By Stephanie Flemmons, Staff Writer
(Created: Friday, August 29, 2008 11:24 AM CDT)
With the 81st Texas Legislative Session nearing, State Rep. Jerry Madden (R-Plano) decided to reach out to his constituents in order to gain insight.
“The intent is to first get feedback from constituents,” Madden said. “I want to gather what they are interested in, what they want and what they don’t want.”
Madden said during the 81st Legislature he believes there will be many challenges, including the Texas economy, transportation which includes both highway construction and public transportation, water issues, immigration, voter identification, taxation and many others.
“I have prepared this survey as a means of gathering your input on the important issues coming to the front for the upcoming 81st Legislature,” Madden said in a letter addressed to District 67 constituents. “I am your Representative and as such I need to know your collective opinions on these issues to better represent you. This coming year I expect to cast more than 4,000 votes as your Representative in Austin and it is my goal to use your input to make a truly representative vote on each issue.”
Madden said the survey has brought many issues to the surface, but three issues have received numerous responses.
Madden said he learned constituents are passionate about voters showing photo identification at the polling places prior to being allowed to vote.
“This is something we had at the Texas House level, but it died,” Madden said.
District 67 constituents are also passionate about illegal immigrants who commit crimes.
Out of 492 responses, 418 people believe we should eliminate sanctuary cities (cities that protect illegal immigrants) where immigration status of someone arrested is not checked by law enforcement. Furthermore, 462 out of the 492 responses believe the state should require counties to check the immigration status of all individuals charged with a felony.
“Illegal immigrants convicted of a felony who have served time in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice are deported after they serve their time,” Madden said. “We are worried about illegal immigrants who commit lesser felonies and are serving probation. We want to develop a process to deal with those individuals.”
Madden said he plans to take this first-time survey and utilize the responses to help voice their opinions to the legislatures. He said he hopes to gain insight for ideas on potential legislation.
“Some want me to do one thing and some want the complete opposite,” Madden said. “For some bills I won’t be the major writer, but I still want the constituent feedback.”
Madden believes it is important for District representatives to be available to their constituents.
Madden is setting up focus groups where volunteers meet to discuss specific areas of interest including economy, job development, taxation, water issues, transportation, education K-12, higher education, criminal justice and immigration.
For information on focus groups or to participate in the survey, visit www.jerrymadden.org.
Madden said he will try to answer any questions by phone, email or internet.
“Please give us your contact information so that I can discuss these issues with you,” Madden said in a press release. “I thank you for the honor of serving you and Texas. It is a great privilege to represent all of the citizens of District 67.”
Contact Stephanie Flemmons at firstname.lastname@example.org.