Austin was buzzing this week, but it wasn’t necessarily 375 of your closest friends and neighbors who came to town for Golden Triangle Days that caused all the commotion. It seems that a plastic bag ban went into effect at area retailers that sent shoppers scrambling – and complaining. Elsewhere a flotilla of taco trucks, sandwich wagons and organic food purveyors took to the streets in a continuing burst of entrepreneurial zeal in the state’s capital city.
The business on the minds of industry leaders, elected and appointed officials and ordinary citizens in the Golden Triangle delegation was more prosaic, however – roads and bridges, water, education and health care. Over the course of three days, members of the delegation were able to talk and listen on these issues and make sure state government was engaged on how these issues played out in Southeast Texas.
Windstorm insurance in the coastal counties was a hot topic, with a detailed presentation from Rep. Todd Hunter and others on Monday, March 4, followed by a rally on the Capitol steps on Tuesday to urge lawmakers to spread the risk around with the argument that hurricane damage along the coast should be treated in a similar manner to hail or tornado damage in the rest of the state. One observer wondered aloud why coastal residents should bear more of the financial burden than the rest of the state, saying, “Where do these people (inland residents) come when they want to go to the beach?”
On Monday night, the Golden Triangle Days delegation hosted members of the House and Senate, their staffs and apparatchiks from other state agencies for a party Southeast Texas-style with music from Blue Broussard and Texas Country sensation the Josh Abbot Band. The food was catered by Big Rich Courville’s outfit with links, potato salad and gumbo to show those Austinites how we roll in this corner of the state. It was a great event and proved the point that business can be conducted with a longneck in your hand as well as a briefcase.
James Shannon can be reached at (409) 832-1400, ext. 249, or by e-mail at james [at] beaumontbusinessjournal [dot] com.