A native of Palo Pinto County, Glenn Rogers is the representative-elect to the District 60 seat in the Texas House of Representatives. Rogers is a rancher and veterinarian.
When I decided to make a run for the Texas House 5 months ago, I had no idea how difficult, contentious and expensive this race would be. People who didn’t know me would ask “Why are you running?” People that did know me, induding my wife, would ask “Are you crazy?!”
There were several times during the campaign that I thought the “Crazy camp” might be right. However, every single day that I was on the campaign trail, I met someone who shared their concerns or issues that convinced me time and again that I needed to press on, work harder, listen more, talk with as many people as possible and show them that I would go to Austin to represent them.
I learned many things during this campaign but one of my biggest takeaways was that the people of District 60 longed for better communication between their representative in Austin and all the folks back home. I vowed that if elected, I would be the most accessible state legislator that this district has ever had.
Just prior to the election, H.V. O’Brien, the longtime editor of the Eastland County News, wrote an editorial recommending that whomever won this House seat put forth a concerted effort to communicate regularly with constituents. Just a few days later, after the July Run-off election, I was approached by Sam Houston, the new publisher of the Hood County News, to write a monthly column (Ironically Sam and I both have Republic of Texas roots).
These two unconnected, unsolicited requests reaffirmed that citizens of this district want more communication with their legislator.
It has been my observation that many people have gotten it in their head that legislators work mainly for big donors and are out of touch with most of their constituents. This is not the way it should be! Your legislator should be seen as your neighbor, the guy or gal that you sit down and have a cup of coffee with and discuss the state of the world, Friday night’s football scores, how much rain you got (or didn’t get) and the person you can depend on to handle the complexities of state government. I will strive to be that neighbor.
My goal with this regular column will be to provide you with insight from where I’m seeing the world, either from my back porch in Palo Pinto County or, when in session, the view from the Capitol of Texas. I will work hard to shoot straight with you, attempt to be non-partisan and always be honest and forthright. At times, this column will be part civics lesson, part political, part opinion and part educational.
During this interim period before the 87th Legislature convenes on Jan. 12, 2020, I’m working hard to learn as much as I can about the intricacies of Texas state government, the workings of the Texas House in particular and continue to learn about the issues facing District 60. The amount of information that I’m consuming is akin to drinking from a fire hose and I’m told, for the foreseeable future, that’s just the way it is. But, I have to tell you, every day I’m excited to learn more, meet new individuals and groups within the district who are making a difference, make new connections for this District, and make new friends.
I’m also learning about what to expect immediately when I get to Austin. Texas is currently facing unprecedented challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the downturn in the energy sector. Back in July, Comptroller Glenn Hegar revised the Certification Revenue Estimate (CRE) to project a fiscal 2021 ending shortfall of $4.58 billion. By comparison, pre-COVID, in October 2019, Comptroller Hegar had projected a $2.89 billion surplus. Governor Abbott has already called for all state agencies to decrease budgets by 5% and this is just the starting point. The math here is simple: we will be facing some very tough choices in the 87th Legislature.
Every morning in my hometown of Graford, ranchers and other locals gather around the big round table at the Graford Cafe, to have coffee and discuss the state of the world. A couple of weeks ago, I lingered a bit longer than usual and through a round of questions, found myself giving a bit of a Texas civics lesson.
Questions like: “How many state representatives are in Texas?”
“How many citizens do you represent?”
And, “What is the salary of a state representative?” The answer to the last question was met with shock and disbelief by some. I realized that this might be a good start for this series of articles. That’s for next month.
Look for my article each month in your local newspaper, on my Facebook page and in many communityrelated Facebook pages throughout District 60.
I look forward to serving as your representative in the Texas House and being your voice in Austin.