BALLINGER - State Representative Drew Darby (R-San Angelo) made a special stop in Ballinger to give a legislative update during a lunch event at the Carnegie Library on Tuesday, Sept. 19.

BALLINGER - State Representative Drew Darby (R-San Angelo) made a special stop in Ballinger to give a legislative update during a lunch event at the Carnegie Library on Tuesday, Sept. 19.

Darby serves in District 72, which consists of nine counties including Runnels, Coke, Concho, Glasscock, Howard, Irion, Reagan, Sterling and Tom Green - an area larger than seven states.

Darby opened by saying that the 85th Legislative session was “a war cities, counties and businesses.”

On the budget, Darby said it was not easy, but they reached a compromise and passed a $217 billion biennium budget.

Darby pointed out that school districts and educators took a hit during this session because legislators were “pushing public dollars for private schools.”

“Which is a code word for vouchers,” Darby said.

He said even though the legislature led and effort to “demagogue cities,” with regard to property taxes - the unfunded mandates kept coming.

Darby said frankly, it became a “rural versus urban” fight in the legislature. And that ultimately, the urban areas win because of higher populations and more legislators.

“We got to a good point, but to get there we had to supplement tax dollars,” Darby said.

Darby is one of 19 state legislators who represent the land mass west Interstate 35.

“It’s not about R’s and D’s,” Darby said. “It’s about urban and rural.”

Texas has $12 billion in its economic stabilization fund (ESF) commonly referred to as the rainy day fund.

“The state took $12 billion and put it in a mattress,” Darby said, and that funding was earmarked to help the state recover from the slowdown in the oil and gas market.

But then Hurricane Harvey hit and now the funds from the Rainy Day fund will have to be used for recovery efforts on the coast.

“We had a $110 billion loss in productivity and about $73 million loss of personal income and we had 771,000 in man hours lost,” Darby explained.

This unexpected disaster, will require funds that were earmarked for oil and gas economy recovery and the funding for infrastructure and highways.

“You have to remember that 500 state highways were under water,” Darby said. “How timely we respond is key.

“We have 12 billion in the Rainy Day Fund and guess what? It’s raining,” Darby said,

Darby, is strong on education and said in the next session, he hopes to once again, to look at school finance and education issues.

“If we don’t give a quality education we will be a third world country,” Darby said.

The legislator urged the crowd to “weigh in on the next election cycle.”

“Get your friends to run at every level, work for them,” Darby said. “If we don’t we are going to lose this state - It is a critical time for this state.”

Darby, who owned Surety Title in Ballinger, is currently serving as chairman of the Energy Resources Committee, chairman of the Select Committee on State and Federal Power and Responsibility Committee and as a member of the Ways and Means Committee and Redistricting Committee. In previous sessions, Darby has served as a member of the Legislative Budget Board, the State Water Implementation Fund for Texas Advisory Committee and as a subcommittee chairman for the House Committee on Appropriations.