By: Jessica Shorten
Montgomery County’s gained a new state representative position in 2022 through redistricting as House District 18 took over a large portion of East Montgomery County. Long-time Silsbee resident Janis Holt is one of the candidates seeking to be the face of the district.
Holt is a 7 ½ year member of the Silsbee ISD School Board, and in 2019 was appointed to a 6-year term on the State Commission on Judicial Conduct by Governor Greg Abbott. Involved at numerous levels within the Texas Federation of Republican Women, Holt is confident in her ability to promote Republican principles and legislation if elected.
One of Holt’s primary priorities is education, especially when it comes to the quality and funding of public schools.
“COVID [hindered] the quality of education…we have really done a disservice to our children over the last 2 years. I’m just very concerned that we are not going to be able to get the kids caught up effectively and efficiently,” said Holt. “We need to continue to give resources to our school districts in order to be able to try and mediate that.”
The main method for funding public education is through property taxes, which has been a steady source of income for school districts but can be a bigger burden on the taxpayers.
Holt stated, “Public education has always by the government, and it’s important to be funded by the government. So, we have to make sure the source of the funding is something that’s going to be consistent. My personal taxes went up, but the appraisal value of my property also went way up.”
However, Holt explained that property taxes themselves are not something easily eliminated, “Obviously we can’t just stop property taxes, there’s got to be a graduated system where we get it to where we are funded by a different source. Whether it’s a consumption tax or a flat tax that would be something that once I’m in the legislature I want to have conversations about.”
Another major issue which has concerned residents is the attempted placement of a 635-acre landfill in San Jacinto county, bordering Montgomery County. A measure Holt is in strong opposition to, “It does not make sense to me that we are going to put this landfill in the position where if we have flooding…it’s going to go into our water table anyway in runoff from a landfill this size, but it’s also going to go downstream.”
Holt explained she would request that the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality hold more public hearings on the issue and make public studies regarding the impact of the landfill on local areas.
The growing nature of Montgomery County and the surrounding area means a focus on mobility is necessary in order to accommodate the increased traffic, something Holt explained she would work heavily on as well.
“You have to look at [mobility] from an eagle’s eye. How can we make all of this work in order to increase the flow of traffic,” said Holt. “It starts with having TxDOT and the engineers out there looking at the situation, monitoring it, so we can make the changes we need to move forward in the future.”
You can view the full video of the interview below: