Local State Representative Patrick Rose (left, with Hays County Precinct 3 Commissioner Will Conley on Election Night), demonstrates the bipartisan spirit that has characterized his four terms in the legislature. Photo by Andy Sevilla.
By ANDY SEVILLA
The 81st session of the Texas Legislature is the fourth for local State Representative Patrick Rose (D-Dripping Springs), whose tenure pulls his attention towards statewide issues while his district keeps him rooted in local matters.
It also, apparently, has him rooted in the State House of Representatives. Asked if he will seek a fifth term in 2010 or seek higher office, Rose said he “will be seeking re-election for a fifth term” in the House because his influence will make him all the more effective as he gains seniority.
On the statewide front, Rose chairs the House Health and Human Services Committee for the second straight term. Through the committee, Rose is taking on a scandal at the Corpus Christi State school, where caretakers are alleged to have put on “fight club” battles between patients.
“These allegations are disgraceful and unacceptable,” Rose said.
Rose is sponsoring two bills – HB 1317 and HB 1589 – to address oversight issues related to state schools.
In addition, Rose serves on the House Higher Education Committee and is vice chair of the House Administration Committee.
Overall, Rose’s legislative agenda emphasizes health, human services, electric cooperatives, jobs, and education.
“Together we can put an end to check-book politics and return the state government to the people it is supposed to serve,” Rose said.
The matter of electric cooperatives runs local and statewide, considering Rose’s role in bringing about reforms at Pedernales Electric Cooperative (PEC), which has been changing under legal and legislative pressure for 18 months.
Rose said his aim is to bring “transparency and accountability” to the approximately three million people served by the cooperatives in Texas. He is pushing for cooperatives to comply with Open Meetings and Open Record statutes, and said he wants fair and democratic elections for the boards of directors. Rose said he wants all Texas cooperatives to submit annual audits to the Public Utility Commission of Texas for review.
“My job is to protect and fight for the people I serve,” Rose said.
Locally, Rose is compelled to address a desire by the Hays County Commissioners Court, among others, for more county authority. In addition, the status of the Hays Trinity Groundwater Conservation District (HTGCD) remains a matter of urgency in the views of western Hays County residents.
Rose spoke recently neither in support of nor in opposition to an initiative to give the HTGCD full Chapter 36 authority under the Texas Water Code. The Hays County commissioners recently passed a resolution purportedly seeking Chapter 36 authority, though the resolution added restricting conditions.
“We still have some questions,” Rose said of Chapter 36 authority for the HTGCD. “But we’re looking into it.”
Rose said he is working with State Senator Jeff Wentworth’s (R-San Antonio) office in search of solutions to the looming scarcity of water in Central Texas.
Rose also is working to provide counties with “ordinance making ability” that isn’t presently on the books. He said Hill Country counties need authority to regulate certain land use while imposing specific development fees and penalties. Rose said over-development is his motive for seeking greater county authority. County officials are working in conjunction with House members in support of the initiative.
Statewide, Rose will be the most influential on the Health and Human Services Committee he chairs. Rose said the State Children’s Health Insurance Program could be helping a lot more Texans. He said more than 600,000 uninsured children are eligible for the service. Rose said he is committed to educating the public on enrollment and will put forth energy to recruit those who are being underserved.
Rose added that he will fight for the aging population in Texas, as well as for individuals with intellectual and development disability. He said he will improve the care granted and will bring accountability in care facilities regulated by the state.
From his seat on the Higher Education Committee, Rose can work on the college tuition issue that hits locally at Texas State. Rose said efforts are ongoing to regulate tuition after it was deregulated in Texas in 2003. Since then, tuition at Texas State has risen by 74 percent, while tuition statewide has risen 58 percent, according to a Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board report. Rose said deregulated tuition negatively impacts the middle class.
Job creation is a major concern for Rose, who added that he is pursuing career and technology initiatives. He said the manufacturing industry in Texas is much needed and that the San Marcos Manufacturing Association is a “big partner” in supporting legislation to stimulate manufacturing. Rose said he also is committed to helping small businesses throughout the state.
“We have got to give small businesses money from our enterprise fund,” Rose said. “We have to help them survive in these hard times.”
Rose was elected to his fourth term in Novembe to serve a district that takes in Hays, Blanco and Caldwell Counties. He has authored or joint authored about 80 bills for this session.Email | Print