The future of Texas will be determined by how successful we are today in providing the next generation of Texans with the opportunity to receive a quality education. In a rapidly changing world and truly global economy, access to fair and forward thinking public schools is essential. But we cannot stop there. It is our responsibility to foster the finest higher education institutions this country has to offer and also to develop innovative vocational and technical platforms for 21st century careers and industries, many of which have yet to be created.
The 87th Texas Legislative Session convened in January 2021 and will last until May. I look forward to serving the people of House District 11 and will be meeting with constituents in the coming months to learn of their priorities for the session. Please contact my offices to share your interests in legislation before the Texas House of Representatives. You can also join me on Friday afternoons as I host a Facebook Live to take your questions and address your concerns about all things House District 11 and Texas.
In a fervor to cut government budgets and services, some forget that the reductions are shouldered by loyal and hard-working state employees who are our family, friends, and neighbors.
During my tenure in the Texas Legislature, even as the state faced serious budget restraints, my colleagues and I worked to support our state employees while maintaining a balanced budget.
A strong economy means a healthy future for East Texas. We have abundant natural resources, a trained workforce, and developed transportation routes. I look forward to making sure our region remains competitive in economic development and job creation by continuing to advocate for the construction of Lake Columbia and fiscally responsible investments in transportation infrastructure.
It is time to rethink how our public safety, social services, and health care communities respond to individuals with mental illness. With demand for public mental health care services on the rise, we need to identify creative ways to more efficiently and effectively apportion resources.
For too long, the state has applied a piecemeal approach to mental health matters, and local governments and law enforcement have by default been assigned the responsibility of responding to mental health emergencies. I applaud these groups for faithfully answering the call. However, we are at a point where our region and state must find new ways to identify and implement best practices for the treatment of mental illness through long-term solutions, not emergency responses or incarceration. There is a growing need for coordination among law enforcement and health care professionals to help properly treat individuals suffering from mental illness and provide access to quality care, ensuring taxpayer dollars are used to provide effective treatment.
Making sure our education system is preparing students to meet 21st Century workforce demands is a priority. No one path is right for every student. Promoting career and technology, facilitating collaboration among high schools and colleges, and adding new degree plans at our universities, empowers Texas students to learn the skills needed to find jobs, attain professional goals, and build stronger families and communities.