Senator Tommy Williams
P.O. Box 12068, State Capitol
Austin, Texas 78711
Tel. (512) 463-0104

October 26, 2005
Contact: Damon Withrow (512) 463-0104

Senate Finance Committee to Meet in Beaumont on Hurricane Costs

In response to requests from Southeast Texas senators, the Texas Senate Finance Committee will hold a special public hearing at Lamar University's John Gray Center on November 17 at 9 a.m. to explore the potential impact of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita on the state budget.

The Committee expects to hear invited testimony from FEMA, state agencies, and local officials from the region. The agenda will also include time for public testimony.

Senator Tommy Williams applauded Chairman Ogden's willingness to hold a rare Finance Committee hearing outside Austin. "I am grateful for my colleagues' sincere concern about the impact area, and for their eagerness to visit our area first-hand," said Williams.

Senator Kyle Janek, who also serves as a member of the Finance Committee and represents flood-damaged Port Arthur, expressed his appreciation to his colleagues. "I am glad my fellow senators recognize the importance of holding this hearing in Southeast Texas. It will be an excellent opportunity for them to gain a first-hand understanding of the devastation brought by Hurricane Rita and the hurdles Southeast Texans face to restore their way of life," said Janek.

With the response to Hurricane Rita ongoing, Williams stressed that the purpose of this meeting is not to study the success or failure of procedures related to disaster response, but rather to get an immediate idea of what costs may impact the State of Texas. "The Lieutenant Governor and Chairman Ogden have given me every confidence that Lamar and other public entities incurring storm related costs in Southeast Texas will not be left holding the bag," added Williams.

First elected in 1996 to the Texas House of Representatives, Tommy Williams was later elected to the Senate in 2002 and re-elected in 2004. He represents Senate District 4, covering all or portions of Montgomery, Harris, Liberty, Chambers, Jefferson and Orange counties. Williams serves as Vice Chairman of the State Affairs Committee and as a member of the Senate Criminal Justice, Education and Finance committees