Midland and Odessa Delegates bend the ears of lawmakers in Austin

AUSTIN -- Over 100 business, education and community leaders were recognized by the Texas House of Representatives on Tuesday.

Rep. Tom Craddick and Brooks Landgraf spoke on behalf of the group and the Permian Basin's impact on the state economy.

"I was beaming with pride when we recognized the [Midland and Odessa] chamber groups in the gallery," Landgraf said.

Local leaders said they were honored to be recognized in the House, but also feel they are one step closer to making key changes in the Permian Basin.

The delegates had events in Austin all week for their 2019 Midland and Odessa Legislative Days. On Wednesday, they divided up into groups and met one-on-one with state lawmakers about topics including roads and infrastructure, education and economic development.

"Having those conversations [with legislatures], and saying this is what we need in our community," Midland ISD Superintendent Orlando Riddick said. "They know, and are taking that information and marching it forward.”

Riddick wasn't the only one speaking up about educational needs for the region.

UT Permian Basin President Sandra Woodley also went to Austin, and said eduction in the region is more important than ever with the demand for a skilled workforce in the booming oil and gas economy.

“As the president of the university there in the Permian Basin, I really want to make sure that I have the resources that I need to step up and provide that workforce," Woodley said.

And it's no secret if you've ever driven the roads in the Basin, they're in desperate need of a tune-up. Roads and infrastructure weren't left out of the discussions at the capitol.

“We kill more people in West Texas on highways than any other place in the state, and we have to get some help to protect our citizens," Odessa Mayor David Turner said.

"The most dangerous roads in the entire state are sitting out west, because of the truck traffic and what’s going on," Texas Railroad Commission Chairman Christi Craddick said. “You need some dollars put into infrastructure. This is important long term for this state to continue to be successful."