Landgraf Fights to Expand Broadband Access

ODESSA — State Representative Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa) is taking an active role in the fight to expand broadband access in rural West Texas communities. After signing on to a letter submitted to Governor Greg Abbott calling for a statewide broadband plan, Landgraf joined other members of the legislature on a call with Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC) officials on Wednesday to discuss the Texas Universal Service Fund, a funding source for rural telecommunication infrastructure improvements headed for insolvency.

“We need a robust statewide network that can carry voice, data and wireless traffic,” Landgraf said. “The coronavirus has exacerbated the already pressing need for rural communities to have reliable phone and internet service. It is essential to take proactive steps immediately to ensure rural Texans have access to telework and essential services, such as remote learning and telemedicine.”

The Texas Universal Service Fund (USF) was created by the Texas Legislature in 1987 to assist telecommunications providers in providing basic local telecommunications service at reasonable rates in high cost rural areas. Earlier this year, officials were informed the fund could become insolvent as soon as January, 2021.

“This is an opportunity to kill two birds with one stone,” Landgraf said. “The legislature is being forced into action because the fund is running out of money, but part of the problem is that the USF can’t be used for broadband. It’s time to take a fresh look at the statute, get the USF solvent and ensure it can be used to provide broadband access in the rural parts of Texas.”

The Texas Legislature convenes for a 140-day regular session at the Texas Capitol in Austin on the second Tuesday in January of each odd-numbered year. The 87th Texas Legislative Session is set to begin on January 21, 2021.


Landgraf Discusses Texas Legislature with Grandfalls-Royalty ISD Board

GRANDFALLS — State Representative Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa) attended the meeting of the Grandfalls-Royalty ISD school board via conference call on Monday to discuss the upcoming session of the Texas Legislature and answer questions about the state's response to recent crises.

“I’m always impressed by the GRISD leadership,” Landgraf said. “Superintendent Starkweather knows what he’s doing, and the board obviously cares deeply about their students and faculty.”

Landgraf, who represents Ward County in the Texas House of Representatives, met with the school board to offer any assistance the city may need from the state.

“The next generation of West Texans deserve the best education possible, regardless of what happens with COVID-19,” Landgraf continued. “My message to the board was that I’m here to do whatever I can to ensure the district has the resources it needs from the state to educate students during this unprecedented school year."

Landgraf is attending this and other local government meetings across the Permian Basin to keep locals informed about actions to combat the coronavirus and prepare for the next session of the Texas Legislature, which convenes at the Texas Capitol in January 2021.


Landgraf Pledges Support for Law Enforcement

ODESSA — State Representative Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa) joined Governor Greg Abbott in signing the “Texas Backs the Blue Pledge” to oppose efforts to defund Texas police departments. Governor Abbott is calling on all Texans to sign the pledge against defunding police departments.

“The men and women who risk everything to protect and serve deserve our respect and gratitude,” Landgraf said. “It is without hesitation that I pledge to oppose any attempt to defund law enforcement in Texas.”

“If adequate resources are not provided to enforce the rule of law in Texas, not only will people’s lives be in danger, but the government will have failed to fulfill one of its most basic responsibilities,” Landgraf said. “I’m thankful for Governor Abbott’s leadership on this important issue,” he added.

 


Landgraf: $2.5 Billion Tabbed for Permian Basin Roads

AUSTIN — The Texas Transportation Commissioners, led by Chairman Bruce Bugg, voted unanimously Thursday to approve $2.5 billion in funding for transportation projects in the Texas Department of Transportation’s (TxDOT) Odessa district over the next decade. State Representative Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa) was in Austin to advocate for the plan.

"I'm thankful to the Chairman Bugg and the rest of the commissioners for continuing to prioritize transportation infrastructure in the Permian Basin," Landgraf said. "The 2021 UTP funding distribution of $2.5 billion represents a new high-water mark for the Odessa TxDOT District and we continue to build on our momentum to have safer roads in West Texas."

Every year, the Texas Transportation Commission updates and approves the Unified Transportation Program (UTP).

The UTP is TxDOT’s 10-year plan that guides the development of transportation projects across the state. The 2021 UTP includes funding to completely rebuild I-20, build and improve intersections on Loop 338, as well as widen US 385 and SH 115, among others.

"The projects listed in the UTP will drastically improve safety for motorists across West Texas, and will help improve the efficiency with which products from the Permian Basin get to market." Landgraf continued. "This is a win for all Texans, and I want to be sure to thank all of the constituents who joined me in fighting for these live-saving transportation dollars."


Landgraf Participates in Winkler County Hospital District Board Meeting

KERMIT — State Representative Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa) participated in the Winkler County Hospital District board of directors meeting on Tuesday to discuss the local and statewide response to the COVID-19 pandemic and answer questions from the board members regarding the upcoming 2021 Texas Legislative Session.

“I appreciate President Sims and CEO Serrano for allowing me to speak today,“ Landgraf said. “My goal is to make sure Winkler County has the necessary state resources to continue the fight against COVID-19."

Landgraf, who represents Winkler County in the Texas House of Representatives, met with the board to offer any assistance the hospital may need from the state.

“The can-do attitude of folks in Winkler County always impresses me.” Landgraf continued. "Winkler County residents and business owners have every reason to be confident in their local leaders' ability to keep them safe and working."

Landgraf is attending this and other local government meetings across the Permian Basin to keep locals informed about actions to combat the coronavirus and prepare for the next session of the Texas Legislature, which convenes at the Texas Capitol in January 2021.


