D’Hanis, Texas a
small, rural, agricultural community of only 846 people (U.S.
Census Bureau ).
This is where I have lived all my 16 years, being active in my school and
church and planning for my future. Living
in this small community, over a thousand miles from Washington D.C, it may not
seem that decisions and legislation passed could directly affect me, but that
is not the case. If I had a chance to
sit down with my federal legislators, I would want to ask them questions about issues
that may affect me. One question is
regarding the North American Free Trade Agreement or NAFTA. Growing
up on a ranch and raising Angus cattle is a vital part of my life and many ranchers
in my community. I would ask our federal legislators, “What is being done to ensure
the United States does not fully withdraw from NAFTA?” According to Texas Farm Bureau President
Russel Boening, a full withdrawal of the United States from NAFTA would
devastate the entire agricultural community and our nation. Just last year Texas agricultural exports to
Mexico and Canada alone totaled to more than 38 billion dollars with beef
exports to Mexico totaling 142 million dollars (Tomascik). My Angus cattle
herd may not be a billion-dollar business, but I have been able to earn some
money for my future. Losing the trade
opportunities with Mexico and Canada could have a negative effect on the
agriculture industry which would affect my community and myself.
I have been saving my
earnings from my cattle for my future and a big part of my future plans is
attending college. Another issue that
affects me is the rising cost of college tuition. This issue or legislation is
decided not in Washington D.C. but much closer to home in Austin. So I would ask
my state legislators, “What is being done to stop the rise of college tuition
and make attending college more affordable?” In the
past 15 years, the average tuition and fees for a semester at a Texas public
university has more than doubled from well under $2,000 to well over
$4,000. The statewide tuition average went up by 147%
between 2002 and 2015 (Daniel). The
increasing cost of attending college will directly affect me in a short 2 years
when I graduate from high school and begin my college education. I hope that this will be addressed in the
next legislative session so that obtaining a college degree does not mean
obtaining a lot of debt which is a big problem right now.
NAFTA and the rising
cost of college tuition are 2 very different issues but they are issues that
may have a big effect on my future, my community and nation and I will continue
to watch to see what is being done about them.