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The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service in District 12 hosted its annual Continuing Education Conference for County Judges and Commissioners in December at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Laredo, at which members of the La Salle County government were in attendance.
Approximately 35 county judges and commissioners were welcomed by Texas Senator Judith Zaffirini, who spoke about the importance of unity and the need for all officials, regardless of their party, to voice their concerns and engage in the legislative process during the upcoming session.
Attending from La Salle County were Commissioners Erasmo Ramirez, Raul Ayala, Joaquin Alba and Noel Niavez.
A wide range of topics of special interest to South Texas officials was covered, including rural development grants through USDA, border security updates provided by DPS, and the status of water in the Rio Grande Basin and reservoirs. The afternoon session provided attending court members with a summary of resolutions that will be advanced by county government by Jim Allison and include opposition to unfunded mandates, funding for state prisons, including resources for mental health issues among the incarcerated, funding for county roads, and local governance issues among many others.
A four-agency panel that included the Texas A&M Forest Service, TEEX, TDEM, and Texas A&M AgriLife provided resources in emergency management and training available to counties before, during, or after a disaster. The final session focused on upcoming funding opportunities through the Infrastructure Investment and Job Act, which infuse large amounts of funding for local communities.
The conference offered six continuing education units approved by the County Judges and Commissioners Association of Texas, but attendees noted that the principal attractions were the information and networking the event provides. “County elected officials are so busy with day-to-day duties,” La Salle County AgriLife Extension Agent Victoria Wilson said, “and this conference is often the only opportunity they get to meet their counterparts in other counties and build relationships that one day may be of huge benefit if they ever have to call on each other for support or assistance.”
The conference is organized by the District 12 office of the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service located in Weslaco. Extension agents in District 12 also serve as committee members to plan and assist with the event.
The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service is an educational state agency supported in part by county government. The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service is part of the Texas A&M University System, and is home to the VG Young Institute for County Government.