Senator Pat Fallon, speaking to a full house Tuesday during a town hall meeting in Stephenville’s City Council chambers, gave the crowd an energetic and often humorous “insider” report on some of the latest activity in Austin.
Fallon, whose hometown is Prosper, now represents District 30 in the Texas Senate after being in the Texas House of Representatives from 2013-19.
He told the crowd that upon arrival as one of 43 new members in the Senate, he was assigned to serve on five different committees. He said he was there for 100 percent of the yes or no votes so far — 61 roll-call votes and 4,310 votes on the Senate floor.
Before taking questions, Fallon spoke covering topics ranging from the state budget, to STAR testing in public schools, to property tax reform to the security of our border with Mexico.
He offered the thought that “politics is the art of the possible.”
Fallon related some stories about the influence of drug cartels in Mexico, and noted that the seriousness of the problem isn’t covered the way it should be. He said that $800 million in border security funding was included in the current 24-month $250 billion state budget that was approved, making “significant improvements” in that area.
“People need to know the dangers,” said Fallon, a graduate of the University of Notre Dame who served four years as an Air Force officer. “If Americans really knew what’s going on, we’d have built that wall 20 years ago."
He noted that the state will be investing nearly $6.5 billion in public education.
On the topic of STAAR testing in schools, Fallon — whose parents are retired school teachers, and who is on the Senate education committee — said he has never met anyone who likes that system. He said that proposals are in the works to break down the test time to segments of no more than 45 minutes each instead of the marathon sessions that are notorious for not yielding optimal results.
Fallon said he is in favor of making oral exams possible for students who struggle with written tests. He noted that he is pushing to make three key options to the forefront for high school graduates — going to college if they are ready; learning a trade; or being military-ready.
On property tax reform, Fallon said that with the recent passage of SB2, $5 billion in additional money is going back to taxpayers in Texas. It was far from easy, featuring a 15-hour debate at one point, but passed by a vote of 22-9 in the Senate including three Democrat yes votes.
Fallon noted that people are coming to Texas from other states in mass numbers because of things they find here such as liberty, freedom, opportunities — and limited government. He mentioned that California has many advantages in topography and milder climate, but falls short in some of those other categories.
“They (California) should be the success story, but they’re not,” Fallon said. “Why? Government.”
As for new jobs created annually, Fallon said, “We win this year over year (now for a seventh straight year). We created more than 50 percent of the nation’s jobs. Texas’ success is because we are red, and we need to remain that way.”
At the start of the meeting, it was announced that Gov. Greg Abbott will be coming to make an appearance in Stephenville. The date for that event will be announced once it is scheduled.