Does anyone else feel like summer just started yesterday? It sure seems like it, but now it is time to prepare for the new school year, the sales tax-free weekend, and much more! In this edition of the Capitol Review, we are covering the following topics:
· Events held throughout HD 29 and Texas
· Progress on the 288 Toll Road
· Sales Tax-Free Weekend
· My Texas Armed Service Scholarship Program nominee, Kirby Lambert
· Last-minute Summer Vacation Ideas
· Pearadox Robotics Team - UIL Championship
· Save the Dates
We had another scorching, hot summer here in Texas, but the heat could not keep us away! We attended numerous events, including the July 4th Celebration of Freedom in Pearland, Brazoria County's Hurricane Preparedness Expo, Pearland Chamber of Commerce's Party on the Patio and BizConnect Luncheon, and a meeting on the 288 Toll Lane with members of the Texas Department of Transportation, Blueridge Transportation Group, and Almeda Genoa Contractors. We also stopped by a surprise retirement party for Gary Davis and a celebration for David L. Smith's 90th birthday.
We celebrated the 240th anniversary of the greatest nation on Earth this July, and I had the pleasure of speaking at the Pearland High School football stadium during the Celebration of Freedom.
We also attended the Alvin ISD Book Bus' Read with Your State Representative, Pearland Chamber of Commerce's Cocktails with the Council Members, ABC Contractors' TopGolf Fundraiser, Texas A&M AgriLife's Healthy Cooking School Dinner, Pearland Historical Society Monthly Meeting, ALEC Conference, and TASO/UIL Officiate Texas Day and pre-NASO Conference.
Children enjoyed hearing about Pete the Cat's Buttons during the Alvin ISD Book Bus Summer Program at Sealy Park. To encourage more reading this Summer, every child received a free book!
Progress on the 288 Toll Road
If you commute to work using State Highway 288, then you know how awful traffic can be during the morning and evening hours. One way to alleviate the heavy traffic is to construct an optional toll lane for commuters. The partnership between the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), Blueridge Transportation Group, and Almeda Genoa Construction is well under way to begin no later than November this year. The Harris County segment will begin from the US 59 portion of 288 and will end at the county line. The development plans will be done in two segments: Beltway 8 to 610 and from 610 to 59. The project includes flyovers that will connect to both 610 and Beltway 8. TxDOT anticipates that the final project will be completed sometime in Spring or Summer 2019. In order to better combat the ensnarling traffic, I have been voicing my support for the project for some time now, and have been meeting with state and local contacts to ensure this project continues to move forward, on time.
Sales Tax-Free Weekend in Texas
The 2016-2017 school year is just around the corner, and that means purchasing brand-new clothes and supplies for the kids! We all know that these items are not cheap, so the Texas Legislature created the Sales Tax-Free Weekend, an annual event that takes place once every year to help Texans keep more money in their pocketbooks.
This year's Sales Tax Holiday starts August 5th and ends August 7th. The items that qualify for the sales tax exemption include clothing, footwear, backpacks, and school supplies. The items listed must be priced below $100. For example, if you want to purchase a pair of pants that cost $110, you will be required to pay the sales tax. If you want to purchase two pants that cost $60 each, you will not have to pay the sales tax on the items because each individual item is below $100. If you would like a detailed list of what items you may purchase this weekend, I have attached a link to the Texas Comptroller's website here. Happy shopping, remember to support local businesses, and stay safe in those large crowds!
I am pictured with Mickey Mark from the Pearland Historical Society. We discussed the effort to save the Old Rail Depot located near City Hall and I am proud to lend my support.
Kirby Lambert - TASSP Nomination
Alvin has another bright student that deserves some recognition. I have nominated Kirby Lambert for the Texas Armed Services Scholarship this year. Lambert is a magna cum laude graduate of the Alvin High School Class of 2016, completing her core curriculum at Alvin Community College through the Dual Credit Program. She has decided to attend Texas A&M University in College Station where she will pursue a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering. In order to receive the scholarship, Lambert will enroll in the ROTC, complete her training and graduation requirements, and commit to serving with any branch of the armed services. Her aspiration to serve our country is to be recognized and we wish Ms. Lambert all the best.
A picture of Kirby Lambert during her graduation from Alvin High School - Class of 2016. Congratulations Ms. Lambert on being nominated for the TASSP Scholarship.
Last-minute Summer Vacation Ideas
Summer isn't over just yet! With two weeks left until school begins, there is still plenty of time to enjoy visiting different locations in Texas. The Texas Highways magazine has highlighted a few options to enjoy this month, and one of them is located right here in Brazoria County. I have included some last-minute ideas for you below.
