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Home | Tag Archives: rep hurd

Tag Archives: rep hurd

Op-Ed: Hurd on the Hill – Restoring Our Parks

You may have heard that there’s a place in far West Texas where the night skies are dark as coal and rivers carve temple-like canyons in ancient limestone. This isn’t simply folklore and is actually located right here in the 23rd District of Texas.

I have the distinct honor of representing in Congress a total of eight national parks and historic sites, including Big Bend National Park described above, and our San Antonio Missions. It is a top priority of mine to make sure our parks remain beautiful and accessible for South and West Texas families to enjoy for generations to come.

Unfortunately, our parks are in dire need of repairs. In fact, last year in Texas alone, the National Park Service faced over $167 million in backlogged maintenance projects, including repairs to roads, visitor facilities, trails and other park structures.

In many of these cases, buildings are crumbling, roads are inaccessible, trails are overgrown and sewer systems are at risk of failing – dramatically impacting the natural environment and visitor experience. To make matters worse, nearly 75 percent of deferred maintenance projects in Texas are in our TX-23 parks and historic sites, at a whopping cost of:

  • $100,421,335 at Big Bend National Park;
  • $6,937,728 at San Antonio Missions National Historic Park;
  • $7,031,046 at Amistad National Recreational Area in Del Rio;
  • $2,810,717 at Fort Davis National Historic Site; and,
  • $6,411,208 at Guadalupe Mountains National Park in the town Salt Flat in West Texas.

You don’t have to be a math major to realize that’s a lot of backlog and a big problem. I wholeheartedly believe that we have a responsibility to care for our national parks and historic sites so they are available for future generations of park goers to enjoy. That’s why I joined forces with my colleagues in the House and Senate on both sides of the political aisle to introduce the Restore Our Parks & Public Lands Act.

This bipartisan proposal represents the merging of several approaches, including my similar bill, the National Park Service Legacy Act, to reduce this backlog so we can fix our parks once and for all. This bill helps to jump start our overdue maintenance projects by directing existing federal funding to a newly established restoration fund, which will allow the National Park Service to invest in needed repairs.

The only way we can solve big problems in Congress is by working together, and this bill further exemplifies a team effort. I’ll continue to be a champion of our parks and work in a bipartisan manner to find solutions to the biggest problems facing our nation.

***

A former undercover CIA officer, entrepreneur and cybersecurity expert, Will Hurd is the U.S. Representative for the 23rd Congressional District of Texas. In Washington, he serves on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, as Vice Chair of the Maritime and Border Security Subcommittee on the Committee for Homeland Security, and as the Chairman of the Information Technology Subcommittee on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

Hurd on the Hill: Our Farmers & Families Win with NAFTA

This week is deemed National Agriculture Week and we in the 23rd District of Texas are certainly grateful for the hard work of farmers and ranchers year-round.

Folks in the agriculture industry toil around the clock to produce goods that we consume every day from the clothes on our backs to the food on our tables. The industry supports more than 3.75 million Texas jobs paying $160 billion in wages and we simply cannot overstate its importance on our economy.

Many folks aren’t aware of the benefits of trade for Texas agriculture. In 2016, Texas exported $11.3 billion in total food and agriculture goods, and more than 40 percent went to NAFTA partners. While there’s no question that we need to modernize NAFTA to account for evolving industries and emerging technology, scrapping the deal altogether would be particularly harmful for Texas farmers and ranchers.

For example, one sector that benefits immensely from trade with our Northern and Southern neighbors is beef. Texas cattlemen and women sell roughly $338 million in beef to Mexico every year – approximately 35 percent of all American beef and veal exports are to Mexico alone. Similarly, total US beef exports to Canada and Mexico have almost tripled since NAFTA was signed.

This is why Texas raises more calves than anywhere in the United States and is the 14th largest cattle producing region in the world. Without unfettered access to Mexican and Canadian markets, Texas’ $10.5 billion beef industry would take a major hit.

Our cotton growers have also benefitted tremendously from free trade with Mexico and Canada. Mexico is a reliable and important market for U.S. cotton fiber, buying one million bales each year. Mexico is also our country’s second largest cotton textile and apparel market, buying fifteen percent of the nation’s total exports.

Likewise, Canada and Mexico accounted for almost 20 percent of U.S. fresh fruit exports and roughly 65 percent of fresh vegetable exports, totaling $7.2 billion. Unsurprisingly, when Mexico applied temporary tariffs to some of our produce in 2009, those industries lost $65 million that season. For Texas farmers, this demonstrates the direct correlation between free trade and economic growth.

