By Greg Ritchie
CROCKETT – Congressman Kevin Brady, U.S. Representative for Texas’ 8th Congressional District was one of several guests at the quarterly membership luncheon held by the Crockett Area Chamber of Commerce.
The event, held Wednesday, Sept. 7, took place in the entry hall of the Crockett Civic Center. Lunch was provided by the Moosehead Cafe.
Brian Aiken, Assistant Superintendent for the Crockett Independent School District (CISD) led the group in prayer. Julie Lehr, Marketing and Human Resource Manager for Crockett Medical Center, led the pledge of allegiance.
Crockett Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Liza Clark welcomed the guests, including Congressman Brady, Houston County Judge Jim Lovell, Crockett Mayor Ianthia Fisher, CEIDC Director James Gentry, Justice of the Peace Precinct One candidate Kevin Jonson and CISD Superintendent John Emerich – along with members of the chamber itself.
Congressman Brady remembered his long ties to Houston County.
“I just really came here to say two things. Thank you for allowing me to serve you so many years. I am not out the door yet! You hired me to serve you until January and we have a lot yet to do,” Congressman Brady told the crowd. “We have a lot of problems in Washington, D.C. that you need to be represented on. It has been a joy to serve for 26 years now. I represented Houston County and Crockett as well. I got a call from this building 32 years ago – telling me the votes in Houston County and letting me know we had squeaked by and won. Houston County has been a joy to be and it’s been a joy to represent you.”
Brady once ran a chamber of commerce himself and applauded the efforts of the local businesses in working together with community leaders.
“Keep up the great work,” Brady said. “Every growing community needs a really vital chamber of commerce. Having the small businesses community come together, having the support of the mayor, the support of our county judge and commissioners and other community leaders is really key. You are leaving your mark and shaping the future. We are really fortunate to have Liza here. I was a Chamber of Commerce Manager for 18 years before I went to Congress. I did the same job as Liza, just not as well – so they sent me to Congress.”
CISD Superintendent John Emerich took the floor next to give an update on progress in Crockett schools.
“Liza asked me to come today and say a few words about a month ago, but I didn’t know I was going to be ‘The Speaker’ for this event,” Emerich joked.
Emerich explained some of the progress he has made integrating the school district with the rest of Crockett.
“When I first took over this position, one of the biggest things I heard was sometime in the past the school district, the city and the county had not really worked together,” Emerich said. “I made it my commitment to not continue that. The reality is, when we are doing something good for the school and for our students – it’s also going to be good for the city – and for the county. We are forming a strong relationship with the community that is benefitting the schools – and the community.”
Emerich outlined some of the achievements at Crockett schools, from grant monies used to fund real-world training for students – to security measures and the master teacher program. Emerich also told the crowd he had taken over right in the midst of the COVID pandemic. He said things were only now beginning to get back to normal – with occasional stomach bugs bothering the kids more than anything else.
Awards were given to several local business for their achievements in the third quarter and nominations were submitted for an open seat on the chamber’s board of directors.
Greg Ritchie can be reached at [email protected]