Looking to cool off from the hot Texas heat? Visit one of the many swimming holes located throughout the state. From Daingerfield State Park in the Piney Woods, to Utopia Park in the Hill Country, all the way out to west Texas at San Solomon Springs at Balmorhea State Park, Texas has so much natural beauty to offer. I would like to advise you to remain cautious if you do decide to head to the swimming holes. Some of the locations may require a bit of hiking, there are no lifeguards on duty, never swim alone, and wear appropriate footwear. If you would like more information on these refreshing locations, you can click here.
Would you like to experience a movie under the wide-open sky with the stars staring down at you? Believe it or not, Texas still has drive-in theaters all across the state, meaning you can enjoy the movie-going experience from the comfort of your own car. The closest drive-in theater is the Showboat Drive-In in Northwest Harris County, but other locations include the Blue Starlite in Austin, the Stars & Stripes in New Braunfels, and the Last Drive-In Picture Show in Gatesville, which also happens to be one of the country's oldest surviving drive-ins. For more information on the many drive-in theaters in Texas, click here. In case you have not already heard, the Showboat Drive-In will be expanding to a second location right here in House District 29! The new location is slated to open during the Summer of 2017 in Alvin and I have no doubt that it will be a popular destination for our community.
If you want to visit a place in Texas so far away that it resides in a different time zone, with a mix of desert, mountains, and city attractions, look no further than El Paso. Boasting some of the most magnificent sunrises and sunsets in Texas, the Franklin Mountains provide a picture-perfect backdrop to an urban city. With more than 2,000 years of history, you can visit one of the oldest Middle-Archaic sites in the country, tour the historic missions and presidios throughout the area, and enjoy the art and culture of the American Southwest. For more information on visiting El Paso, click here.
Lastly, if you are looking for something closer to home, the George Observatory in Brazos Bend State Park will be open Friday night, August 12th until 6:00 AM Saturday morning. The observatory will be providing telescopes for anyone interested in viewing the Perseid meteor shower, with astronomers explaining what you are witnessing. The entry fee will be $7 for adults and $6 for kids. Let's hope the night sky will be clear and enjoyable!
The Alvin Heights Baptist Church Choir came to the State Capitol to sing to hundreds of visitors and tourists in the Rotunda. A special thank you to Associate Pastor Clay Owens for bringing the choir and organizing this wonderful performance.
Pearadox Robotics Team - UIL Championship
Pearland ISD's FIRST Robotics Competition team 5414, Pearadox, competed in the inaugural UIL Robotics State Championship in Austin. The team had six and a half weeks to strategize, prototype, design, build, and test a robot for the competition. Although the team was eliminated in the quarterfinals of the playoffs, they represented Pearland very well, as they were one of the top 32 UIL teams to compete out of more than 140 teams from across the state. Their hard work and passion is a testament to their future, and I have no doubt that they will one day be some of the brightest engineers and scientists in the field.
Pearadox Team 5414 pictured with their robot creation at the UIL Robotics State Championship in Austin. Excellent job everyone!
Save the Dates
Here are some important dates that are right around the corner:
· August 9, 2016 - 11:30 AM: Alvin-Manvel Chamber of Commerce State of the District Address with Representative Thompson (Knights of Columbus, Alvin, TX)
· August 11, 2016 - 2:00 PM: Root Beer Floats with Representative Thompson (Pearland Chamber of Commerce, Pearland, TX)
· August 18, 2016 - 11:30 AM: Pearland Chamber of Commerce Legislative Update featuring Senator Larry Taylor and Representative Ed Thompson (Hilton Garden Inn, Pearland, TX)
· September 12, 2016 - 3:00 PM: TopGolf with State Representative Ed Thompson (Webster, TX)
· September 18, 2016 - 1:00 PM: Meet and Greet with State Representative Ed Thompson (Billy's Hall, Pearland, TX)
· September 26, 2016 - 6:30 PM: Alvin Town Hall Meeting (Alvin Train Depot)
· September 27, 2016 - 6:30 PM: Pearland Town Hall Meeting (Pearland Chamber of Commerce)
Can I help you with a state issue you are facing? Please email me at
, call my District Office at 281-485-6565, or my Capitol Office at 512-463-0707. You can also follow me on Facebook and Twitter to stay updated and stay in touch. Visit our Youtube channel for monthly videos as well! (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCyGqEvuasccTlyV63fhrLkg)
Thanks for reading, and God Bless Texas!
P.S. Would you please take a minute to contribute to my campaign for re-election? I have a Democrat opponent in the November election, and I need your help to ensure House District 29 continues to have an experienced, conservative, principled voice in the State Legislature. You can get involved with my campaign by signing up for yard signs and volunteer opportunities HERE! To contribute financially, click the red contribute button below to pay by credit card. You can also mail a check payable to Friends of Ed Thompson and send it to P.O. Box 3453, Pearland, Texas 77588. Questions? Email me at
. Thank you so much for your help!