By JOEY GOMEZ
Published: Tuesday, January 12, 2010 1:54 PM CST
Texas House Speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, nominated Rep. Aaron Pena, D-Edinburg, on Tuesday to lead the state's newest committee for preparation and response to natural and man-made disasters.
Pena has been selected to chair the House Select Committee on Emergency Preparedness, which will gauge the state's preparedness level for major disasters, including those resulting from natural catastrophes and acts of terrorism.
The committee will review whether progress has been made based on previous studies regarding emergencies.
"The committee will take a comprehensive look at Texas' current level of emergency preparedness and where we can improve to help ensure we keep Texans safe," Straus said in a statement.
Peña said he intends to review all the protocols and procedures, as well as testimony from experts to make sure the state is prepared for the next natural or man-made disaster.
"As Texans, as we confront this new age post-911, and the hurricanes we have to deal with, I think it's an important challenge that has to be taken," Pena said Tuesday. "We have to be prepared, whether it's a hurricane or concerns about some of the human element on the border. It's my intention that we pay the focus that it needs and deserves."
Speaker Straus has appointed Pena to chair the committee and Rep. Mike Hamilton R-Mauriceville, to serve as vice chair.
The committee members include Representatives Frank Corte, Jr. (R-San Antonio), Harold Dutton (D-Houston), Joe Farias (D-San Antonio), Stephen Frost (D-Atlanta), Rick Hardcastle (R-Vernon), Tryon Lewis (R-Odessa), Mark Strama (D-Austin), Larry Taylor (R-Friendswood) and Allen Vaught (D-Dallas).