Thank you for giving me the privilege to represent District 76 in the Texas House of Representatives. This session, I served on the House Committees on Public Health, the Committee on Defense & Veterans Affairs, and the Committee on Rules and Resolutions.
With close collaboration with Senator Rodriguez, our office passed eight pieces of legislation to help Veterans and their families, support El Paso's local economy, protect victims of family violence, and increase information for voters.
Our office also played a crucial role in protecting the Hazlewood program to preserve the promise made to Veterans and their families. We pushed for greater accountability and transparency with the hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars being billed to us as border security dollars.
As a result of our hard work, my colleagues selected me as the freshman of the year for the Mexican American Legislative Caucus - a recognition by which I'm extremely proud.
Texas Tech University Health Science Center - El Paso (TTUHSC)
We have an opportunity to usher El Paso into a period of unprecedented economic growth and opportunity. My first legislation filed was to provide resources for Texas Tech University Health Science Center. TTUHSC will receive more than $75 million in tuition revenue bonds to construct the El Paso Medical Science Building II and continue growth at the institution.
This project will provide research laboratories, lecture halls and classrooms, offices and teaching space for the schools. It will also facilitate the institution's ability to meet the growing needs of the academic programs and research by addressing the chronic border health issues and targeting diseases such as diabetes, obesity, and depression.
As a Navy Veteran, I've pledged to prioritize our Veterans and their families. I am proud to have passed legislation to help our Veterans make a positive transition from military service into the workforce, and to have successfully fought to preserve the education benefits they earned through the Hazlewood program.
The bills shepherded by our office and Senator Rodriguez will assist Veterans who want to start their own business, increase funding for Veterans courts in El Paso and across the state, generate revenue for the Fund for Veterans Assistance, and help families who want to honor the sacrifice of their loved ones through a Gold Star License plate for fallen heroes.
Relief for Public School Teachers
Educators help mold the minds of our future leaders. As legislators, we must respect our educator's commitment to our children with a commitment to them. Although my legislation to increase the state contribution for the teachers' health insurance for every active teacher from $75 a month to $150 a month did not pass this session, the legislature took action to address the health care program for our retired teachers. I joint-authored legislation that will fully fund TRS-Care, the state health care program that covers more than 250,000 retired teachers and their dependents. After educators have dedicated their lives to public service, it is our duty to repay that service with the benefits they have earned.
Border Security Politics
Negative discussion about the border impacts the economy of our city and of our state. As Chairman of the newly formed Texas House Border Caucus it was my goal to bring awareness of the positive economic contributions of the Texas-Mexico border region. Throughout the session, I've sought accountability and transparency with our tax-dollars appropriated for so-called border security efforts.
I've asked the Department of Public Safety simple questions to figure out what taxpayers have gotten for the money being billed to us as border security dollars.
As a result, editorial boards across the state are echoing that call. The El Paso Times, San Antonio Express-News, Corpus Christi Caller Times, and Houston Chronicle have written editorials on the need for greater accountability with our border security dollars. I will continue to ask questions to ensure that we are not wasting funds simply for political purposes.
It has been an honor to represent El Paso in the Texas House. I have worked hard this session to make sure that our community gets its fair share and will continue to do so. If you have any questions, or if I can be helpful, please do not hesitate to contact me at (512) 463-0622 or (915) 599-9807.
César J. Blanco
State Representative, Dist. 76
9440 Viscount, Suite 205