Landgraf Discusses Texas Legislature with Ward Memorial Hospital Board

MONAHANS — State Representative Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa) participated in the Ward Memorial Hospital board meeting on Thursday to discuss the local and statewide response to the COVID-19 pandemic and answer questions from the board members regarding the upcoming 2021 Texas Legislative Session.

“I had a great discussion with Chairman Fausett and the rest of the board members," Landgraf said. "Hospitals, especially rural hospitals, are facing significant challenges right now, and I'm impressed with how Ward Memorial is rising to the challenge."

Landgraf, who represents Ward County in the Texas House of Representatives, met with the board members to offer any assistance the hospital may need from the state.

“It's important for me to hear from the boots on the ground, now more than ever,” Landgraf continued. “I want to be sure the hospital has all of the state resources it needs to respond to the ongoing health crisis.”

Landgraf is attending this and other local government meetings across the Permian Basin to keep locals informed about actions to combat the coronavirus and prepare for the next session of the Texas Legislature, which convenes at the Texas Capitol in January 2021.


Landgraf Takes Part in Wickett City Council Meeting

WICKETT — State Representative Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa) joined Mayor Xavier Estrada and the Wickett City Council on a conference call on Wednesday to discuss the local and statewide response to the COVID-19 pandemic and answer questions from the mayor and council members

“We had an excellent discussion about real problems facing the community during this difficult time,” Landgraf said. “It is obvious that Mayor Estrada and the council members care deeply about the residents of Wickett, and I appreciate their thoughtful and deliberate service to the community.”

Landgraf, who represents Ward County in the Texas House of Representatives, met with the city council to offer any assistance the city may need from the state.

“I wanted to be sure the city knows that I am here to help however I can,” Landgraf continued. “Whether it is addressing safety concerns on our state highways, ensuring that schools have what they need for this incredibly unique upcoming school year, or anything in between.”

Landgraf is attending this and other local government meetings across the Permian Basin to keep locals informed about actions to combat the coronavirus and prepare for the next session of the Texas Legislature, which convenes at the Texas Capitol in January 2021.


Landgraf Calls for Cancellation of STAAR Test in 2020-21

ODESSA — State Representative Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa) submitted a letter to Texas Education Agency (TEA) Commissioner Mike Morath on Monday calling for a suspension of STAAR testing during the 2020-2021 school year.

“Now, more than ever, we need to allow our teachers the flexibility to teach their students the way they feel is best,” Landgraf writes in the letter. “And we need our students to be inspired and motivated to learn, not overcome with anxiety about a punitive test being administered in the most unprecedented health crisis in modern history.”

Earlier this year, Commissioner Morath obtained waivers from the U.S. Department of Education to waive statewide assessment and accountability requirements for the 2019-2020 school year because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. In his letter to the agency head, Landgraf asks Commissioner Morath to use the same reasoning to secure waivers for the upcoming school year as well.

“[I]t is obvious that administering this test in 2020-2021 will not provide an accurate assessment of Texas students or the quality of their education. It would be testing for the sake of testing, a notion to which I am adamantly and vehemently opposed,” Landgraf concludes in the letter.

Unless waivers are granted by the federal government, states are required to assess student and teacher progress annually in order to draw down federal dollars for public education funding. However, Landgraf and other Texas Legislators have long argued that the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) goes far and above what is required by federal law, and fails to accurately assess student achievement.


Landgraf Attends Monahans City Council Meeting

MONAHANS — State Representative Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa) attended the Monahans City Council meeting on Tuesday to discuss the local and statewide response to the COVID-19 pandemic and answer questions from the mayor and council members.

“Mayor Cutbirth, the city councilmen, Rex Thee and I had a great discussion about the challenges the city faces and what the legislature can do to help,” Landgraf said.

Landgraf, who represents Ward County in the Texas House of Representatives, met with the city council to offer any assistance the city may need from the state.

“I wanted to be sure to let the city know that I’m here to serve, here to work alongside them as we work to get back to normal,” Landgraf continued. “We are all in this fight together.”

Landgraf is attending this and other local government meetings across the Permian Basin to keep locals informed about actions to combat the coronavirus and prepare for the next session of the Texas Legislature, which convenes at the Texas Capitol in January 2021.


Landgraf Participates in Ector County ISD Board Meeting

ODESSA — State Representative Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa) attended the meeting of the Ector County ISD board of trustees on Tuesday to discuss school finance, the local and statewide response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and answer questions about the upcoming 2021 legislative session.

“As a product of ECISD, my heart goes out to all of the students, teachers, administrators, and families who are struggling right now,” Landgraf said. “Dr. Scott Muri and the school board members have a colossal responsibility to ensure public education in Ector County can continue safely. I have no doubt they are up to the task and I want to provide support to them at the state level.”

Landgraf, who represents Ector County in the Texas House of Representatives, met with the board to offer any assistance the school district may need from the state.

“The next generation of West Texans deserve the best education possible, regardless of what happens with COVID-19, or a drop in state revenue,” Landgraf continued. “I look forward to helping Dr. Muri and the ECISD board do whatever it takes to be ready for the next school year.”

Landgraf is attending this and other local government meetings across the Permian Basin to keep locals informed about actions to combat the coronavirus and prepare for the next session of the Texas Legislature, which convenes at the Texas Capitol in January 2021.