Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

November 4, 2013

Texas Land Commissioner representative to address Cherokee County GOP group next week

Ben Tinsley
Jacksonville Daily Progress

JACKSONVILLE —

State water rights and the proposed closure of the Gulf Coast's Rollover Pass water-way are expected to be two very major topics of discussion when a representative of Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson meets with the Cherokee County Republican Club next week.

This 6:30 p.m. meeting takes place Tuesday, Nov. 12, at the Woodmen of the World Lodge, 1800 College St. in Jacksonville. Patterson is sending Jim Darwin, his federal government and veteran liaison, to talk with the group.

Original plans were for Patterson to make the meeting himself, but at the time he agreed to the meeting he had not yet thrown his hat in the ring to run for Texas lieutenant governor, GOP Club President Jean Brewer said.

Now that Patterson has begun his campaign, he elected to send Darwin in his stead.

During a phone interview Monday, Darwin said he intends to discuss important issues such as veteran benefits with the group next week, but also will be happy to review other issues of concern with the group

“I will do all I can to answer,” Darwin said.

He agreed with Brewer that water rights are a very important issue right now because there are communities in Texas where wells are going out and “no water” conditions are worsening to an emergency level.

“I know there are at least two cities in West Texas that are approaching a world of problems,” he said.

Incidentally, voters today will decide on Proposition 6, a proposed state constitutional amendment proponents say is very necessary after the recent and historic drought. It would create the State Water Implementation Fund, otherwise known as SWIFT, and appropriate $2 billion for it from the Economic Stabilization Fund.

If voters agree on this measure in today's election, the funds would help finance priority water projects – including rural water projects – to ensure Texas has adequate water resources for the future. The Texas Water Development Board would ultimately be directed on how to use this fund.

State Rep. Travis Clardy, R-Nacogdoches, and members of the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association have all been very vocal in their urging of voters to vote for Proposition 6.

Clardy went so far as to plug the measure during his recent re-election announcement.

Meanwhile, Brewer said many members of the Republican Club would like to learn more about the status of Rollover Pass, a man-made strait on the upper Texas Coast that thousands of fishermen visit each year.

lans to close the pass were funded by the Texas Legislature in 2008 after Hurricane Ike devastated adjoining coastal communities.

Located in eastern Galveston County, Rollover Pass cuts through the Bolivar Peninsula — effectively linking the Gulf of Mexico with Rollover Bay as well as East Bay.

The Texas Legislature approved $5.85 million in 2008 to close Rollover Pass, but the owners of the property it is on are trying to prevent closure of the pass with a federal lawsuit.

Brewer said many Cherokee County Republicans have a stake in the final fate of Rollover Pass and knowing what is happening there is very important.

“Some of us either own or rent property in that area,” she said.

Prior to the meeting with Darwin meeting, the GOP group will conduct a 5:30 p.m. “meet and greet” at the same location to assist the local Marine Corp League 's Toys for Tots campaign.

To inquire further about next week's event, please contact Brewer at 903-683-9543 or 903-393-8791.