FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 02/06/2015
State Representative James White Assigned to Influential Committees; Welcomes Leadership Southeast Texas
Austin, TX - Excitement and anticipation reached new levels this week as the Texas House of Representatives winds up for the 84th Session. Committee assignments are complete, bills are filed, and all systems are “Go” for a constructive and energetic next four months.
I was honored to host several great citizens of Southeast Texas at their State Capitol. Amongst these citizens were Gail Odom from the Newton Chamber of Commerce, Sandra Womack of the Lumberton Chamber of Commerce, and Kari Ellis of the Jasper Economic Development. All three of these ladies were here with the Leadership Southeast Texas (LSET); a prestigious group of citizens advocating to make Southeast Texas a more prosperous place for our families.
I was also excited to meet with representatives from the Alabama Coushatta Tribe about how we can assist and meet the needs of this community which lies within our district. It is always a great honor to meet with them when they visit their Capitol.
On Wednesday, it was my privilege to introduce the Legislative Doctor of the Day. Dr. Ron McMurry from Jasper served in this position and volunteered his services in the Capitol Nurses’ office. He has served every legislative session and special session since 1985. It was truly my honor to recognize him for his hard work advocating for better medical care access in rural East Texas.
A vital part of the legislative process is the division of labor in committees. On Wednesday, I was honored to receive my committee assignments from the Speaker’s office. This session, I will serve again as the Vice Chair of the Committee on Corrections. Serving on this Committee provides me an opportunity to impact policy for a core government service: public safety. The jurisdiction of this committee is vital to our district in many ways. First, the men and women of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) help ensure that we have safe communities. Additionally, Southeast Texas is home to a substantial number of TDCJ staff and serving on the Corrections Committee provides me the opportunity to support these dedicated and hard-working Texans.
My second committee assignment is on Juvenile Justice and Family Issues. I am deeply honored to be entrusted with such a position, and with it, the opportunity to impact families and youth. The Family is one of God's ordained institutions and the first level of government in our communities. Families are also the best economic development program. Strong families nurture strong children. Children from strong families have a better opportunity to have higher levels of academic achievement. Strong families contribute to having economically prosperous communities. On this committee, I will maintain a focus on safe communities, while addressing juvenile justice issues such as education, truancy, and other issues to ensure that our youth do not start adulthood with a criminal record. Children comprise 20 percent of our population, but represent 100 percent of our future.
My other assignment is the House Select Committee on Emerging Issues in Texas Law Enforcement. It is not just enough for the Legislature to appreciate the work of Texas law enforcement; the Legislature must also ensure that the training and professional needs of law enforcement are understood and met. Therefore, this committee gives me the unique opportunity to work with our law enforcement community in maintaining safe communities by addressing emerging issues and threats such as human trafficking, the use of drones, and other 21st century technologies. Our mission is to help ensure that the public safety of Texas citizens is always protected and properly safeguarded.
Lastly, my deepest and heartfelt sympathy goes to the Loftin family from Spurger, TX as their family was struck with the deepest tragedy a family could imagine, losing four of their children in a house fire. I send my condolences to all of their loved ones and am reminded through Christ in the book of Matthew chapter 5:4 that “Blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted”. My thoughts and prayers are with all those affected.