September 3, 2013

SAN ANGELO, Texas — State Rep. Drew Darby will go at it again. The San Angelo Republican announced his bid for re-election Tuesday.

“It is a privilege and honor to represent West Texas families and businesses that provide the fuel, food, and fiber to Texas and the nation,” Darby said in a news release. “There is more work to do, and I’ll continue fighting to make sure your state government never forgets the values and priorities of this region.”

The release highlighted the representative’s legislation to help eliminate more than $200 million in annual fees and surcharges. He particularly worked to eliminate the System Benefit Fund fee on all electric bills.

That new law he authored, House Bill 7, would also let the Fund spend its money to reduce electricity rates “for eligible low-income customers,” a fiscal analysis of the legislation states.

“Representative Darby also took a lead role in reducing diversions from the State Highway Fund, creating a state water infrastructure fund, while also restoring the cuts made in the previous session to state parks and public schools,” the release states.

Darby serves as chairman of the House Redistricting Committee, chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Natural Resources, Business and Economic Development, and Regulatory agencies, and he is a member of the House Higher Education Committee.

With Rep. Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie , retiring from the Legislature, the powerful chairmanship for the House Appropriations Committee that writes the budget will be available.

“There is going to be a new chair for House Appropriations, and hopefully I will be strongly considered for that position,” Darby said on the phone. “It’s something that I’ve prepared myself for.”

San Angelo Chamber of Commerce President Phil Neighbors expressed gratitude for Darby’s effort and work.

“He has been a tireless advocate on behalf of the West Central Texas area and the business community,” Neighbors said. “We’ve been especially pleased with his efforts on transportation, and he certainly has been good starting from his first efforts in ASU to get it to the Tech System, to working with us on our annual Legislative Summit. He does a good job representing his district.”

Tom Green County Republican Party Chairman Jeff Betty likewise praised Darby.

“Representative Darby is a fearless leader willing to take on even the most complicated and difficult issues facing Texas with vision and creativity. Voters may not always agree with his every vote, but they can always be proud to be represented by a person so dedicated to representing his constituents and the people of Texas with passion, purpose and foresight,” Betty wrote in an email.

“I am confident Republicans will again turn out in record numbers to select the best candidate from an impressive Republican field at every level,” he also wrote.

Darby said he would like to continue work on “truth in taxation,” making money go where it was meant to go or to stop collecting taxes and fees. The state has had about $5 billion in unused money sitting in special purpose funds, used solely to balance the budget. This past session, lawmakers reduced that by about $1 billion , he said.

He also wants to work to ensure legislative oversight of a new Texas Water Development Board, a set of three, full-time board members who will handle billions in taxpayer money for water project loans.

Additionally, he wants to work on transportation funding. One effort he led to raise registration fees failed, although lawmakers came to a mechanism to take money headed to the state’s so-called Rainy Day Fund and give it to transportation. And he wants to continue the work lawmakers have done in education .

“I’m a meat and potatoes guy,” Darby said about the budgeting issue, road funding, education and water infrastructure. “Those four issues are near and dear to my heart.”

Darby, who started his own law firm, the Drew Darby and Associates Law Firm, and who owns Surety Title Co., has been married to his wife for more than two decades, and the couple have five children.

Texas House District 72 is made up of Coke, Concho, Glasscock, Howard, Irion, Reagan, Runnels, Sterling and Tom Green counties. Darby has been in the Legislature since 2007.

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