Last week, House Speaker Joe Straus assigned House members to committees and announced the committee chairs for 38 standing committees and two select committees.

Committees are an essential part of the legislature. Each committee stays focused on a specific area of policy for the duration of the legislative session. Every piece of legislation that is submitted for consideration must be referred to a committee. Committees are responsible for reviewing and discussing the merits of each bill that is referred to their specific committee.

I was thrilled to learn the Speaker appointed me to be the Chair on the House Committee on Higher Education and a member on the House Committee of Environmental Regulation.

The Higher Education committee is made up of nine members, including myself. The committee will have jurisdiction over all matters pertaining to education beyond high school, the colleges and universities of the State of Texas and six state agencies that include the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. This is a great opportunity to work closely with Texas A&M University-Kingsville, Coastal Bend Community College, Del Mar College and every institution of higher education in Texas.

I'm also one of nine members on the Environmental Regulation committee.

This committee will have jurisdiction over pollution issues, waste disposal, regulation of industrial development and oversight of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. Many constituents in my district deal with these types of issues every day.

I will work diligently to make sure the opinions and priorities of my constituents are expressed when the Environmental Regulation committee considers any legislation.