Athens Review, Athens, Texas

February 6, 2013

Cedar Creek Lake gets its day in Austin

Residents get tour of capitol, legislative update

Kathi Nailling
The Athens Review

Athens — The Cedar Creek Lake Area Chamber of Commerce escorted 40 Cedar Creek Lake residents to Austin on Tuesday. Resolutions from the chamber floors of the Texas House of Representatives and Texas Senate recognized Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013, as Cedar Creek Lake Day at the Capitol.

State Representative Lance Gooden recognized Jo Anne Hanstrom, Cedar Creek Lake Chamber President; Dennis Baade, Gun Barrel City councilman; Fran Zonka, Tool city councilwoman; Shannon Steakley, Mabank city councilwoman; and Barry Lumus, Kemp city councilman from the House floor.

Gooden and Representative Jim Pitts conducted a question-and-answer session at the Doubletree Hotel. Gooden said he and Pitts are working closely together to represent all parts of Henderson County.

Gooden said he and Pitts would be meeting with the Texas Department of Transportation to discuss widening the bridge between Seven Points and Gun Barrel City.

Because of the new redistricting boundaries, Henderson County has two representatives in Austin. Gooden represents District 4, while Pitts represents  District 10, which includes a small part of Athens and the west end of Henderson County.

Pitts, chairperson of the Appropriations Committee, said the House will have to make decisions regarding school finance issues this session. On Monday, a state district judge ruled that the system Texas uses to fund public schools violates the state constitution.

“We expect to appeal the judge’s decision,” Pitts said.

Senator Robert Nichols, who also represents Henderson County, met with the group, as well. He told attendees he has big issues to tackle this session, including education, water and transportation.

Nichols said his District 3 has 102 school districts, and the legislators will have a lot of educational decisions to consider. Nichols said legislators will need to make decisions about long term and short term water issues. He said the drought of 2011 was one of the worst for a single year.

The fundamental problem of funding transportation will also be a big issue this session, Pitts said. “Taxes are not climbing as fast as cars on the road,” he said.

Seven Points EDC member Jeannie Hulsey said, “We should work with Gooden and Pitts to get things accomplished here at Cedar Creek Lake. We are lucky to have two representatives and we all need to be involved getting a new bridge between Seven Points and Gun Barrel City. We have an opportunity here.”