|Polk County Enterprise - Local News
Stories Added - March 2009
Copyright 2008 - Polk County Publishing Company
Brady makes Livingston whistle stop
Polk County Enterprise - March 2009
LIVINGSTON – Rep. Kevin Brady (R-The Woodlands) and his offi ce staffers rolled into town Thursday to listen to the cares and concerns of local leaders and residents. Brady held an hour long public forum at Courthouse Whistlestop Cafe where he discussed everything from Hurricane Ike relief to tribal gaming. Livingston Mayor Clarke Evans asked the fi rst question, inquiring about additional funds from the federal government for restoration following Ike. Brady said that the fi rst allocations from Housing and Urban Development (HUD) had gone out and that requests had already been submitted for the second round of funding. Brady also said that he feels the state is keeping too much of the relief funds for overhead costs and he would like to see that money make its way to the community. Polk County Sheriff Kenneth Hammack wanted to know Brady’s thoughts about the recently passed stimulus bill. “I’m not a big fan of the stimulus bill,” he replied. Brady said that he had voted against it and worked against it and was upset that they didn’t have a chance to read the 1,000 page document before being asked to vote on it. “In fact, they had a gag rule so we couldn’t ask for parts of it to be read on the house fl oor so the American public would know what was in it,” he said. “You’re spending $800 billion of the public’s money – that we don’t have – and you ought to be able to know what’s in it.” Brady said that while there were good things in the package there is too much frivolous spending. He felt that congress could have done a much better job with a smaller package that actually created jobs this year. “There’s $2.7 billion of infrastructure money in there for Texas for highways and transportation but I don’t know how the state will allocate it. Some of it will go to the Deep East Texas Council of Governments (DETCOG), there’s money for schools but it will go through the formula for schools and most will end up in Austin, but it’s not going to help the economy,” Brady said. Brady complained that there is more money in the stimulus bill to buy art than there is to help small businesses create jobs. “I love art, but Main Street needs help. This bill is so large that we would have to double everyone’s income taxes in America to pay for this bill – literally, double everything you send to Washington – so it’s small businesses and middle class families who are going to suffer.” Brady spoke about the “rude awakening” that President Barack Obama has gotten as he realized that his own party was fi ghting against a smaller jobs-based bill for one catering to special interests, earmarks and special projects. “In fact, we’re gonna rain cash down all across America, so if you’ve got a bucket here in the restaurant hold it out the window – you’ll catch something.” Mayor Evans asked Brady about the recent “paranoia about gun and ammunition control,” saying he had never seen anything like it. “You go to [the store] and the shelves are empty and you can’t buy ammunition. What kind of feeling do you have coming out of Washington on that?” Brady said he does think there is going to be an effort in congress to increase gun control but isn’t sure what form that effort may take. “I don’t know if it will be this year but I can guarantee you it is coming down the pike, so we’re going to have to fight for Second Amendment rights pretty hard. I just don’t know yet what target they’re going to draw and how they’re going to go after it,” said Brady. Polk County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Byron Lyons questioned Brady about the dissolution of drug task forces by the federal government. “About five years ago they came in and shut them all down if they couldn’t support themselves and they allocated that money to the states. Unfortunately, the state of Texas can’t or hasn’t hired enough narcotics agents to come back and fill those voids left when the money was taken away and it’s an injustice to now send that money to Mexico to fight their drug war,” said Lyons. Brady admitted that federal money is being used to support the Merida Initiative which helps the Mexican government buy weapons, equipment, and helicopters to work with the U.S. in the war on drugs. However, he said that he and others had argued against the bill saying that if we were going to send money to Mexico then we needed to allocate $2 for every $1 spent there. Brady asked Lyons about trends in drug trafficking and use and Lyons told him that they haven’t changed since law enforcement hasn’t changed. “It’s like the radar detector – they come up with our frequency and then we change to another and they figure that one out and so on. With narcotics they figure out how to hide it and we figure out how to find it, they figure out how to get it across the border and we find and close that hole, but technology is the biggest gap. We’re out-gunned, out-monied – when it comes to ammunition, money and technology they have the best and we scrape around trying to put things together to keep up. As Brady was wrapping up, Tina Battise from the Alabama- Coushatta Tribe of Texas asked what he thought about gaming issues. Brady laughed that he was hoping to get out of the room before that came up. “I’m not a big fan of the gaming, and we’ve had many discussions with our tribal leaders about it and didn’t shut the door completely. However, you have an agreement with the state that part of your recognition as a tribe is that you would not have gaming. You need to go back and re-negotiate with the state and agree on what that can be. And you’ve done that with legislation, now let’s see what happens next,” said Brady. Brady said he believes gambling creates a false economy which discourages other types of economic development from being pursued and other types of jobs from being created.