update the list as information comes in.

UPDATE: Ciro is running - Julian is not.

Aug 7, 2006

A Congressman For District 28


Rio Grande Valley Politics has a post that has caused some speculation about candidates from the Valley who could run a competitive election in Congressional District 28. This representative is looking forward to a productive 80th Regular Session proudly representing my community and so I am not in the running. Despite speculation, I do not expect any member of the Valley legislative delegation to run for CD 28. Look for some to try to find a consensus candidate (one agreed to by all of the political camps) from the Rio Grande Valley. Congressman Cuellar will be here on Thursday to meet with many of us.

UPDATE: Ramon Garcia, one of the candidates considered by some in Hidalgo County, has decided not to run. Cuellar appears to be the frontrunner and odds on favorite to win district 28.

Aug 6, 2006

Saying Goodbye To Jim


At one of the many chambers of commerce meetings scheduled before our next meeting of the legislature, we took the opportunity to give thanks to one of the best leaders the Valley has yet produced. Rep. Jim Solis of Harlingen ends his legislative career when his successor is sworn in this coming January. The Rio Grande Valley Partnership event was not intended as a tribute to Jim Solis but because it was probably the last gathering of legislators before the end of his term we all took the opportunity to thank him for his years of loyal service.

I can still remember when a young kid (with hair) approached me for a campaign donation because he thought he could win an election against a fairly wealthy and formidable opponent. Turns out Jim won that election by a mere 30 votes. It was the best investment in the Valley I ever made because that young kid went on to be an example of honest principled leadership. At a time when corruption seems to be flourishing all around us here in South Texas (as elsewhere)(and elsewhere) Jim's example of how to do it right was most welcomed. Our thanks Jimmy boy for everything you have done. I'm sure your future will be as bright as the years of service you gave to this community.

Aug 4, 2006

Aug 3, 2006

Texas Redistricting - Additional Observations



The three-judge federal panel heard arguments today on how to redraw portions of the Texas map the United States Supreme Court ruled in violation of the Voting Rights Act. Although still speculative, I would like to make these observations based on the conversations between the judges and the attorneys involved. I know that many of you, particularly those in South Texas have a number of concerns about where this is all going. Until we hear it from the court, here is my best shot.

First, I continue to believe as I noted before that the court's map will most closely resemble some form of the so called "bi-partisan plan" by Bonilla-Cuellar.

The court will be drawing the map itself in the belief that the Department of Justice pre-clearance process can be sidestepped. U.S. District Judge Patrick Higginbotham today stated that the court would begin by uniting all of Webb County in to CD 28 and then move counter-clockwise. Congressman Henry Cuellar in public statements seems to have this same observation regarding the Webb County centric district.

Although still speculation, I believe Congressman Lloyd Doggett's district will be moved northward as proposed in the "bi-partisan plan" thus making congressional district 25 more of a district anchored in Travis County. This will be a significant loss for the Valley who has developed an appreciable trust and respect for the congressman.

Congressman Henry Bonilla who the court noted as possibly being the "odd man out" will shift to take in more of south San Antonio giving him a higher percentage of Democratic voters. Many believe this puts him in a vulnerable position. Judge Higginbotham was heard to say that "one of these four candidates is going to be at least in a very, very competitive district." That congressman seems to be Bonilla. District 23 in this senario would again become what is called a "Latino opportunity district."

Those in the know at the hearing today believe that the Court's map will be made public as early as tomorrow.

The Associated Press covers today's events. Congressional Quarterly as always has a good article on these events.

The proposed maps can be found here.



photo by Larry Kolvoord/American-Statesman

Bush On The Border

President George Bush was in the Valley yesterday to address the question of immigration. He must feel like he had grabbed the proverbial tiger by the tail, because as he seeks a comprehensive plan many a congressman from his party are also riding the issue "hard" into the mid-term elections. Some Republicans to their credit have tried to note the pitfalls in this emotionally charged issue and its misuse by some to the long term detriment of this country and our people.

As a community it is always an honor when the President of the United States comes for a visit. We even welcome the engagement of our community in an issue of national importance. However, to quote the words of the President yesterday and the sentiments of so many others, let us do so with a respect for the individuals of this community and that of our neighbors. We also shouldn't forget who our friends are as well as who are our true adversaries. In today's Monitor newspaper the concerns expressed by many of the effect of any immigration policy on business and labor should also be paramount.

Keith Patridge, president of the McAllen Economic Development Corporation put it well in that story, “I think everyone is in favor of security. The outline he laid out, I didn’t have a lot of problem with. The problem could be when the details start coming out."

Putting aside the war and the other critical issues of national concern for a moment (this pretty hard for me to do), if I could remind our citizens and federal lawmakers of one of the core problems with regards to immigration - ourselves.

Aug 2, 2006

Valley Legislative Luncheon



The McAllen Hispanic Chamber of Commerce held a legislative luncheon today in order to further communication between Valley legislators and their members. Our two congressional members (Doggett and Hinojosa) were present along with Senator Hinojosa and Reps. Flores, Gonzales and Martinez.

After visiting with people each of us where asked to project what we expected in the upcoming months and the upcoming regular session. Our congressmen highlighted the redistricting and immigration issues. Our state legislators focused on budgetary issues.

Suprisingly when talking to individuals about the budget concerns facing the state a number of them raised the question of why gambling was not used as a revenue source. When I pressed on the question, gambling as a form of entertainment was equally as important to them as using it was to use it as a source of revenue. Interesting stuff.

Today's event was one of many events and private meetings we have scheduled in preparation for the upcoming session. As my staff lovingly calls it, this "Legislative Listening Tour," this concentrated five month schedule of events, is about soaking in the desires, expectations and opinions of the community so that when confronted by an issue during session, we will be well prepared to address it.

My compliments to the organizers and sponsors of today's successful event.

Aug 1, 2006

Under The Dome - August 2006


This internet journal is again being complimented by an electronic monthly newsletter which we will be sending to our friends, neighbors and constituents interested in topics of interest from our community and state capitol. The electronic newsletter is called "Under The Dome" and the recent issue is our second.

This is a part of our effort to maintain constant communications between my office and the people we serve. We are only five months away from the 80th Regular Session of the Texas Legislature and our office is already in high preparation mode. This day our office started a five month intensive effort, appropriately called the Legislative Listening Tour, to visit and listen to all interested parties concerned about the upcoming session.

If you wish to be on our e-mail list in order to receive Under the Dome then please send me an e-mail at aaronpenajr@aol.com and I will personally see to it that you are added to our list.


Thanks Vince!