D.C. STATEHOOD SHOULD BE A RIGHT

The 712,000 people who call Washington, D.C. home are just like any other Americans. From teachers and nurses to firefighters and custodians, Washingtonians raise families, pay taxes, and fight in America’s wars. Yet, they’re deprived of full representation in Congress and are subject to the politically-motivated whims of lawmakers like Ted Cruz because of the capital’s status as a district.

But we can change that by making the District of Columbia a state.

With statehood, D.C. would be able to respond to the will of its people and enact policies that reflect the wants and needs of its residents. As a state, D.C. would finally have equal voting representation in Congress, and control over their own laws and budgets. This way, conservative lawmakers can’t force their archaic positions on abortion access, gun reform, or health care onto residents who didn’t elect them.

No matter where you live, all Americans have the right to full representation and having their voices heard. Statehood for Washington, D.C. is about treating all American citizens fairly and as equals — and that’s why I’m urging my senators to support D.C. statehood.

Jeri Burbage

Tyler

HUGHES BILL A STEP IN RIGHT DIRECTION

February’s Winter Storm Uri left more than 30,000 Smith County residents without power. For many, the events of those three harrowing days have begun to fade, but most have yet to feel the true impact of the State Energy Regulator’s decisions on our bank accounts or the Texas economy. While Tyler residents huddled together for warmth, ERCOT and the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT), the state’s energy regulators set the price of energy at the maximum amount, $9,000/ mWh, to encourage more generators to come online. None did. Instead, over a hundred Texans lost their lives. Now, investors are owed thousands from the energy they sold at a high price, and energy retailers (the company that sends you your monthly bill) face massive amounts of debt. In the days following the storm, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick called for the PUCT to change energy prices during the storm.

Changing the price back to the average cost would essentially wipe out the debt. The Texas Senate agreed, but the House failed to act. Currently, there is one month left in the regular Legislative session, and no legislation has passed to help Retail Energy Providers (REPs) pay off the $46 billion debt owed from February. This week, Tyler native, Texas Sen. Bryan Hughes, introduced SB 2227. This bill would allow retail energy providers to access government financing known as securitization. Instead of immediately billing consumers hundreds of dollars to quickly pay off the debt, the legislation enables energy companies to finance their debt at a lower rate through the government and pay it off over the next few decades. Ratepayers would see an increase of a few cents per year rather than a few hundred dollars per month. By spreading out the cost, the Texas economy could recover without worrying about bursting an energy bubble. Time is running out to act on behalf of Texas ratepayers, but Sen. Hughes’ bill is a step in the right direction.

Brandon Young 

PANDEMIC LOSSES INSPIRE POEM

How important or unimportant is one creation? 3 a.m., could not sleep, went to back door, turned patio light on:

“I Have Done My Part”

Looking to the patio

I saw a big dead leaf

Trunk with steams to point

Points on each side

It was a bud in the spring

Grew to a large green leaf

It was part of the big whole tree

It danced with ease in the breeze

moved wildly in the wind

It did its part for the beautiful tree

It was robust proud green leaf

Fall came it had to go

It turned brown with no life

It still has a strong trunk

with stems to point but,

It is dead, it has done its part

I was a part of the big beautiful tree

Spring will bring a new bud

The American tree has always been strong with many branches and

leaves. Coronavirus came and took too many leaves, almost uprooting

the whole tree. We need to restore our American tree or it will die

Red, yellow, black and white, we are all precious in his sight.

Harold Hollingsworth

Tyler