By Dana Jennings, Senior Vice President, Communications, Marketing & Events
The Dallas Regional Chamber (DRC) presented Sen. Royce West with a Building Tomorrow Together Award during a reception on Wednesday, Nov. 15, to recognize the positive impact he has had on economic development in the Dallas Region as a member of the 88th Texas Legislature.
The award is traditionally given to companies that have moved to or expanded within the Dallas Region and spurred economic growth, so granting the award to Sen. West, of Dallas, is a deserved break from tradition.
During the legislature’s regular session, Sen. West played a critical role in passing DRC priority bill House Bill 5—named the Texas Jobs, Energy, Technology, and Innovation (JETI) Act—to establish a new transparent and accountable economic development incentive tool designed to help attract large corporate projects to the state.
“Senator West has been a fierce advocate for Dallas in the Texas Senate for more than 30 years, and we appreciate our partnership with him on so many issues,” said Dale Petroskey, DRC President and CEO. “His contributions to the current and future prosperity of our region are numerous, and his leadership on House Bill 5 will do two things—help our state maintain its winning economic formula while benefiting our under-championed communities.”
When the JETI Act was considered in the Senate in May, it was in danger of not passing despite a near-unanimous favorable vote in the House of Representatives. Sen. West consulted with the DRC to include a provision incentivizing companies to locate projects in federally designated Opportunity Zones, which are under-championed rural and urban communities across the state.
Gov. Greg Abbott soon after signed the bill into law on Wednesday, June 7.
“Senator West got something very important for the State of Texas and Dallas-Fort Worth across the goal line in this most recent legislative session because he saw a path to keeping us competitive for projects that can be so fruitful for Texans,” said Mike Rosa, DRC Senior Vice President of Economic Development, whose team grants Building Tomorrow Together Awards. “This award is typically given to companies; this time, it’s going to a person whose work will yield many companies and jobs for us to celebrate in the near- and long-term future.”
Sen. West is joined by Canadian Solar, Rudolph Foods, and Boingo Wireless as other recipients of 2023 Building Tomorrow Together Awards.
The JETI Act succeeds Texas’ previous economic development incentive tool, known as the Texas Economic Development Act, which expired at the end of 2022 after two decades of helping fuel an economic boom that included the addition of 222 corporate headquarters, hundreds of industrial projects, and 1.3 million new jobs to Dallas-Fort Worth since 2010.
Sen. West was first elected to the Texas Senate in November 1992. Since taking office, he has represented the 23rd Senatorial District on behalf of the citizens of Dallas County in the Texas Legislature. During his tenure, Sen. West has been named by Texas Monthly as one of the 25 most powerful people in Texas politics, been selected for the magazine’s biennial “Ten Best Legislators in Texas” list and has twice been named as an “Honorable Mention.” Senator West has also received mention on the Associated Press’ “Movers and Shakers” list, as well as the Texas Insider’s “Best Legislators” list.
Sen. West is Vice Chair of the Senate Higher Education Committee and is a member of Senate committees on Education Finance and Transportation.