Branick: We’re not a bunch of parrot heads

Published 6:00 am Sunday, July 1, 2018

BEAUMONT — The Jefferson County Commissioners will hold court at an earlier time Monday. The commissioners agreed to move the time up to 10 a.m. so they could tend to other business, Jefferson County Judge Jeff Branick said.

During commissioners’ court, the Beaumont Chamber of Commerce will give remarks about the county’s work on Navigating the Neches Legislative Tour and the Hotel Occupancy Tax grant.

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“Navigating the Neches was a great experience and I think it will be bigger and better the next time,” Branick said. “Senator (Eddie) Lucio was down here and asked if I would come speak to his committee and the area.

Branick said South East Texas did not receive the same support from the rest of the state following Hurricane Rita the way New Orleans did following Hurricane Katrina.

“In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans was so important to the economic well being of Louisiana that the entire state came together and pushed,” he said. “Because of that, they got a tremendous amount of disaster recovery money. They have been able to armor their shorelines and do a lot work.

“Three weeks later, Rita hit with just as much damage here, and we didn’t see that. One of the reasons is the legislators out in Amarillo, Lubbock and El Paso have a vision of people living along the coast as being a bunch of Jimmy Buffet look-a-likes walking around in cutoffs, flip flops and drinking Landshark beer. I don’t think they recognize how important our area is for providing the energy needs for the United States.

“When the Hotel Occupancy Tax became a reality in Jefferson County, Judge (Carl) Griffith was in office and he agreed that each city had a representative that would decide where the money went, subject to approval by the Commissioners’ Court. Anything that fostered tourism is eligible to apply for money. Normally about $1 million dollars is collected each year.”

Branick said the rest of the agenda was fairly small and should move quickly because of the early time and being before a holiday.