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Protecting the Hill Country - New Campaign Video

Sometimes I think I've been an environmentalist since before I was born. I grew up in the Texas Hill Country birdwatching with my father and exploring the greenbelts along our limestone creeks. One of my first jobs (when I was 17!) was knocking on doors for Texas Campaign for the Environment on their computer recycling campaign. I studied Natural Resource Conservation at the University of Montana and worked for conservation nonprofits enhancing wildlife habitat and building public/private partnerships.

The Texas Hill Country is my heart. As your state representative, I will fight to protect our beautiful home, and here's how:

My highest priority will be to give the Hays Trinity Groundwater Conservation District (HTGCD) full authority under Chapter 36 of the Texas Water Code. Right now, they are hamstrung by an inability to raise funds and therefore defend themselves if faced with a legal challenge. They are effectively toothless, and this is unacceptable for a water district that is responsible for our protecting and maintaining our local aquifer. I will introduce a bill to give the HTGCD that authority my first session in the legislature.

Other water conservation initiatives that I’ll pursue include: phasing in heightened standards for gray water reclamation and rainwater collection in new construction, incentivizing the retrofitting of existing homes for gray water use and rainwater collection, removing barriers to purple pipe use for municipal wastewater treatment plants (which would also encourage municipalities to not seek a discharge permit), giving counties more tools to direct development in relation to water use planning and water conservation standards.

Long-term, I want to encourage statewide scientific planning of water resources and work to replace the Rule of Capture with another model, such as the Rule of Reasonable Use or state-owned groundwater. This will be a long process and a hard conversation for our state, but it’s one we need to undertake to conserve our water resources long-term.

I'll also fight to protect our open space here in the Hill Country. In the early 2000s, our state parks, natural areas, wildlife management areas were severely underfunded, and some parks were at risk of being sold off. The legislature lifted the funding cap for Texas Parks in 2007, and since then we have not been at risk for losing our state parklands. I will be vigilant to make sure this situation doesn’t change, and I will work with our Congressional representatives to secure Land and Water Conservation Fund and Pittman-Robertson dollars to expand our state and local park systems to better serve our growing population and prevent the loss of open space. One thing we have in common here in House District 45 is that we all love the Hill Country. Let's work together to protect it.

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