In a lecture in 1970 when he won the Noble Prize, agronomist Norman Borlaug said, “Civilization as it is known today could not have evolved, nor can it survive, without an adequate food supply.” In my district, over 9,000 farms and ranches employing thousands of hard-working people ensure our civilization is continuing to evolve.

In order for them to continue this vital task they need access to new markets, which is why I will continue to advocate for a modernized NAFTA. Agriculture is critical to our economy and its critical to our survival.

We should all have the backs of the hardworking folks that do this noble work.

###

A former undercover CIA officer, entrepreneur and cybersecurity expert, Will Hurd is the U.S. Representative for the 23rd Congressional District of Texas. In Washington, he serves on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, as Vice Chair of the Maritime and Border Security Subcommittee on the Committee for Homeland Security, and as the Chairman of the Information Technology Subcommittee on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

Hurd On The Hill: Creating 21st Century Solutions to our Digital Challenges

No one wants to hear about another hack. As our society becomes more and more reliant on constantly emerging technologies from smart phones to smart cities, we have not been able to keep our digital information secure while harnessing these innovations.

Cybersecurity is no longer only about protecting your social security or bank numbers – it’s about keeping our electricity on and our economy functioning. Nearly every aspect of our lives nowadays depends on technology, which means they are also all vulnerable to hacks.

I came to Congress to find solutions and fix problems, which is why I’m excited to team up with private sector leaders to develop real solutions as a tri-chair of the Aspen Cyber Strategy Group. This group brings together experts and thought leaders across industry sectors to keep up to date on the latest malicious cyber threats and trends.

It can be hard to fully grasp the severity of our current situation. However, the reality is that although the concept of a cyberattack can seem distant and elusive, cyberattacks are very real and impact all of us, our businesses and our economy.

For example, this past year alone, companies lost over $1.2 billion from malware attacks. This is money that could’ve gone into investments like hiring or new equipment purchases.  Due to hacks, in 2017 alone, personal information was compromised for 198 million voters, three billion Yahoo account users and 145 million civilians due to the infamous Equifax breach, among others.  These hacks will continue to occur until we find and implement concrete, tangible solutions.

That’s why I’ve agreed to lead the initiative and the government cannot do it alone. The new group will facilitate robust conversation between 35 CEOs, lawmakers and academics on how to best address today’s cybersecurity challenges.

For us to truly find a fix to our systemic cybersecurity challenges, the public and private sectors need to work together, and more importantly, the public needs to know that without action their safety and personal information may be at risk. By utilizing experts from the public and private sectors, we will be able to develop tangible, implementable cybersecurity recommendations.

Emerging technology is an exciting thing. It allows us to travel faster, live longer, and communicate more efficiently. At the same time, innovation creates new threats, and we must do a better job protecting ourselves and our systems. This year I’m looking forward to working with policy makers, business owners and cyber experts to turn our security recommendations into action.

***

A former undercover CIA officer, entrepreneur and cybersecurity expert, Will Hurd is the U.S. Representative for the 23rd Congressional District of Texas. In Washington, he serves on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, as Vice Chair of the Maritime and Border Security Subcommittee on the Committee for Homeland Security, and as the Chairman of the Information Technology Subcommittee on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

Hurd on the Hill: Unleashing Innovation

Imagine the following hypothetical scenario: you could buy either one of the first cell phone models (the one that could basically double as a brick) for one price or the latest smartphone for a cheaper price. Which would you buy?

In too many instances, our federal government has been systematically choosing the equivalent of the first option: to spend more money on outdated, unreliable products instead of the cheaper, more advanced options.

The American people send a lot of money up to Washington each year, and it is outrageous that the federal government wastes billions of these hard-earned dollars each year maintaining IT systems that aren’t just outdated, but also leave our digital information – from employee records to government intelligence – susceptible to cyberattacks. In fact, our federal government spends nearly 80 percent of more than $80 billion on simply maintaining existing IT systems.

The bulk of this funding is spent keeping outdated systems alive when some are nearly 60 years old! Not only are many of these systems insecure, they’re becoming increasingly costly. It’s the 21st Century; we should be taking advantage of 21st Century tools.

We have continued to use horse-and-buggy technology throughout every federal agency for decades and reform is long overdue. Imagine being able to renew your passport online. How about our military veterans not having to take hard-copies of their health records with them to the doctor? It’s 2017. The American people deserve better from their government.

