from the Office of State Senator Craig Estes, District 30

For Immediate Release
March 9, 2009
Contact: Jody Withers
(512) 463-0130

Senate Committee on Agriculture and Rural Affairs – Opening Remarks by State Senator Craig Estes, Chairman

Austin, TX — State Senator Craig Estes (R-Wichita Falls) made the following remarks to open the first public hearing of the newly appointed Senate Committee on Agriculture and Rural Affairs.

"I want to welcome my colleagues and the public to the first meeting of the new Senate Committee on Agriculture and Rural Affairs. First, I want to thank the Lieutenant Governor for his emphasis on the issues we face as a committee by restoring the Senate Agriculture Committee to full committee status. I am humbled by his trust, and I promise to do my best in the best interests of Texas.

"I know we all take our role and responsibility very seriously. In addition to reviewing the several bills filed for this Session, this committee will be proactive in dealing with agriculture and rural affairs issues, and I invite the members of this committee to bring forward their ideas on how to improve our agricultural economy and better the lives of not just rural Texans, but all Texans.

"With the cooperation of my colleagues, I intend to ask this Committee to investigate the recent outbreak of salmonella traced to a unlicensed peanut plant in west Texas. It is not my intention to oversee a witch-hunt or play the blame game. My primary concern and goal is to review the facts and find ways to prevent this from happening again to not only protect the safety of the public, but the integrity of our agricultural economy.

"As we move through these public hearings in reviewing the bills before this committee, it is my intention to follow a process to leave bills pending to be voted on as the first item of business at the next meeting of our Committee. I believe this process will provide the members with time to consider carefully the testimony received verbally or in writing during our public hearings. Toward the end of Session, we may revise this policy.

"And, now, I would be happy to yield the microphone to any other members who wish to make any comments before we continue with our proceedings."

Senator Estes is Chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Rural Affairs, and represents Senate District 30 covering Archer, Baylor, Clay, Collin (part), Cooke, Denton (part), Grayson, Jack, Montague, Parker, Palo Pinto, Shackelford, Stephens, Throckmorton, Wichita, Wilbarger, Wise, and Young counties.