Each month our State Representative Dr. Lynn Stucky will answer written questions in this column. Please send your questions to either the email or office address listed below, and he will answer ones that are of the most general interest.
What exactly does a state representative do?
How is it different from our congressman?
Both these officials are elected every two years to represent the constituents in their districts in the law-making process. The difference is in the level of government in which each functions. Our U.S. Congressman, Dr. Michael Burgess, goes to Washington D.C. and represents about 700,000 people who live within the 26th Congressional District, which includes most of Denton County and part of Tarrant County. The federal Congress meets almost continuously except for scheduled breaks during August and the end of each calendar year.
In contrast, as your State Representative I go to Austin and represent about 168,000 residents all within Denton County including Robson Ranch here in House District 64. There are three other State Representatives in Denton County who represent the other one-fourth of our county. Under the Texas Constitution our legislature meets only in odd numbered years for 140 days unless called back into Special Session by the Governor for specific issues, as we saw last summer.
A Congressman will deal with federal government issues such as immigration law, federal taxes, national security, etc. while a state representative deals with more local issues such as highways, public education, public health, etc. There is overlap in some of these areas such as funding for highways. In that instance generally the federal government funds interstate highways such as I-35, and the state provides funding for state highways such as Highway 377. County and local funding also pays for the maintenance and some construction of other roadways such as Crawford Road (cities of Argyle and Denton) and Robson Ranch Road (Denton County).
If you have any question about who is responsible for a particular roadway, please check with my office and they will direct you to the appropriate office to contact. You can reach the office at 940-243-0230, [email protected] or stop by my district office in the First State Bank Bldg., 400 W. Oak, Suite 106, in Denton. They will be happy to answer other types of questions as well, and if you’d like to see your question in next month’s column please be sure to mail or email it to us.