Notes & Noticias: Texas Families First

This week, I presented my two Community Schools bills to the Committee on Public Education. My bills would allow Texas to adopt the nationally recognized Community Schools model, which uses a “bottom-up” approach to engage the entire community in the success of its local students.
Volunteers come to community schools to support young people’s academic, interpersonal and career success. Individual schools and the school system work in partnership with community agencies to operate these unique institutions. Families, students, principals, teachers and neighborhood residents decide together how to support student learning.
During the hearing, testimony was positive and there was a wide range of support from school administrators, school board members and superintendents, the business community, nonprofit leaders, students and teachers. I look forward to seeing my bills wind their way successfully through the Legislature to make Community Schools not just an idea but a reality for Texas students.

Opening Our Roads

I also laid out a bill that would allow Tesla to sell its electric vehicles in Texas. Under current state law, new vehicles can only be sold through a franchised dealership. This outdated way of buying cars denies Texans access to breakthrough automotive technology and inhibits the free market principles of our Texas economy. As I said during my testimony, the future is here. It’s time to make room in Texas for Tesla and other small manufacturers.

Feeding Our Families

Texas ranks high for food hunger in the nation. This is unacceptable because it is preventable. That is why I presented two bills before the House Committee on Agriculture and Livestock yesterday that are intended to increase access to healthy foods for underserved communities and our children.
House Bill 1616 seeks to establish a pilot program to promote the purchase of healthy foods and offer additional benefits to SNAP/WIC recipients as an incentive to purchase healthy food at farmers markets through public-private partnerships, grants or donations.
House Bill 3290 would start a pilot program that incentivizes and assists school districts to locally source healthy food options from regional farms for their cafeterias.

Engaging Our Community

On Saturday, I hosted a town hall in a classroom at Travis High School, where we discussed property taxes, guns on college campuses, border security and other hot topics being debated in the Capitol. Then, I walked over to the school gym where I teamed up with National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO), Education Austin and other civic groups to host a citizenship drive in the high school gym. Many permanent residents came to fill out the long applications with volunteers to finally become U.S. citizens.


Eddie Rodriguez