Buckingham looks to future in Texas Senate

By Glynis Crawford Smith

The Highlander

Dr. Dawn Buckingham took her oath of office today, Jan. 10, as the new senator for Texas District 24 and she shared time yesterday for telephone interviews with the press.

She succeeds Sen. Troy Fraser of Horseshoe Bay after coming out on top of five Republican candidates, besting Rep. Susan King in the run off and swamping Democrat Virginia Leeder of Llano 214,568 to 81,836, statewide in November.

“We really appreciate Sen. Fraser's years of service,” said Buckingham. “Those are big shoes to fill and he has worked with me to make a smooth transition and make sure the district is represented well throughout the transitional period.”

In District 24 that are includes the counties of Burnet, Lampasas, Llano, Blanco, San Saba, Comanche, Gillespie, Brown, Bandera, Bell, Callahan, Coryell, Hamilton, Kerr, Mills, and parts of Taylor and Travis.

“We put almost 70,000 miles on my truck in a year and a half of campaigning,” said Buckingham. “We think you will see us serving like we campaigned.

“We want folks to know what we are doing and to be engaged in the process. We want to keep hearing from them.”

None of that will take place until after she is sworn in as Senator Buckingham—no committee assignments, not even a mailing address for the three new members of the senate.

“Each senator serves on four or five committees,” she said. “We have turned in our requests, but we serve at the pleasure of the lieutenant governor (Dan Patrick).”

A former school trustee, education was high on Buckingham's campaign message, but her interests are broader.

“They mirror the district,” she said. “My interests include water, agricultural affairs, health and human services, veterans; there are lots of areas where we can make a positive impact.”

Part of that impact will be government reduction says the former appointee to the Sunset Commission, that aimed at reduced the size of government and increased efficiency of government services.

“What I hear when I talk to people in Marble Falls and Burnet is that government costs too much in taxes and intrudes too much on their personal lives,” said Buckingham.

She used as examples teachers belabored by standardized testing and a requirement in her own medical practice to replace one proven sterilization method with another at a cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

“Surgeons operate with scalpels, so we are looking for ways to go in and cut out spending,” she said.

At the same time, Buckingham wants to improve education and social services. In the area of health and mental health care in rural areas she repeated commitment to what she calls “patient-centered” health care—what is best for the patient.

Buckingham conceded accessibility to care is a serious problem in rural areas and among the economically disadvantaged and mentally ill.

As to how “patient-centered” care might play out against the problems of accessibility, she said,

“I think it will be a combination of approaches. I think we will have a friend in the incoming administration to come up with unique ways to meet the needs.”

Rate this article: 
Average: 5 (1 vote)