Waco Day in Austin centers around broadband expansion, redistricting

Waco business leaders met with state lawmakers and other stakeholders Friday for Waco Day in...
Waco business leaders met with state lawmakers and other stakeholders Friday for Waco Day in Austin, an effort to grow businesses in and attract jobs to Waco. (Photo by Clint Webb)(KWTX)
Published: Apr. 30, 2021 at 7:17 PM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - State lawmakers and Waco business officials brushed shoulders virtually during Waco Day in Austin on Friday, pushing various legislative efforts, such as expanding broadband in rural areas and ensuring that McLennan County stays intact after the redistricting process.

“Things like Waco Day are important to be at the table and tell your story,” Ryan Lindsey, the Public Policy Committee chairman with the Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce, said at the event.

The event, which takes place every two years during the legislative session, is normally held in Austin but was hosted virtually this year.

It typically offers members of Waco’s business community the opportunity to catch the ears of state lawmakers and hear what they are working on in the last days of the legislative session.

State Rep. Kyle Kacal, R-College Station, touted House Bill 5, which would establish the Broadband Development Office and create a statewide plan for expanding broadband services.

He also emphasized his priorities to reform the bail system and authorize bullet proof windshields for Department of Public Safety troopers.

Another big focus of the day was how city and state officials can grow local businesses and attract more jobs.

“Waco had two of the top 25 economic development projects in 2020 nationwide,” said Texas Secretary of State Ruth Ruggero Hughs during the event.

“The growth is real,” she said.

State Sen. Brian Birdwell, R-Granbury, and Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar also spoke at the event.

Various business leaders at the event also emphasized the importance of not splintering McLennan County during the redistricting process.

“Make sure that we hold Waco together from a congressional side and also from some of these state seats,” Lindsey said.

The regular legislative session ends in May.

There will likely need to be a special legislative session in the fall to handle redistricting as lawmakers receive additional data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

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