Standing in the chambers of the Texas House of Representatives and Senate, county and city officials gain a sense of history and the pioneer spirit that built our great state of Texas.

Such was the case this past week as city and county officials gathered in Austin for the annual Jim Wells County Days at the state capitol. State Rep. J.M. Lozano and State Sen. Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa hosted the officials and other civic representatives from our area, while the Alice Chamber and its Ambassadors were sponsors.

This day of special recognition is designed to acquaint the state's top elected and key appointed agency officials with the many assets and needs of Jim Wells and Alice, and to increase the visibility and image of the area.

The joint program between the county, city and chamber is a positive opportunity to lobby for legislation and projects that would be beneficial to the progress of our entities and for all officials to interact and gain insight on each others needs and priorities. It is a beneficial exchange of ideas between all officials on important legislation and state plans.

But it is more. It offers local delegates and members a greater insight into the legacies they represent and sometimes don't fully utilize to advance opportunities. Our region has a rich history of agricultural and oil interests and background. They have served to build the industrial model that benefited our growth and financial strength for many years. Likewise we have exceptional cultural history of Tejano music that has brought much attention to Alice and Jim Wells.

Another interesting moment occurred when the city officials and Rep. Lozano were joined by a state house member who is also the great grandson of former Governor Coke Stephenson, who was a principal of the famous Ballot Box 13 election incident that pushed winner Lyndon B. Johnson towards the U.S. Presidency and brought national spotlight to the role of the notorious Parr political machine. 

Jim Wells County Day reminds all of us that we have a colorful history and proud foundation here, and that merging the past with the present can move us towards even brighter future directions.