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Landgraf: Odessans came through during horror of Aug. 31 - Odessa American: Guest Columns

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Landgraf: Odessans came through during horror of Aug. 31

State Rep. Brooks Landgraf was elected in 2014 to House District 81, which encompasses Andrews, Ector, Ward, and Winkler Counties.

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Posted: Sunday, September 22, 2019 4:00 am

On Aug. 31 our community experienced the worst tragedy it has ever seen. We are still very much in mourning for those we lost on that fateful Saturday afternoon. But Texans, especially West Texans, are resilient. When we fall off a horse we dust ourselves off and get right back on.

That is what we have done as a community as we’ve come together to cry, pray, donate blood and food, and support our first responders. The state of Texas has also responded.

In the last three weeks the Texas House and Senate created the Select Committees on Mass Violence Prevention and Community Safety and Governor Abbott issued eight executive orders in response to the El Paso and Odessa shootings.

The House committee held its first hearing on Tuesday, Sept. 17. The purpose of the committee is to receive testimony and make proposals to the Texas Legislature to help reduce the occurrence and impact of mass violence. As one of the thirteen House members appointed to the committee, I was present for the hearing where we received an update from Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw on the implementation of the governor’s executive orders.

During the hearing, Chairman Darby (one of several West Texans on the committee) announced that the committee will conduct hearings throughout the state, including at least one in Odessa. This provides an incredible opportunity for Odessans to make sure their voices are heard without having to make the six-hour drive to Austin.

As soon as the date of the Odessa hearing is decided I will be sure to spread the word. These hearings will allow the legislature to gather feedback from the public and law enforcement to ultimately propose policies that promote public safety while protecting the constitutional rights of law-abiding Texans. In the meantime, if you have any thoughts about what the state can do to prevent future acts of mass violence and improve community safety please feel free to contact my capitol office at (512) 463-0546.

I have never been more proud to be from Odessa, Texas than I am today. The entire state and country has taken notice to how we have responded to this horrible tragedy. There is still plenty of healing and work left to be done, but I could not be more thankful to call Odessa “home.”

God bless Texas!

Odessa, TX

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