DRC hosts four members of Congress for panel conversation

By Catie George, Manager, Communications and Storytelling

The Dallas Regional Chamber (DRC) hosted its 18th annual Congressional Forum, presented by Ryan LLC, Tuesday, Aug. 8, at The Fairmont Dallas, in front of a sold-out crowd of more than 300 of the Dallas Region’s business leaders. During the hour-long program, Rep. Marc Veasey (D-Fort Worth), Rep. Colin Allred (D-Dallas), Rep. Beth Van Duyne (R-Irving), and Rep. Keith Self (R-McKinney) discussed a wide array of top issues impacting the Dallas Region, including energy, inflation, aviation, technology, and health care. The panel was led in discussion by Jack Fink, an award-winning reporter at CBS News Texas.

“This region benefits from all the great work each of you in this room do, whether you are a lawmaker, a representative, or a business leader,” Dale Petroskey, President and CEO of the DRC, told gathered attendees. “This is a wonderful place to hear from these important members of Congress who have been elected by the people to represent us and our businesses in Washington.”

The conversation centered on how federal policy decisions impact the Dallas Region’s exceptional growth and diversified economy.

“We are in an area that is growing so rapidly because our economy is attracting folks who want to come here, who want to raise their kids here, and get a good job here,” said Rep. Allred. He went on to say that although the inflation rate is down and unemployment is low, living costs are still high for low- and middle-income families.

Rep. Veasey added that high living costs are a substantial issue that needs to be urgently addressed.

“Unless you do something to address people’s income in this country, not keeping up with the growth and the productivity that we’ve had in this country, I think it’s going to be an issue that continues to last,” said Veasey.

“Wages, for the first time in the spring, in the last couple of years, finally outpaced inflation,” Rep. Allred noted. “So, we’ll see if folks are going to start to feel better about [their costs of living and] some of these things.”

Fink brought up the recent House passage of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization Bill and the future of aviation in the Dallas Region. The new bill authorizes fiscal appropriations for the FAA through 2028, but still needs to be negotiated with the Senate.

“It’s really exciting where we’re going with aviation,” said Rep. Allred. “And I’m excited about where we can go with this if we can get it right.”

When it comes to energy, Rep. Van Duyne said she wants to see Texas produce more and import less.

“I agree that we need to look at nuclear [power], but water and solar are never going to be base powers,” said Van Duyne. “We incentivize them so much at the federal level, at the expense of things like natural gas and coal.”

Rep. Van Duyne went on to say the government needs to fund research and development in all forms of energy to meet demand.

“We don’t need to subsidize one at the expense of the other,” Rep. Self added. He believes that Texas should produce all the energy it can, use it, and then export the rest to become a more profitable energy-producing state.

The lively discussion made one thing clear: these four congressional delegates are all fighting for the best for their constituents in Texas.

“Beyond sharing your time and knowledge with us, we are really grateful for all you do to advocate for the Dallas Region and to work with the business community on issues that matter for our future growth and prosperity,” Matt Garcia, Senior Vice President of Public Policy at the DRC, said to the panelists.

The DRC’s Congressional Forum was presented by Ryan LLC. We also thank our Gold Sponsors, Amazon, American Airlines, and West Coast University – Texas, and Silver Sponsor, Hillwood Development Company, LLC.

Visit the Public Policy page on our website to get more engaged with our work and join us for another upcoming DRC event.