2007 State Legislative Service
Awards Dinner November 10
Sierra Club Honors State Legislative
Recipients Recognized at November Awards
Dinner in Austin
The Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club honored
the winners of its 2007 state Legislative Service
Awards at a dinner at Carmelo’s Ristorante
in Austin on November 10.
The Legislative Service
Awards recognize individual members of the Texas
Legislature who made significant contributions to
the protection of public health, natural resources,
and the environment during this year’s legislative
One Texas state senator and five Texas
state representatives were honored for their work.
They represented both major political parties and
a number of geographic areas of the state.
Winners of this year’s Sierra Club Legislative
Service Awards were the following:
State Senator Mario Gallegos, Jr. ( Houston)
Sen. Gallegos received the Sierra Club State Legislative
Service Award for “Clean Air” for his work
to protect Texans from the harmful effects of toxic
air pollution during the 2007 regular session of the
Sen. Gallegos, despite
serious personal health challenges facing him
during the session, fought courageously to preserve
the rights of cities to protect the air quality
their citizens and sought to expand state efforts to
fight toxic air pollution.
He demonstrated a strong commitment
to public health protection and highlighted the
problems of toxic air pollution in heavily industrialized
parts of Texas.
State Rep. Juan Escobar ( Kingsville)
Rep. Escobar received the Sierra Club
Service Award for "Citizen Rights" for
his work during the 2007 regular session of the
Texas Legislature to protect the rights of citizens
to participate in the uranium mining permitting
He showed the power of debate on the Texas
House floor by his persuasive argument for a bill
amendment that protected the rights of his constituents
and other citizens to fight for their communities.
As Rep. Escobar pointed out, his efforts
to protect the ability of citizens to participate
in uranium mining permitting decisions were important
to assuring the rights of citizens to participate
in all pollution control permitting decisions.
Rep. Stephen Frost ( Atlanta)
Rep. Frost was awarded the Sierra Club State Legislative
Service Award for “Water Resources” during
the 2007 session of the Texas Legislature. He was
a strong advocate for sensible water policies, including
the promotion of water conservation and protection
of rural water resources.
He made a gallant and
successful effort on the House floor to put the
Texas House on record in support of
conservation first before pursuing new water development
Rep. Frost exemplifies the best in a Texas
legislator – a public official who does his
homework, speaks eloquently on behalf of his constituents
and the public interest, conducts himself with honor,
and earns the respect of his colleagues.
Rep. Harvey Hilderbran ( Kerrville)
Rep. Hilderbran was granted the Sierra Club State
Legislative Service Award for “Texas State
Parks” for his work on state parks funding
during the 2007 regular session of the Texas Legislature.
Without his commitment to this issue over the past
three state legislative sessions, parks advocates
would not have been successful this session in getting
a major increase in funding to address the crisis
in our state parks.
Rep. Hilderbran became convinced several years ago of the need to invest
more money in the Texas state parksystem but found his efforts
hampered by the state’s overall financial
picture at the time.
He put the issue on the legislative
agenda at that time, however, and then continued
to build support for increased funding over the
next two legislative sessions, culminating in this
Rep. Donna Howard ( Austin)
Rep. Howard received the Sierra Club State Legislative
Service Award for “New Leadership for the
Environment” during the 2007 session of the
As a new state representative
(elected first in a special election in 2006) she
demonstrated extraordinary leadership in advocating
for the state park system and other land conservation
initiatives and in co-founding the new bipartisan
Clean Air Caucus in the state legislature.
Howard’s work during the past year has been a great example of someone “hitting the deck
running.” She has shown an incredible amount
of skill, intelligence, and dedication in carrying
out her legislative responsibilities and in being
a strong new voice for environmental protection.
Rep. Joe Straus III ( San Antonio)
Rep. Straus received the Sierra Club State Legislative
Service Award for “Energy Efficiency” for
his work on this issue during the 2007 regular session
of the Texas Legislature.
Through his hard work
and commitment he became the lead person in the
effort to pass meaningful legislation to move the
state forward on energy efficiency, a critical component
of what is needed for a comprehensive state energy
His major accomplishment in this realm
was the passage of HB 3693, which included provisions
on a variety of energy efficiency initiatives
and requirements on utilities, state government agencies,
local governments, and school districts that
will be implemented over the next several years.
Congratulations to the Winners
The Sierra Club congratulates all of the winners
of the 2007 Legislative Service Awards. There were
many legislators who deserve recognition for their
work on environmental protection and related issues
this past session. The six award winners exemplify
the growing commitment to the environment on the
part of many Texas legislators.