Marilyn Tennissen Nov. 29, 2014, 6:00pm

The Austin-based online news site The Texas Tribune paid a visit to Beaumont recently to host a forum with three of the area’s lawmakers.

Answering questions at Lamar University on Feb. 19 were state representatives Joe Deshotel (D-Beaumont), James White (R-Woodville) and Allan Ritter (R-Nederland).

Moderated by Evan Smith, CEO and Editor-In-Chief of the Texas Tribune, the lawmakers discussed the 83rd Texas Legislative Session and ideas for the future.

On the topic of water, Ritter said the droughts that have hit the state in the past several years have highlighted the importance of a long-range plan for the water systems in Texas. There is a plan for the next 50 years, but no mechanism for funding, he said.

Deshotel said solving the problems with rifts in the Beaumont Independent School District are among his top priorities. Relating to health care, Deshotel said he thinks turning away non-citizens will only lead to an unhealthy society and that brings additional costs.

White said the Texas Constitution mandates that the Legislature provide adequate public education, and he would support increased funding for Texas schools.

The event was sponsored by Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Texas and Lamar University, and presented by Texas Mutual, AT&T, Christus Health, BP and Texas A&M University as part of the Texas Tribune Events Series.

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