Panhandle Leaders Lobby Lawmakers

Issues crucial to west Texas took center stage in Austin today as area leaders lobbied legislators. 

Newschannel 10's Marissa Bagg explains what may come out of todays efforts.

Whether our leaders were lobbying for wind energy or education programs, what they really want from the Legislature is money - and lots of it. 

$1.5 million is needed to jump-start a nurse simulator center that will help get people through nursing school much quicker - and ready to handle an increasing population.     

"Right now we have a nursing shortage and it's going to get worse because in the next few years a lot of nurses are reaching retirement age, so we are trying to get funding for a nurse simulator," says John Teague, with the Amarillo Chamber of Commerce.

Eminent domain and funding state parks in west Texas are other places Teague hopes the money flows.

Producing more wind energy is also a top priority... As well as transporting it to other cities for profit.

"You build the farms, there's lots of construction, farmers get to lease land, so it's win win for everyone in the panhandle and south plains," says Teague.

This was the first year Lubbock and the panhandle area teamed up their efforts in Austin to draw attention to west Texas and we're told it worked well.

"It sends the message that west Texas is important to the economy of the state, and the people out here and willing to work and help out in any way that we can," says Teague.

"We all got along and agreed it's very important to bring our issues together again the strength in numbers," says Madison Scott, Amarillo City Commissioner.

Along with the nursing center, building an engineering program at WTAMU is on the area's wish list.

If the funding comes in those programs could be ready by Spring of 2008.