The Best Southwest Partnership hosted its first 2015 TGIF Legislative Breakfast Series last week with Texas State Representative Helen Giddings of District 109 speaking about the recent legislative session.
Lancaster Mayor Marcus Knight is serving as the host and interviewer for the series.
“This is an opportunity to offer folks in the Best Southwest the ability to interact with legislature and get insight on how to understand what is working and what to work for in the future,” Knight said.
A press release indicated that Representative Giddings was the first legislator to speak in August following the just completed legislative session.
This Friday’s, August 14 speaker will be Texas Representative John Wray from District 10, followed by Texas Senator Royce West of District 23 on August 21 and a still-to-be-determined speaker on August 28, 2015.
West says of his breakfast talk next Friday, “I spent considerable time in 2014 taking a hard look at several transportation projects that would impact Southern Dallas County residents, including those who live in the Best Southwest Cities. I was able to get assurances from the Texas Transportation Commission during its public hearing in Dallas that the I-345 passageway that connects I-45 south of Downtown to US-75 headed north would remain intact and also receive needed repairs. It is unconscionable to even consider destroying a roadway that helps more than 200,000 drivers reach their daily destinations.”
West will be discussing not only transportation issues, but he will focus overall on the Best Southwest City’s Core Initiatives; transportation, education and health care, which he says “helps improve the quality of life in the region and promote Economic Development.”
Discussion will also come up regarding Trinity Parkway’s fate.
“My position has remained one of support for the goals of the project,” West said. “Financing for that project is not in place as costs continue to escalate from the projections made in the late 1990s when this project was first placed before voters.”
He said overall, he has not yet taken a hard “no” position in opposition to future construction of toll roads either as it could remain on a limited basis as a tool for road construction when traditional tax-based funding options are not available.
In regard to healthcare, West said he believed “Texas would benefit greatly if Medicaid expansion were ever to happen, but that remains highly unlikely. On another note, there remains work to be done in the area of mental health treatment, especially for those of meager resources.”
He also remains an advocate for quality public schools and said that at this past legislative session he was able to secure funding to add a third building for the University of North Texas at Dallas and for a residence hall.
The Best Southwest Partnership’s TGIF Legislative Breakfast Series is free and includes a complimentary breakfast. Networking begins at 7:15 a.m., with the meeting beginning at 7:40 a.m. to 8:45 a.m. at Methodist Charlton Medical Center, a partner of the series. Reservations are required called Joe Johnson, 214-535-1883.