Hurd on the Hill: Fighting for Rural Communities

September 4, 2018
Hurd on the Hill: Local Columns
Increasing access to quality services across South and West Texas

Do you ever need to make a phone call, but can’t get cell service? Or need to see a doctor, but the closest physician who can provide the care you need is over a hundred miles away? Unfortunately, these are real burdens that hundreds of thousands of folks I represent in rural South and West Texas experience each day and the reason why I continue to fight for increased access to vital services for all constituents, no matter where they live.

In today’s increasingly connected world, we can have the power to access information at our fingertips. However, today’s innovative technologies aren’t useful if you can’t get cell service, WiFi or reliable electricity. That’s why it’s been a top priority of mine in Congress to increase access to rural broadband and dependable utility services across Texas.  In fact, this year Congress has provided $625 million to increase and expedite rural broadband projects. I am proud to have supported this funding, as well as, to support legislation that would improve the delivery of telecommunication serves to long distance and rural consumers. Additionally, since my election to Congress, I have consistently called on appropriators to fund the Rural Utility Service Loan program, ensuring rural areas have dependable and up to date electricity. This year, we provided $6.9 billion for rural electric and telephone infrastructure loans and $3 billion for rural water and waste management program loans.

Across our district’s 29 counties and two time zones, access to quality, affordable healthcare can be problematic for many. This is why I serve as a strong voice in Congress for the 39 community health clinics in TX23 which serve roughly 220,000 constituents in rural and underserved communities, more than any other Congressional District in Texas. In fact, I have helped community health centers in our district receive more than $30 million in federal grants so they can continue their work, and am proud to have received the 2018 Community Health Center Defender Award, the 2017 Distinguished Health Advocate Award and the 2016 Rising Community Health Center Leader Award for my continued support in Congress.

Expanding access to healthcare, broadband and reliable utility services are just some of the ways I am committed to fighting for rural Texans. I have a dedicated team that works hard from San Antonio, Fort Stockton, Eagle Pass, Del Rio, Socorro and everywhere between to serve you. As always, please do not hesitate to reach out to my office if there’s anything we can assist with at (210) 921-3130 or at hurd.house.gov.