By: Jessica Shorten
Through redistricting this year, Montgomery County gained a new State Representative in Ernest Bailes, who currently holds the House District 18 seat. With almost all of East Montgomery County now moving under HD 18, Bailes is hoping to earn his newest constituents’ trust to represent them in the Texas legislature.
As soon as the boundaries of HD 18 were officially determined, Representative Bailes began meeting with local law enforcement and community leaders in Precinct 4 to start understanding the needs of the area.
Despite being primarily rural, the areas within the boundaries of House District 18 are experiencing rapid growth. According to Bailes, the three fastest growing school districts in the next 10 years is set to be New Caney ISD, Splendora ISD, and Cleveland ISD, “It’s interesting to see how we have one of the still somewhat rural districts that has three of the fastest growing schools in the state.”
With that growth comes the need to keep up with infrastructure in the area. From new roads and drainage to electricity and high-speed internet, Rep. Bailes expressed he has been and will continue to work extensively with state and local leaders to ensure these needs are not only recognized, but addressed in a timely manner.
Rep. Bailes stated, “I’ve been working extensively with TxDOT on the process to make sure that we have adequate traffic studies to know what’s coming. Know what our bottlenecks are to be able to address those, and working with our Commissioners, who are a big part of that equation.”
Education has been a hot topic over the past few years with regards to funding and curriculum. According to Rep. Bailes, “We have an issue we need to address to make sure that we are not clouding education with politics. However, with some of the legislation to correct that, we go so far we limit the ability of the teachers to truly teach…because that’s one thing as a legislature that I don’t think we should do, and that’s take away local control.”
One of the most exciting aspects for Bailes as House District 18 shifted in redistricting was getting the chance to represent new areas which are similar to the people he has represented for the past four years, “I know for a long time East Montgomery County was in a unique situation where you always felt like you were playing second fiddle to Conroe proper,...with the new district, I’m in San Jacinto County where we are a little over 27,000 [in population], and you guys are at about 28,000. So there is nothing second fiddle about East Montgomery County.”
You can view the full video of the interview below: