Thursday, June 25, 2009

A Visit to Some of Texas' Dynamic Rural Communities

There is nothing better than getting to experience the best of Texas by visiting our dynamic rural communities. Today was one of those great days.

We started out in Granbury where the Texas Department of Agriculture partnered with the Texas Travel Industry Association to host a Regional Tourism Workshop. At the workshop (click here for future dates and locations), communities were introduced to the many tools offered by state government entities to help promote their futures. TDA’s GO TEXAN marketing campaign and economic development tools were showcased.

State Rep. Jim Keffer and I have worked together for a long time to bring jobs to Texas. We were together today as Mineral Wells was awarded a Texas Capital Fund (TCF) loan in the amount of $750,000. The money will be used to expand an existing manufacturing company, and we are excited about the 30 additional jobs being created and the positive economic impact for the community.

 Mineral Wells Mayor Mike Allen was a great host who later drove us to Crazy Water, a GO TEXAN member that allowed us to sample some mineral water.

State Rep. David Farabee joined me to launch a new program at the Wichita Falls Farmers Market. I read about a northeastern state that had a Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program that awards vouchers to eligible seniors. The vouchers can be redeemed for fresh food at participating farmers markets. My thought: if another state can do this, Texas should do it bigger and better. We started this year with Wichita Falls and San Antonio and are looking forward to this program helping our seniors and farmers and potentially being expanded across the state. A big thanks to the food banks in both cities for their leadership in helping us distribute the vouchers.

We rounded out the day in Vernon. The city is the recipient of a $275,500 TCF grant that will be used to build a road to accommodate a new Hampton Inn. This will help as Mayor Jeff Bearden and the community work to capitalize on their western heritage.

It was a grand Texas day, and I thank all the Texans who I met with today for making our state a better place to live, work and raise a family.

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