A 22-year tradition: Leadership Denton travels to Austin

Bright and early on Thursday morning, 26 members of the Leadership Denton class, including Chamber President Chuck Carpenter, traveled to the state’s capital.

Once in Austin, the 2014 leadership class spent two days meeting with state elected officials, learning about current governmental issues and gaining a better understanding of Texas’ state government and history.

Leadership Denton class in front of the State Capitol

Denton Chamber of Commerce President Chuck Carpenter said the State Government Session in Austin has been a Leadership Denton tradition since 1991.

“You can’t recreate Texas Government 101,” Chuck said. ‘There is something awe inspiring about the capitol building and that synergy of being right there in Austin.”

After stopping at the Bob Bullock Texas History Museum and touring the capitol, the class met with Snapper Carr, a professional state-based lobbyist. Because of his connection to the City of Denton, Carr discussed the role of a lobbyist and potential bills that could have an impact on Denton.

Leadership Denton class in front of the Bob Bullock Texas History Museum

Dinner that evening not only consisted of a delicious meal at Serrano’s on Red River Street, but also a special treat of dining with Austin-based staff from all of Denton County’s six legislators.

State Representative Tan Parker made a surprise appearance at the restaurant and gave the class a personal presentation.

“Of all the places he could have been Thursday night, I appreciate that he chose to come be with us,” Chuck said.

Proposition 6 was a key topic of discussion the next morning.

This state-wide proposition, which was endorsed by the Denton Chamber of Board, has to do with providing a standing but ceilinged funding source for the state water plant.

If approved on Nov. 5, it would create a State Water Implementation Fund using $2 billion from Texas’ rainy-day account. Heather Harward, Executive Director of H2O for Texas, explained how this proposition could affect the Denton community.

Denton has part ownership of Lake Ray Roberts and a long-standing contract with the City of Dallas when it comes to the community water supply, but as the population continues to grow, Denton leaders need to look ahead.

After a presentation on the economic status of the state, the Leadership Denton class heard a final presentation from Kevin Cruser, Chief of Staff and General Counsel representing State Representative Myra Crownover’s office.

By noon on Friday, the class headed back to Denton.

Although they spent a little over 24 hours in Austin, the Leadership Denton class was able to gain first-hand knowledge from the state-elected officials while learning a little bit more about their state’s history.

The Denton Chamber of Commerce would like to thank Ramey King Insurance for sponsoring the State Government Session and Meridian Bank for hosting.

by: Brianna Vela

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