For the first time since 2019, a delegation of around 70 people from Amarillo and surrounding communities will visit the state capitol in Austin for Panhandle Days. There is a list of priorities for the 88th session, and securing funding against other regions of the state is a competitive process.
“Sometimes we feel like we're out on an island up in the Texas Panhandle,” said Sherman Bass, film commissioner for Amarillo CVB
“It’s about tourism, it’s about transportation, economic development, it’s about getting in front of them and making sure they know our priorities,” said Jason Harrison, CEO/President of Amarillo Chamber of Commerce.
Business and community leaders will have the chance to meet face-to-face with state leaders to explain why projects like the Route 66 Centennial Celebration and the expansion of amenities at Palo Duro Canyon State Park are just as important as other projects in big cities throughout the state.
“What happens is, is that a lot of the priorities go there first and they get the money and the get the perks of it and what’s important is that we from the Panhandle, from West Texas are down there pushing for our piece of the pie,” said Harrison.
Agriculture in the Texas Panhandle is seeking funding for infrastructure upgrades and training for engineers who are working on research as the region suffers through drought and rising costs to put seed in the ground.
“Our biggest challenge is going to be our input costs and the low commodity prices for say cotton,” said Ryan Wieck, farmer. “Producers will probably be more cautious of how they irrigate and what irrigated acres they have this year.”
“It is an outstanding investment to not only get the panhandle and our issues in front of our legislators, but to stay in touch with them outside of the home office,” said Bass.
Once the delegation returns from Austin and they come back here to the Texas Panhandle the next trip will be to Washington D.C. in April of 2024, and already plans are in place to meet with state and national leaders at various events in the nation’s capital.
Texas Tech will visit the capitol on March 1. The Alumni Association along with students and faculty will visit as the school is celebrating its centennial anniversary.