Build East Texas (BETX, pronounced bee-tex) is an East Texas not-for-profit corporation. Because we cannot rely on national or state government to address the challenges facing East Texas, BETX is committed to community dialogue and local solutions. The Texas economy is strong, but most growth is concentrated in metropolitan areas. Rural areas, like East Texas, have an opportunity to reverse this trend. Working together, we can address the factors that contribute to our children and grandchildren relocating to larger cities for education and employment. BETX is committed to finding local solutions to local challenges in the following areas:
Education. It is essential that all children have access to quality public education. State funding in Texas for public schools has dropped dramatically as a percentage of total cost over the last 30 years, dropping from more than 60% in the 80s to less than 40% today (see). Local communities have struggled to fill this gap. This trend needs to be reversed.
Infrastructure. We need to develop and maintain public infrastructure, including roads, rail, and broadband. Ease of movement and connectivity will enable East Texas communities to attract and retain residents and businesses.
Healthcare. Access to healthcare is a critical quality-of-life issue for East Texas residents. Rural hospitals are facing significant economic challenges (see). Medicaid expansion under the ACA would help alleviate some of this pressure (see). We need to find a way to protect and fund hospitals and other healthcare institutions in East Texas communities.
Economic development. BETX is committed to economic development that benefits individual residents, small and local businesses, and our local communities. We need to support and expand current economic development efforts (see, see).
BETX is non-partisan and works to build broad community-based support for initiatives in these core areas. Effectively addressing challenges in these areas will require consensus-based leadership and effective public policy. BETX is committed to the following principles in government:
- Broad representation. Elected representatives should strive to represent all citizens, regardless of group or party affiliation.
- Expertise, experience, and competence. Good government requires expertise, experience, and competence, and public policy should be grounded in existing knowledge and available data. What's good for the community should be valued over ideology and partisanship.
- Responsible stewardship. Elected representatives should strive to preserve and improve public institutions and other public goods, including the natural environment, for future generations.
- Personal integrity and commitment to the public good. Elected representatives and other leaders should demonstrate discipline, restraint, and honesty in their personal conduct and should advocate for openness, transparency, and accountability at all levels of government.
Download a BETX flyer here.