Representatives of the university and city participated in Kingsville Recognition day at the State Capital in Austin, Feb. 26.
City Commission members, Commanding Officer Mark McLaughlin of Naval Air Station-Kingsville, Mayor Sam R. Fugate, president of Texas A&M University- Kingsville (TAMUK) Dr. Steven Tallant, and political science students and others composed the delegation of more than 40 making the trip to Austin.
“It’s great to have the city and the leadership here,” McLaughlin said.
Topics such as a $42 million proposal to expand and renovate the music building at TAMUK were discussed, eveh though Kingsville Day wasn’t about presenting any new bills affecting the city or university.
“The way we would do that is we would ask taxpayers of the state of Texas to lend us $42 million that we would pay back over 20 years,” Tallant said. “Then what has to happen is they have to decide which universities are fortunate enough to get the buildings; to have that happen we need (TAMUS) Chancellor (John) Sharp on our side, State Representative J.M. Lozano and Senator Eddie Lucio.”
Tallant said his and Fugate’s hopes are high, even though no final decision is expected until the last week of the legislative session.
“It (music) is a great department. It’s important for education, and it’s a good thing for the university, so we’re working hard to get that [bill] passed,” Fugate said.
House Bill 605, which affects building around NAS-Kingsville, is another bill being discussed by the Texas legislature.
“HB 605 is designed to provide communities protection from encroachments that are incompatible with the current infrastructures,” McLaughlin said.
The bill asks for more local government authority to expand the airport zoning board authority at NAS-Kingsville.
“HB 605 is not designed to make people not build things or to go away, that’s not its intention,” McLaughlin said. “Its intention is to get people talking early in the development phases to make sure that compatible land uses are looked into.”
After being presented in both the House and Senate galleries, Kingsville representativdes gathered in the capitol building rotunda to hear the TAMUK Mariachi Javelina perform.
During lunch, Lozano and Lucio had an open conversation with the community leaders before they took a tour of the capitol and loaded to bus back to Kingsville.