By Julie Vaughan
A bi-annual tradition in Van Zandt County is a trip toAustin, this year set for February 19-20.
The purpose of the trip is for citizens to travel together and meet with their representatives, while in session, to discuss issues that affect the county and voice their concerns.
Council ofVanZandtCountyCommunities Visions President C.A. Cockrell said although many believe the group taking the trip is only a part of a political group, he assured thatVisions is an “apolitical group.”
“We not only meet with our legislators, but we also get to do various things around the Capitol,” Cockrell explained. “We get in one or two short briefings and this year we’ve asked to see someone from the Attorney General’s office or the Governor’s office and the Department of Education, and let the citizens talk to those people.”
Additionally, Cockrell said Van Zandt County citizens are recognized on the floors of the House and Senate, and a proclamation is presented to them by representatives. There is also a Pastor of the Day for the Senate and House who opens the session with prayer.
VanZandtCountywill also host a reception honoring Senator Bob Deuell and Representative Dan Flynn in the Senate and have the opportunity to send out invitations to every legislator. During the reception, citizens will have an opportunity to talk to each attending about various things of concern.
In addition, theVanZandtCountyChoir will perform in the Capitol Rotunda at noon on the first day.
“TheVanZandtCountyChoir brings everyone to a standstill,” Cockrell said. “They do a tremendous job.”
Choir members are needed and anyone interested is asked to contact John Ross at (972) 757-7771.
On the second day, those attending will have an opportunity to tour the Capitol, and Cockrell said he is hoping to get a Governor’s mansion tour in the list of things on tap.
Additionally, there is a tour of the Capitol on the itinerary.
Cockrell said those traveling with the group can either follow along with the list of things scheduled or venture off on their own excursions.
“We want anyone to go down toAustinwith us who is interested,” Cockrell said. “It is a great time to bring people together.”
A bus will be chartered for anyone interested in attending to travel with the group toAustinand rooms will be booked at the Doubletree Inn.
Anyone interested in attending VanZandtCountyDays in Austinshould contact Karen Samples at (214) 534-8990 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org by January 18.
Business sponsors are also being sought to help cover expenses for the reception, choir and travel. Those sponsors will be recognized at the reception and on programs. Any businesses interested are also encouraged to contact Samples at the above contact information.