By State Rep. Brooks Landgraf
We approach the holiday season when the leaves change color, we gather around the table with our loved ones, and think back on the year. Like the last, this year has not been an easy one. From the aftereffects of a continuing pandemic to an unprecedented winter storm, we have all faced adversity. In spite of these challenges, there is no doubt in my mind that we are blessed in West Texas and that we’ve got many things to be thankful for.
Adversity is nothing new to us in West Texas and those of us who have lived our entire lives in the Permian Basin meet each day with perseverance and our heads held high. Taking care of each other is second nature to us. We are always ready to answer the call and do whatever it takes to meet the needs of our families and our communities. That is why it makes me very proud to serve as your state representative, and I’m thankful for the opportunity to fight on your behalf in the Texas House of Representatives.
That gratitude inspired in me the resolve to preserve through an unusually long year at the Texas Capitol. The regular and special sessions of 2021 meant many months of hard work and many long days that kept me away from the friends, family, and community I love. However, with my head held high, I was determined to fight for West Texas every day.
I am so thankful to be back home again, but as 2021 comes to an end and I reflect on my time spent at the Texas Capitol this year, the many victories brought for the Permian Basin assure me it was all well worth it.
For one, Texans who live in the Permian Basin will no longer have to drive to Lubbock or San Angelo in order to access mental health care facilities. Representative Craddick and I worked together in conjunction with our communities and hospitals to ensure $40 million is directed towards a behavioral health center that will be constructed and operated by the hospital districts of Midland and Ector County.
Additionally, the state budget we passed this year allocated $30.2 billion to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) for highway planning, design, construction and maintenance. This will be incredibly beneficial to the Permian Basin where there are current and future construction projects for safe roads in the works and record funding secured for those projects for years to come.
One thing that looked like it was almost certainly going to be a loss for West Texas was the 2021 redistricting process, as the results of the 2020 Census showed that West Texas population growth did not keep pace with growth in other parts of the state, specifically along the I-35 corridor and around Houston. We were expected to lose representation.
Instead, West Texas held our ground while remaining compliant with all applicable state and federal laws and we will retain our 16 districts in the Texas House of Representatives. The same held true for the U.S. congressional districts and Texas senate districts— not a single seat was lost. As one of two West Texans on the House Redistricting Committee, I was very proud to lead the effort to fight for our beloved region.
More than ever before, our voice is being heard at the Texas Capitol, but without all of you, my job would not be possible. Throughout the whole year I have felt your unwavering support and your prayers. For that, I’m very thankful.
I’m also especially thankful for my family: my wife, Shelby, and our daughter, Hollis Rose, who continue to push and motivate me to be a better husband, father, and Texas State Representative. This season, I encourage you to cherish those you love and reflect on the many blessings we are given, and from my family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving.
God bless Texas!