Another potential Republican presidential candidate is drawing attention in Texas.
Supporters of the potential candidate, Dr. Ben Carson, gathered last week for the major spiritual conference, Restoring All Things, at The Hills Church of Christ in North Richland Hills.
Volunteers supporting Carson set up a booth to promote the former Fox News contributor and retired neurosurgeon.
Carson, who has said he will announce his political plans May 4, came in second in the 2016 presidential straw poll held last year at the Texas Republican Party’s state convention in Fort Worth. U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz came in first.
What a combo
As the Texas House prepared to debate two controversial bills last week — the anti-fracking measure and a proposal to let Texans openly carry holstered handguns throughout the state — talk about both proposals grew.
Inside the chamber, some members already had a nickname for those involved in the issues: “Frackers and Packers.”
‘Disapproved’ congressional travel
It seems that there was going to be another Texan on that Inhofe-led boondoggle, er, codel.
U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Tyler, was supposed to be on that trip and at the last minute, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, booted him from it.
The speaker has to approve all congressional delegations, and in what was clearly retaliation for all of Gohmert’s rebelliousness, including running against Boehner for speaker, he got cut from the trip. He was also cut from another trip, said Kimberly Willingham, Gohmert’s communications director.
“He was going to Egypt with Dana Rohrabacher to meet with their friend, President el-Sisi, but his participation was disapproved after all arrangements were made,” Willingham said, referring to the California Republican congressman and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. “He was also going to Africa with Sen. Inhofe and others on a military plane but the Speaker’s office disapproved the trip.”
In floor remarks before Congress left for the Easter recess, Gohmert talked about how it was important to talk to foreign leaders in the Middle East but “the speaker won’t allow me to go overseas to talk to them.”
“I’m fine with that,” Gohmert said. “Because he canceled my trip this weekend, I’m going to be on Fox News, so thank you, Mr. Speaker.”
Fort Worth’s energy efficiency
Fort Worth was recognized last week by the Energy Department for its work in the national program Better Buildings Challenge, cutting energy use by 8 percent across 19 million square feet of public and private-sector buildings since 2009.
Dr. Kathleen Hogan, deputy assistant secretary for energy efficiency in the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, led an energy roundtable with Fort Worth officials, saying other cities can learn from Fort Worth’s model.
“How did Fort Worth move forward to get as far as you have? Which is really very far, it is great. How did you do it? So we have been working with the Fort Worth team to build out its implementation model in a way that other communities can really follow,” Hogan said. “It is really a pathway.”
The city is on track to meet a 10-year goal to reduce energy use by 20 percent by 2020.
The city has invested $35 million in energy-saving upgrades and reduced electricity consumption by 39 percent, cutting electricity bills by $2.5 million yearly, according to a news release.
Staff writer Caty Hirst contributed to this report.
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Anna M. Tinsley, 817-390-7610