Back in the “old times”—many years ago—Texas had the world by the tail when it came to having real influence in Washington, D.C. Our Texan congressmen had the power to make or break agriculture, business, military or other issues that affected our citizens. Now that power is no longer held in the hands of our members of the House or Senate, taxpayers suffer the loss of that power.
When Texas congressmen talked, other members of the U.S. Congress listened, and were agreeable to demands of our Lone Star leaders. Those leaders included George Mahon, Olin Teague, Sam Rayburn and Kika DeLa Garza. When it came to doing right for Texas farmers, ranchers, business owners and the oil and gas industry, those stalwarts led the pack. I just wish we had present day members of Congress that had the same work ethic.
We have some good people serving us in the Texas Legislature. One to single out is Senator Robert Nichols. The senator has a distinguished career serving folks in East Texas—and all of Texas. When I need information on a subject pertaining to our state government, he and his staff are quick to respond. Sorta reminds me of when Charlie Wilson was a congressman serving a big chunk of East Texas. He was a native of Groveton, and graduate of the Naval Academy. Wilson was as close to the people in his congressional district as anyone I have ever known. If a constituent had a question about their Social Security check, or any other matter related to government, they called Charlie. Some even believed Wilson personally signed their Social Security check! Wilson was a Democrat but worked for “his people”—not the political standard bearers.
This redistricting plan being directed by our state legislature is still being ironed out. From my front porch it looks like our rural counties will be diced up and bits and pieces go to districts that will be controlled by larger cities. A legislator in these districts won’t spend much time on solving the needs and wants of a rural voter.
On a 100% agriculture note, new legislation introduced in the U.S. Senate would make all farm commodity checkoff programs voluntary rather than mandatory. If we had this law on the books today, a beef, pork, pecan, cotton, grain or other crop raiser would have the option of contributing to the pot for research and promotion. If the producer declined, so be it! The bill has a long and rocky road before passage, but miracles do happen!
Horace McQueen is a former national editor for Farm & Ranch magazine and co-founder of Farm and Ranch TV News. The award-winning broadcaster is a rancher and farmer who is involved in real estate as well.