Columns

Readers share many tales of internet woe

CAPITAL HIGHLIGHTS Rural Texans have a lot to say about the lack of broadband service in their communities. Since we covered the topic earlier this month, many readers have emailed to share their stories and pleas for help. An example is the email from reader Kathryn Steuart of Freestone County, who reads the column in…

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Local, state leaders battle COVID surge, each other

CAPITAL HIGHLIGHTS Texas topped 1 million COVID-19 cases as some counties reimposed restrictions that had been loosened after this summer’s spike. Particularly hard-hit El Paso extended its temporary shutdown of nonessential businesses, but the Texas Eighth Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 Friday to block County Judge Ricardo Samaniego’s order. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, Gov.…

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It has been a priviledge to serve

HURD ON THE HILL After serving in the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) for nine years, I left a job I loved and was good at to meet what I believed to be a need for new leadership in Congress on intelligence and national security matters. I wanted to help the Intelligence Community by bringing my…

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Rural Texas struggles with digital divide

If broadband is a lifeline, then rural Texas is in danger of dying. In its first report to the Texas Legislature, the Governor’s Broadband Development Council called for the creation of a state broadband plan and a state broadband office. Texas is one of six states without a plan for enhancing broadband access. The pandemic…

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It’s not just Election Day any longer

CAPITAL HIGHLIGHTS For most Texans, Election Day is a misnomer. More Texans voted early this year than cast their ballots during all of the 2016 general election. Many more voted early than went to the polls on Election Day. A record 9.7 million people, or 57% of registered voters, completed their civic duty during the…

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Securing America’s online prescence

HURD ON THE HILL Cybersecurity affects our everyday lives – including everything from virtual learning and working from home to managing election security. As a graduate of Texas A&M University in Computer Science, a former cybersecurity entrepreneur and former Chair of the House IT Subcommittee, one of my highest policy priorities in Congress has been…

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Amazon goes big in Texas

CAPITAL HIGHLIGHTS Amazon delivered good economic news, announcing plans for a 700,000-square-foot distribution center and warehouse in Waco. Gov. Greg Abbott and other state officials heralded the plan to bring up to 1,000 workers to Central Texas at a starting wage of $15 an hour. The online retailing giant previously announced other expansions in Texas,…

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On its fresh frontier

A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE I attended a brief ceremony on a bridge last week, where a cluster of county officials and some emergency responders, family and friends gathered in the bright morning light to cut a ribbon for one of the region’s most longed-for developments, the Cotulla truck bypass loop. Some people argue that…

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Accusations rock Attorney General’s office

CAPITAL HIGHLIGHTS Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is battling back against seven top aides who accuse him of bribery and abuse of office. The aides delivered the accusations in a letter to the agency’s human resources director. The Austin American-Statesman and KVUE-TV obtained and first published the letter. The Houston Chronicle and other media outlets…

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Irving company pivots to green energy

CAPITAL HIGHLIGHTS Vistra, an energy powerhouse based in Irving, announced plans to achieve net-zero carbon dioxide emissions by 2050. A key part of that plan is a capital investment of $1.15 billion by 2022 on solar and storage projects in California and Texas. The company also plans to close coal-fire energy plants in Illinois and…

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