Palestine Magazine January 2019 - Page 9

to Serve District 8 New state Rep. Cody Harris is grateful, ready to serve Sworn in to office on Jan. 8, newly elected Texas State Rep. Cody Harris (R-Palestine) is grateful to his supporters, and ready to serve everyone in District 8. He called his first experience in the state House of Representatives emotional and overwhelming. “It’s hard to put into words,” Harris said. “Looking up at the speaker’s dais; seeing the portrait of Sam Houston; standing by the Texas flag that flew at the Battle of San Jacinto. It’s humbling.” Harris, 35, won the general election in November, defeating Democratic candidate Wesley Ratcliff. Harris succeeds outgoing Rep. Byron Cook (R-Corsicana), who stepped down after 16 years in the House. After winning the election, Harris focused on putting together a staff of eager, like-minded people to help him navigate the political waters of Austin. With a chief of staff, legislative director, district director, and an intern, Harris said he was glad he selected his team early. “Freshman representatives don’t get the keys to their offices until the Saturday before being sworn in,” he said. “It was a mad rush, getting ready and meeting constituents, once I got my keys on the fifth.” Preparations for his first foray into state politics was a family affair, Harris said. “We were as prepared as we could be,” he said. “However, I don’t think anyone could be fully prepared for a job such as this.” Having finished freshman orientation shortly before the holiday season, Harris celebrated Christmas with his family. He could finally focus on them, instead of campaign craziness. Harris’ wife, Taylor, their four children, uncles, aunts, and many other family members and friends attended Harris’ swearing-in ceremony. “I was honored to bring my kids into the House,” Harris said. “It was great to be able to provide them a front-row seat to government, and to let them know first-hand what service looks like.” Harris said his new life as a representative is hectic. Still, he intends to return to Palestine every weekend, at least, when House is not in session. Coming up on Harris’ agenda: a trip to the southern border to inspect for himself the immigration crisis that led to a partial shutdown of the federal government. “As a state representative, I have little-to-no say in federal decisions,” he said. “But I can inspect and make suggestions to the people who can make a difference.” Harris also said he intends to report to his constituents what he saw at the border, rather than have them depend solely on televised news and social media. “I work for the people of District 8,” Harris said. “It is an incredible honor to not only serve but also serve the town in which I grew up.” Photo by PennyLynn Webb JANUARY 2019 9