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Tue. Jun 18th, 2024

Rogers rebels after being kicked out of Austin; Texas representative vows to continue water, voter support | Mineral wells

By meerna Jun12,2024

GRAFORD — Grasshoppers shot out from a field of Indian blankets, black-eyed Susans and native grasses as Texas Rep. Glenn Rogers recently piloted a four-wheeled vehicle through his ranch on Grassy Ridge Road.

“Some years the grasshoppers are so bad you have to wear safety glasses,” he told the visitor, and then turned into a forest of mostly live oaks and native pecans, descending the hill into a green tunnel that ran along the east bank of the Brazos River. Post Oak Bend .

By the time he notices that there are no post oak trees along Post Oak Bend, he reaches a section where the river has turned glass.

Rogers knows about the piece of Texas that his great-great-grandfather Tank Holt acquired in 1906 in exchange for the Colonial Hotel, which he built in Mineral Wells after arriving in Palo Pinto County.

Like most large landowners in Texas, Rogers considers it impolite to discuss how many acres he owns.

“It’s not big by Texas standards,” he says. “But it’s not small.”

This is, in the words of his district superintendent, Gary Norman, Rogers’ happy place.

It’s the best seat for the 68-year-old Republican, who will run Grassy Ridge through 2024, the remainder of his term.

“Whatever my constituents need between now and January, we are here to help,” he said. “And, honestly, if they need help in Austin later.”

But unlike the garden variety politician, Rogers isn’t promising a comeback.

“I have no intention of running again,” he said, comparing his political life to his beloved Aggies sluggers. “So I had three extremely difficult races where (Farris) Wilkes and (Tim) Dunn threw a lot of money at me and we are two out of three. So we won the series.”

He feels he is in good company.

Rogers was among the rural Republicans who thwarted a plan by West Texas oil workers and Gov. Greg Abbott to introduce state vouchers into the public education funding formula.

This was the second attack.

Rogers also joined 60 House Republicans in voting to impeach GOP Attorney General Ken Paxton based on the evidence. Paxton used his office to sideline a federal investigation into a friend and donor.

Abbott wasn’t happy about this and turned his campaign war chest against pro-impeachment and anti-voucher GOP officials. Abbott’s candidates were not overwhelmingly successful in the Paxton case, but they won on vouchers.

Rogers lost on both occasions. His successor, Rep.-elect Mike Olcott of Aledo, had the support of the governor and billionaires and won the endorsement of former President Donald Trump.

“Trump cannot identify Mike Olcott in the lineup,” Rogers said.

Olcott strongly supported vouchers.

“This was the most important election in public school history, and we didn’t do very well,” Rogers said, adding that he supports the governor’s agenda on everything but vouchers, including Abbott’s Operation Lone Star border campaign. “The governor lied, he knew I couldn’t be attacked with vouchers, so he attacked me, saying I was weak at the border. “I am very proud of the legislation and the vote to allocate more money than ever before to border security.”

The 1978 Aggie graduate said he is now concerned that the state party under Abbott has moved away from its conservative North Star.

“We have reached a new Rubicon in the way we operate in the governor’s office, and in my opinion it defiles the governor’s office,” he said. “And that’s disappointing. … Personally, I’m in a better situation, but I’m disappointed with public schools. I am disappointed with the progress of representative government.

“We will look back on this era in history and be amazed at what we allowed to happen. But having said that, it has been a great honor and privilege to be a state representative.”

Rogers outlined a list of conservative victories he helped achieve – open carry of firearms, the (then) most restrictive abortion ban in the country, the largest-ever property tax cut, a ban on transgender boys participating in girls’ sports and a $1 billion new water allocation.

The latter position reflects the passion that Rogers says he brings to his private life as a gentleman rancher.

A bill signed by Rogers during the 2023 legislative session would create the Stephens-Palo Pinto-Parker Counties Alliance to leverage state resources to ensure drought-stricken, growing House District 60 has water security.

His Cross Timbers Regional Utilities Authority bill passed the House unopposed. But of the 168 House bills sent to the Senate after the session ended, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick did not assign them to a committee.

Rogers planned to change the bill again during the 2025 legislative session, this time holding public hearings with voters in the meantime.

There’s not much point in it now.

The Weatherford Democrat Several attempts to contact the Olcott campaign via email and phone calls asking for its thoughts on water security were unsuccessful.

“Since I can’t pass any legislation,” Rogers said, “it’s a moot point. I put a lot of effort into getting on the Natural Resources Committee, and we’ve made significant progress in developing a regional approach.

“Unfortunately, politics intervened and lies were written about this bill.”

There, he was referring to a vote led by Arlington Republican Rep. Tony Tinderholt, who argued that the eminent domain element limited to pipeline rights of way in the bill threatened private wells.

During this time, Rogers hosted a water summit at the Crazy Water Hotel in Mineral Wells, in part to present the Cross Timbers proposal.

“And then I left the meeting and there were protesters outside,” he recalled. “It was just frustrating. But this disinformation was intentional. The creators of these lies should be held accountable for what they have done.”

Water will remain on the rancher’s (and retired veterinarian’s) agenda as he enjoys his red Angus herd on Grassy Ridge.

“We will remain engaged and concerned and will do everything we can to ensure water availability in this area,” he said.

This seems a natural attitude for a resident of Palo Pinto County, whose bona fide Texas ancestry descends from Fannin County Rep. Dr. Edwin Clay Rogers, who served in the Fifth Congress of the Republic of Texas.

According to family lore, Dr. Rogers once used Rogers magic on Sam Houston’s ear.

“I don’t know what Sam had in his ear,” Rogers confessed, but he was sure it wasn’t the billionaire’s voice.

By meerna

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