Athens Review, Athens, Texas

February 4, 2013

Gooden gets his assignments

Appointment to licensing committee may make him key player in gambling debate

Rich Flowers
Athens Daily Review

Athens — State Representative Lance Gooden thinks his committee assignments for the 83rd Legislative Session will give Henderson County a voice on some important issues.

House Speaker Joe Straus made appointments to 38 standing committees and three select committees on Thursday. Gooden, whose 4th District includes all of Kaufman County and more than 80 percent of Henderson County, maintained spots on the House Administration and Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence committees and added Licensing and Administrative Procedures. Gooden will no longer have the spot on the Appropriations Committee which he held during his freshman term.

“I’m excited about Licensing because the gambling interests are already making a strong push to bring gambling to Texas and all of the gambling bills will go through that committee,” Gooden said. “I want to continue to stand up for family values and make sure that Henderson County has a seat on this committee when the legislature takes that up.”

Gooden said he was prepared to give up his seat on the Appropriations Committee, and with committee chairman and 10th District Representative Jim Pitts, serving the western part of Henderson County, he believes the county will have a strong voice on money matters during the session.

As a member of the Judiciary and Civil Justice Committee, Gooden will be concerned with the safety of public officials. The subject is fresh on his mind following the assassination of Assistant Kaufman County District Attorney Mark Hasse on Thursday.

“We’re going to be looking in that committee into ways to make sure that doesn’t happen again,” Gooden said.

The House Administration Committee deals with the inner workings of the legislative body, Gooden said. “That committee, more than anything, allows me to have interaction with my colleagues who have issues with their house offices or how the house operates as a governmental body.”

Pitts said he is honored to continue as chairman of the Appropriations Committee. Because of the amount of time devoted to appropriations issues, Pitts will not serve on any other standing committee.

Straus said he attempted to appoint the committees to best utilize the experienced leaders and newer members of the House who are ready to take on added responsibility.

“After traveling around the state to visit with members before the session and talking to them over the last few weeks, I am very encouraged that the House is ready to tackle the serious challenges our state faces,” Straus said.