April in Texas

In: The Lonestar Weekly   Posted 04/23/2019

Springtime is one of my favorite seasons to travel across Texas, but last week I did more than admire the bluebonnets. Here are a few highlights from my recent visits with Texans across the state: 

In El Paso, I spoke with students and educators at Parkland Middle School about the success of the GEAR UP federal grant program, which helps prepare underrepresented students for college and careers. So far more than 10,000 El Paso area students have participated in GEAR UP and benefitted from $49 million in federal grants. I shared with them legislation I introduced, based on Texans’ success and challenges with the program, to improve the flexibility of GEAR UP to further meet the needs of Texas students and ensure a more fair and competitive application process. 

I also visited Martin High School in Laredo to hear from students and educators about their successes with the GEAR UP program and how it's helped them prepare for their careers – like these future EMTs. 

In Austin, I met with the sister of Jenna Quinn - a Texan, survivor, and victim advocate - as well as local educators, members of Children's Advocacy Centers of Texas, and the Austin Police Department to discuss a bill I’ve introduced to help prevent child sexual abuse. Knowing the signs of this abuse and how to report it is crucial for educators. States like Texas have passed Jenna's Law, a bill to require sexual abuse prevention training for adults who work with children, and I’m proud to have introduced the Jenna Quinn Law to make it the federal standard and help fund the fight against child abuse in our state and nationwide. 

In Lubbock, I spoke at the Plains Cotton Growers Annual Meeting where I was honored to receive the U.S. Senate Seed Cotton Champion Award. The cotton industry is one of Texas’ largest – worth more than $3 billion – and I plan to keep fighting on behalf of farmers and producers all over our state. 

I also returned to Dyess Air Force Base (AFB) in Abilene to visit our airmen and airwomen and receive briefings on base operations as well as the future B-21 bomber mission and the positive impact Dyess AFB has on the Abilene community and military readiness. I'm proud of all the work these brave men and women are doing to keep our country safe. 

I always enjoy getting the chance to speak with my fellow Texans about the issues that matter to them, and advocating on their behalf in Washington is an honor and a privilege. I will keep these meetings and conversations in mind when I return to Washington to continue to advocate for Texans’ priorities.