For 140 days every two years, Members of the Texas House and Senate put their lives on hold and head to Austin to serve at the State Capitol for a regular legislative session. The pace can be grueling and the work days often long. The hard work that goes along with session is not new to Representative Brooks Landgraf. His family has been in the ranching business in West Texas for five generations, which is what shaped his conservative principles. It inspired his belief in self-reliance, hard work, and the importance of getting things done, while not relying on anyone else to complete your work for you.
Brooks strongly believes that serving your community is important, and that we should all answer the calling to improve our country in our own individual ways. Brooks’ path led him to the Texas House of Representatives where he is already earning a reputation for being effective in just his first term. The freshman Member serves on two powerful committees, the Energy Resources Committee, and Investments & Financial Services Committee (IFS). IFS has oversight over matters pertaining to the state banking system, savings and loan associations, the regulation of securities and investments, identity theft and other financial issues. Energy Resources has oversight over the conservation of energy resources in Texas and the production, regulation, transportation, and development of oil, gas, and other energy resources. Both committees have a significant impact on the policies that shape Texas’ overall economy.
When I sat down with Representative Landgraf he explained to me why he decided to run for public office. “I’m from a family that has always put an emphasis on public service, and not necessarily just through public office, but anyway you can give back to your community, your state, to your country. I’m just so blessed that Texas has given so much to me, and I just want to do whatever I can to give something back,” he told me.
District 81 includes 15 cities in 4 counties, with the largest population in Ector County. He has represented his constituents well by addressing issues that concern his district, like the condition of the roads in the Permian Basin, campus construction funding at UTPB and Texas Tech University Health Science Center-Odessa, as well as the importance of providing tax relief to the hardworking people of West Texas. Representative Landgraf is also proud to have supported legislation that expands the rights of Texans to open carry as well as authorizing students and staff the ability to protect themselves while on a college campus.
When asked what his proudest moment as an elected official has been, Representative Landgraf said, “Really my proudest moment is just having the opportunity to serve and being available to listen to my constituents and their concerns, and trying to incorporate that into the public policy of Texas.” Later in our conversation he added, “Working here on behalf of my constituents in the Legislature is a lot of hard work, it’s a lot of long hours, it’s a lot of late nights, but it’s a very fulfilling job. Not a day goes by that I don’t walk to the Capitol to start work and look up to realize what a blessing it is to be here, and what an honor and privilege it is for my fellow West Texans to have trust in me to do that job. It is something that I take very seriously, and I am honored to do it.”
While the first term lawmaker stands by the overall work product of the 84th Legislative Session, there is one bill that Representative Landgraf is especially proud of and addresses an issue that is very close to this heart. Brooks’ Aunt Phyllis, who recently celebrated her 50th birthday, was born with Down syndrome. The joy and happiness that she has brought to his family and those around her inspired Brooks to take a closer look at some of the issues that surround the diagnosis of Down syndrome. House Bill 3374 is a pro-life measure that increases the information available regarding Down syndrome, and requires medical professionals to distribute this educational information to expectant parents when a prenatal test indicates a probability of a Down syndrome diagnoses or is diagnosed at birth. With this bill, Joint-Authored by Representative Landgraf, parents will be able to make better informed decisions that will lead to more families enjoying the fulfillment of these unique lives.
For Brooks and his wife Shelby, the excitement of 2015 doesn’t end after session. They are celebrating the birth of their first child, a wonderful baby girl, and look forward to continuing to serve their friends and neighbors.
Our state is blessed to have principled citizen legislators take time away from their homes and families to work for the betterment of Texas and residents of West Texas don’t have to look very far to find that Brooks Landgraf is a great example of this commitment.