Our View: Reason for some optimism
October 26, 2012, 4:00 am by The Publisher
An unfortunate but immutable fact of life is that when the welfare of a smaller critter comes to conflict with the interests of a larger one, the big one usually wins.
That happened in the Texas redistricting fights when stronger – if not wiser – members of the Legislature chose to move Burnet County into a new state House district dominated by Williamson County, long ago subsumed by Austin, rather than combining it with its Hill Country neighbors.
Clearly, our neighborhood has more in common with those beyond the clutch of Travis County. But we also face many of the same challenges as our urban neighbors, including the ready availability of water in an era of high growth. While the same solutions may not always be preferred by both parties, common sense and compromise ought to be enthusiastically embraced when agendas don’t perfectly align.
Whether that will happen or whether the attention and interest directed to our tail-of-the-dog county will always be secondary to that of populous Williamson County will depend on the quality and integrity of our state representative.
She is a Republican unopposed by a Democrat in November. So in January, it should not only be Dr. Marsha Farney, but State Rep. Marsha Farney (R-Georgetown).
The great news is that there is reason to believe she appreciates the challenges of representing a diverse and complex swath of Central Texas beset, like America, with daunting problems and tantalizing opportunities. She is reaching throughout her new district to hear first-hand the concerns and ideas of her constituents.
She’s bought property in our county. She’s joining our community organizations. She’s getting to know us. She’s begun to work with Burnet County Judge Donna Klaeger, county commissioners, and advocates for the Highland Lakes like Jo Carr Tedder’s Central Texas Water Coalition to understand the history, politics and inner-mechanisms of the Rube Goldberg contraption that creates and manages our water resources. As a former classroom teacher, PhD and member of the Texas Board of Education, she’s begun to talk to educators about solutions for diminishing resources and growing needs. She’s learning from Jimmie Don Aycock, who did a diligent and impressive job of representing our part of the old House district even though it was distant from his base in Killeen.
Unfortunately, the replacement for Congressman Mike Conaway – who ably and truly worked to ensure that he understood and well represented our county though it was on the very edge of the world of his far-flung West Texas district – has not shown much interest in us since defeating a group of well-qualified opponents in the Republican primary.
Roger Williams, who is facing only token Democrat opposition next month, has businesses in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, a ranch north of here, an address in Austin …. and a home in Horseshoe Bay.
If the Congressman-presumed has been spending time here, it hasn’t been to mix much with the world beyond the lake house. Instead, he's apparently been busy filling our mailboxes with campaign junk. Slick postcards may help the U.S. Postal Service with its multi-billion dollar losses, but they can't substitute for the kind of person-to-person contact Dr. Farney is bringing to her Legislative district.
When the incoming Legislature gathers next January, there will be many others like her, eager to learn and to make their way in an incoming Legislature where about two-thirds of the Texas House will be freshmen or sophomores. She will be well-versed in the needs and opinions of her district.
Oddly perhaps, as someone with one foot in the Austin Metro and the other in a semi-rural county, Marsha Farney may be the perfect person to bring us together, helping us fashion a unified agenda to bring common sense solutions to the challenges before us in a changing Texas.
Roy E. Bode
President & Publisher
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