This is why I worked with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for the last two years to implement landmark IT Reform that will make our government smarter, more cost-effective and more efficient. I am pleased to announce that my smart government bill, the Modernizing Government Technology (MGT) Act, was approved in the House and the Senate as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and is expected to be signed into law by the President any day.

The bill incentivizes federal agencies to transition their IT systems to more modern platforms like cloud computing by eliminating the traditional use-it-or-lose-it approach that has plagued government spending for years. With this bill, agencies will be able to bank the savings obtained as a result of a transition to cheaper and more modern technological solutions. They can then use that money to modernize other systems, creating a virtuous cycle of modernization and ultimately, savings.

In the past, there has been no incentive for agencies to modernize because they have been unable to keep the savings as a result of modernization. This has kept our federal technology systems decades behind the private sector and has hindered our government’s ability to provide quality and timely services to the American people.

Finally, we’re curing this plague that has hindered our government for decades. Our technologies have evolved since the Stone Age, so should our federal agencies. This can happen now that MGT is a reality.

This will be my twelfth piece of legislation signed into law since taking office in 2015, and I’ll continue working to fix problems and find solutions that help folks in the 23rd District of Texas.

***

Author – Congressman Will Hurd

A former undercover CIA officer, entrepreneur and cybersecurity expert, Will Hurd is the U.S. Representative for the 23rd Congressional District of Texas. In Washington, he serves on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, as Vice Chair of the Maritime and Border Security Subcommittee on the Committee for Homeland Security, and as the Chairman of the Information Technology Subcommittee on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

I’m here to represent you. As always, please continue to reach out to me with any questions and concerns, and I encourage you to subscribe to my e-newsletter at hurd.house.gov/contact/email and follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat @HurdOnTheHill

US Rep. Will Hurd to visit Fabens, Clint, Horizon on Friday

San Antonio, Texas – U.S. Representative Will Hurd has a full day of events planned in the El Paso area on Friday.

He’ll kick off the morning at Fabens High School, meeting with staff and administrators and speaking to students about his role and responsibilities in Congress.

He will join Senator John Cornyn and Congressman Beto O’Rourke at the El Paso Chamber of Commerce “State of the Congress 2016” for a lunch-time address discussing how congressional action impacts El Paso and surrounding communities.

His next stop is a roundtable discussion about cross border trade enhancement with Cornyn, O’Rourke and Mayor Oscar Leeser, hosted by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The roundtable will not be open to the press, but  will be followed by a press conference at Paso Del Norte Bridge.

Hurd will head to Horizon High School afterwards to help the El Pasoans Fighting Hunger organization distribute bags of food and backpacks for students.

That evening, Hurd is excited to travel to Clint High School to perform the coin toss before the Lions face the Chaparral Lobos.

Friday, September 2 Itinerary

EVENT: Visit to Fabens High School

TIME: 9:00 AM – 10:00 AM MT

LOCATION: Fabens High School, 601 NE G Avenue, Fabens

ALSO ATTENDING: Principal Ruben Carrillo

 

EVENT: El Paso Chamber of Commerce State of Congress

TIME: 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM MDT

LOCATION: Wyndham El Paso Airport, 2027 Airway Blvd, El Paso

ALSO ATTENDING: Senator John Cornyn, Congressman Beto O’Rourke, El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser, County Judge Veronica Escobar

 

EVENT: Cross Border Trade Enhancement Act Round Table Press Conference

TIME: 2:15 PM – 2:45 PM MT

LOCATION: Paso Del Norte Bridge, 1000 South El Paso Street, El Paso

ALSO ATTENDING: Senator John Cornyn, Congressman Beto O’Rourke, El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser, CBP Port Director Hector Mancha, City of El Paso Director of Development Matthew McElroy, Chair of the Study of Trade in the Americas at UTP Dr. Thomas Fullerton

 

EVENT: Food Bank Delivery at Horizon High School

TIME: 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM MT

LOCATION: Horizon High School, 14651 Horizon Blvd, El Paso

ALSO ATTENDING: CEO of El Pasoans Fighting Hunger Victor Nevarez, Principal Elena Acosta

 

EVENT: Coin Toss at Clint High School Football Game

TIME: 6:45 PM – 7:15 PM MT

LOCATION: Clint High School, 13890 Alameda Avenue, Clint

ALSO ATTENDING: Principal Garrett Ritchey, Superintendent Juan Martinez, Campus Athletic Coordinator and Head Football Coach Rosvel Martinez

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