By GREG RUSSELL, Register Staff Writer
Gainesville Daily Register
Thursday’s Cooke County Republican Women meeting was host to District 68’s latest representative-elect.
Drew Springer [R-Muenster] said he’s recently traveled 12,000 miles throughout the district’s 22 counties to tell the public that in the coming months, he intends to spend time in Austin pushing for corrective legislation in the “four really big” areas of education, water, transportation and Medicaid.
Such legislation, he said, may reduce the federal government’s presence in those areas.
“At the end of the day — and what most of it is — is that we’re just tired of too much government,” Springer said Thursday, adding that he intends to serve the district from a new Gainesville office. “And from a state perspective, we’ve always complained about the federal government shoving all this stuff down on us. But you know what? The cities and counties are tired of the state shoving everything down on them and telling them what to do.”
As in past forums, Springer said his approach to the state’s public education system remains steeped in a theory that despite rigorous testing, the Texas school system neglects the truth that not all students are college material. He proposed bolstering the presence of vocational education programs. This way, Springer said, teenage students who feel discouraged from attending college and seeking “white collar” employment will at least remain in high school and not contribute to the state’s dropout rate. And having participated in vocational education progams such as welding and industrial arts, such graduates may be prompted to stay and work locally rather than seek employment in the Metroplex.
Springer added that the programs should be steered so that parents and students, not administrators, can make specific choices.
“We need to get back to where the control is,” he said.
Springer said recent drought conditions have triggered concern of water supplies in Texas.
He said he will soon collaborate with 19 representatives of regions in West Texas to discuss topics kindred to natural resources, population growth, agricultural needs and all the costs that follow.
Springer added, however, that despite his feeling that rural communities are more conservative with water than larger cities, rural residents still pay higher water-related taxes than urban residents, and this may not change soon.
“At the end of the day, I think we’re going to have to kick in some of the money to solve the state’s water problem,” he said.
Springer, who hit the Texas roads and drove all throughout District 68 during his campaign, said he used a car that gained 26 miles to the gallon rather than his original truck and its 13 miles per gallon. Such choices, he admitted, are common on a statewide basis and are leading to losses in fuel revenue that compromise the funding of road maintenance.
Springer said the Texas transportation issue is not “Republican versus Democrat”; it’s evidently more a matter of “urban versus rural.” Representatives of the former, he said, often seek more state funding to build more urban roadways to solve traffic congestion. But rural Texas representatives are more concerned with maintaining and expanding farm-to-market roads that already exist.
“FM 1630 doesn’t have a shoulder,” Springer said. “If you get off on the side and into that six-inch drop, you could flip your car getting back on. That doesn’t make you five minutes late to work; that’s whether you get there alive or not.”
Springer suggested that states set their own rules of Medicaid healthcare — an expense that now absorbs 22 percent of the national budget.
But the current healthcare format is just the opposite, he said, and as a result, some states are at a disadvantage.
“Texas has 10 percent of the people who are on Medicaid,” he said. “We give 8 percent of the taxes to the nation but we get only 6 percent of the taxes back. So we are a donor state to the rest of the union.”
Springer said the national hold on Medicaid is a violation of the “state’s rights” terms of 10th Amendment of the United States Constitution, and that the federal government should be sued for this violation.
He termed Medicaid “a horrific partnership with the federal government,” and added that many of the state’s partnerships with the federal goverment are equally horrific.
“I believe in smaller governments, and we need fewer regulations and ones that make more sense,” he told Thursday’s audience. “We have too many stupid regulations we have to live with, and I need your help to tell me what those are.”