Senator Royce West: Weekly Austin Report

Senator Royce West

Dear Friends:

This time next week I, along with my Legislative colleagues, will be concluding the 81st
Legislative Session. As promised, it has been and continues to be a challenging, intense, armtwisting and exhilarating 140 days of lawmaking.

As I reflect on my 16th year of public service, I am well aware of the task at hand. There is still much work to be done and the clock is ticking. Between 2000 and 2007, Texas’ population grew nearly 13 percent to more than 23.9 million.

With that comes an even greater demand for state services and funding. Legislative ideas can come from anywhere and anybody. Many times the ideas come from constituents and others who contact my office. Grandparents and other family members have come to my office over the years pleading that something be done to keep families together after they have been left to care for children who have been abandoned or whose parent has died, been incarcerated, or is otherwise unavailable.

I’ve tried to address their concerns with kinship care legislation outlined in this weekly update. In addition, students and parents have contacted me by every means imaginable to talk about the rising cost of college tuition, the need for increased financial aid and the value of high school programs which promote and encourage graduation and higher college attendance rates.

I will continue to fight to keep college costs down, to increase financial aid and to share with students about the paths that will lead them to the college classroom or workplace.
Statistics tell us that if a student isn’t successful in school, that student most likely will end up in the penal system.

But, we do know that there are some innocent individuals who are or have served time in Texas’ prisons. I’ve passed legislation that attempts to help with the reentry process for exonerees. I’m as committed today as I was when I began this odyssey of public service.

I’m working harder and sleeping less trying to make a difference. A running joke around the Capitol is that if you’re sleeping more than five hours a night, you’re not doing your job. But, you can rest assure that I and my staff sleep with one eye open to remain vigilant for the citizens of District 23 and Texas.

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