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Texas Democrats: Leading the Fight for Texas Families
Texans who followed the recently ended session of the Texas Legislature saw more political pandering and divisive rhetoric than any time in recent memory. Most of the hostility was not between Democrats and Republicans though – it occurred between hostile factions of the Republican Party. The infighting created an environment that made productive work very difficult for any responsible member.
Even given the day-to-day dysfunction, some Members were able to skillfully navigate the hostile waters to get important things done. In some cases they blocked bills that would have hurt working Texans and their families. In other cases they were able to enact important legislation that spurs economic growth, helps create jobs and fulfills our commitment to men and women in the military who bravely serve our nation and keep us all safe.
Today, Lone Star Project would like to highlight some outstanding work done by a few of our rising Democratic stars in the legislature.
Eric Johnson – HD100, Dallas
It should come as no surprise that state Rep. Eric Johnson from Dallas worked aggressively and creatively on behalf of Texans this past session. From working to protect Texas kids, to fighting for police body cameras, the bills Johnson passed will have a long and positive impact on all Texas communities. But it was Johnson’s successful work on economic development programs that earned him the highest praise. Johnson introduced and passed a package of bills aimed at improving economically depressed parts of Texas by creating access to essential investment resources and encouraging local entrepreneurship in order to create good paying jobs.
Johnson’s job creation package empowers local governments to establish "banking districts" to give new incentives to financial institutions to provide loans for local small businesses. These new economic tools help jump start investment and will create good paying jobs where they’re needed most.
The Dallas Morning News said Johnson’s jobs bill are "a cutting-edge experiment in community investment."
Together, Rep. Johnson’s smart solutions to create jobs will bring economic growth to under-served parts of Texas. The Dallas Morning News said it best: "It is refreshing when a lawmaker thinks about problem-solving in fresh ways."
Ana Hernandez – HD 143, Houston
Rep. Ana Hernandez has a distinguished record of fighting for her Houston district and for all Texans—earning her a spot on Hispanic Business Magazine’s "Most Influential List." But her work on behalf of Texas veterans this past session deserves special attention and gratitude.
Recognizing that Texas has the largest women’s veteran population of any state, Rep. Hernandez was able to pass a law permanently establishing the Texas Women’s Veterans Program. This vital program will assist women veterans, many of whom are working to support families, by identifying the key factors that determine how women veterans can rejoin the workforce and making certain that these brave women vets have access to all the benefits they have earned for their service.
Texans have always been proud to honor those who serve, and thanks to the smart work of Ana Hernandez, the unique needs of women veterans and their families will finally be addressed.
Cesar Blanco – HD 76, El Paso
Rep. Cesar Blanco proved to the people of El Paso that he’s a fighter for all Texans during his first session in Austin. Blanco, a veteran who served in the U.S. Navy as an intelligence officer, was able to pass bills aimed at assisting returning veterans as they transition back into civilian life. Rep. Blanco worked tirelessly to help save the Texas Hazelwood Legacy program which gives deserving veterans and their families the opportunity to seek higher education.
But his work didn’t end there. Blanco’s no-nonsense approach to crime led to his passage of an important bill to protect victims of family violence by making it a crime to remove or attempt to remove a GPS ankle monitor. Prior to the passage of Blanco’s bill, police could not arrest a potentially dangerous threat to family members if the perpetrator tried to remove the monitoring device. Texas families at risk can rest easier knowing their kids are safer from those seeking to harm them
Cesar Blanco’s work led him to be named by Texas Monthly as one of the ten best legislators in Texas. This honor is rarely given to a freshman legislator, and it is a true testament to Rep. Blanco’s hard work and effectiveness for Texas families.