By Megan Whitworth
Dozens of community members attended an open house and ribbon cutting at Rep. Ernest Bailes’ district office in Shepherd on Thursday, July 13 to celebrate his recent membership to the Chamber of Commerce in both Shepherd and Coldspring.
“It was great to have a big showing of support from the community and throughout the district, and to let everybody come and see the office,” Bailes said, “and meet the rest of the staff that came in from Austin.”
The newly-elected representative for District 18 also addressed approximately 40 teachers and administrators from Coldspring-Oakhurst Consolidated ISD and Shepherd ISD at the Jones Educational Complex the same day as the open house. Topics discussed included “The Simple Facts” – an update on the 85th Legislative Session and the upcoming Special Session that began on Tuesday, July 18.
There are multiple items on the agenda Governor Greg Abbott outlined to be discussed at the special ssession, including approving a $1,000 pay raise for public school teachers.
Bailes said public education has always been an issue he is passionate about.
“Public education has always been a real important factor we try to make sure of,” Bailes said. “A lot of the legislation from the state level loses sight on our rural school districts, and it’s hard to fit in the one size fits all with the legislation. So we try to make sure we have a mouth piece to help represent our rural schools so that we can take care of the kids here back in the district.”
Bailes also encouraged community members to reach out to his office to share their opinions and beliefs.
“It’s important to hear from you guys,” Bailes said. “We don’t know what to put on the radar unless you let us know.
“I really appreciate all the help and all of the support, and we need that,” he said. “I appreciate the number of people who reached out to both myself and my office during session so that we could find out what piece of legislation was most important to them so that we could make sure that we’re doing our part to help represent their needs.”
In addition to his capitol office in Austin and district office in Shepherd, Bailes also announced he will have a satellite office in Walker County at the HEARTS Veterans Museum on the first and third Wednesdays of the month, and at the Liberty County Courthouse on the second and fourth Tuesdays. The office number in Austin is 512-463-0570, and in Shepherd it is 936-628-6687.