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My Record for Southeast Texas

  • As Speaker of the House, Dade slashed property taxes by $18 billion – the largest state property tax cut in history.


  • Dade provided tax relief for the small businesses of Southeast Texas by establishing an appraisal cap on commercial and non-homesteaded properties. He also raised the earnings threshold for the state franchise tax, enabling small businesses to take home more of their hard-earned profits.

  • Dade has been a longtime fighter for Southeast Texas taxpayers, empowering them to use their voice at the ballot box. In 2019, he supported and helped pass legislation to trigger an automatic election any time local governments attempt to raise property taxes by a certain amount.


  • He also sponsored and passed a bill to enhance transparency for local taxing entities by requiring them to write clear, detailed ballot language for any proposed bonds or tax increases. His bill required each proposal to be put up for a vote individually, with language that details each bond’s purpose and the potential tax increases if approved.

  • Ports: As Speaker, Dade Phelan invested in our ports with more money than ever in state history.  He passed a bill that included $200 million for state ports, including $66 million for the four ports in Southeast Texas. Over $18 million was dedicated for the Port of Orange, which will be a huge boon for the maritime and global trade industries of HD 21.


  • Water: Dade spearheaded the establishment of the Texas Water Development Fund and Texas Water Fund, which included a $1 billion down payment on Texas’ critical water infrastructure to address today’s water needs and build a supply to meet the demands of Texas’ growing population.


  • Rural Broadband: As Speaker, Dade passed a $5 billion investment in rural broadband to increase internet connectivity across the state, particularly in rural and underserved areas. In 2019, Dade supported rural broadband legislation that gave Jasper County $13 million in aid for internet access – the most of all 254 Texas counties. This substantial investment will improve internet reliability in Southeast Texas, which is crucial for everyone from students to workers who are increasingly dependent on online connectivity.


  • Energy: Dade set aside $1 billion in funding for non-ERCOT utilities (like in HD 21), to help pay for resiliency and reliability projects that will help keep the lights on during and after a hurricane.


Disaster Recovery & Coastal Protections
  • After Hurricane Harvey, Dade was on the ground to help our community assess and rebuild from the damage. He was responsible for flying in airplanes of supplies ranging from bottled water, baby formula, food, clothing and more.


  • After Harvey, Dade passed bills creating the Texas Infrastructure Resiliency Fund (TIRF) and the Flood Infrastructure Fund (FIF) to finance flood mitigation, protection and planning projects and improve capabilities to better manage flood risks in Southeast Texas. Dade’s bills were declared to be emergency items by Governor Abbott.


  • In the post-Harvey session, Dade authored and passed a bill requiring the state to develop a catastrophic debris management plan that addressed the issues and delays our community faced when removing debris after Harvey and will expedite debris removal in future disasters. 


  • As Speaker, Dade passed a budget that appropriated over $1 billion for coastal barrier and storm surge protection efforts, including the “Ike Dike”.


  • Dade also passed a bill to end vehicle registration fees for commercial vehicles that are owned by nonprofit disaster relief organizations and used for emergency services, the transportation of supplies and other disaster relief activities.


  • Following the 2023 Jasper County wildfires, Dade was on the ground to help local officials respond. He helped secure tens of thousands of dollars in charity donations to help the community rebuild, in addition to securing donations and supplies for those displaced from their homes. In 2024, as Speaker, Dade created a new House Investigative Committee to study factors that contribute to the spread of wildfires, necessary firefighting resources, and the coordination between local, state and federal entities in wildfire disaster prevention and response.


Higher Education
  • Dade has been a longtime fighter for our local higher education institutions, making sure that all campuses of the Lamar system have had the funding needed to remain competitive and support our local economy with a skilled labor force.


  • Since he was first elected, Dade has secured over $275 million in state funding for the Lamars. This funding has allowed them to reduce tuition for students by 50% (to a rate of $1,770 per semester) in addition to enhancing the quality of its academic programs and building and renovating facilities across the four Lamar campuses.


Local Economy
  • Dade prioritized and passed the “Texas Economic Development Act”, a program to encourage businesses to relocate to and invest in Southeast Texas, creating more high-paying permanent jobs and providing a boost to our local industries.


  • Dade has been a strong advocate for companies to invest in Southeast Texas, including Optimus Steel, which announced its decision to invest $40 million in expanding its Orange County facility with the support of Speaker Phelan in 2021.


  • Dade has also been a fighter for our local energy industry. In 2024, he confronted the Biden Administration after their disastrous decision to pause pending Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) projects, which will directly impact the Golden Pass and Port Arthur LNG terminals currently under construction, disrupting the creation of hundreds of Southeast Texas jobs and the significant investment to our communities.


  • Dade passed a bill to create the Texas Hydrogen Production Policy Council to further hydrogen energy development in Texas. Southeast Texas is the heart and soul of hydrogen production in the state, meaning more places will be looking to us as their industry leader as they move towards decarbonization.


  • Dade significantly bolstered the Golden Triangle’s seafood industry and other local economies reliant on shrimping by passing a bill to create a shrimpers offloading license for non-Texas commercial shrimpers, a breakthrough initiative that injected an additional 1 million pounds of shrimp into the Texas economy.


  • Dade passed a bill that successfully ended with the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department reducing the slot limit for largemouth bass from 14 inches to 12 inches, bringing revenue from high school and college tournaments, positive exposure and tourism to Southeast Texas.


  • Dade established a grant program under the Texas Workforce Commission encouraging companies to develop their workforce by offering earn-while-you-learn apprenticeship programs.


  • Dade Phelan passed legislation allowing Orange County to use its Hotel Occupancy Tax revenue for certain infrastructure enhancements that have bolstered local tourism in the county.


  • Dade has also been a fierce opponent of rate hikes by the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA).


  • Dade appropriated over $70 million in funding for Baptist Hospitals of Southeast Texas to build a new mental health facility in the Golden Triangle.


  • Dade passed a bill to guarantee healthcare coverage for new moms and their babies for a full year, whereas they were previously only covered for 60 days. Dade is also working with local officials to restore access to prenatal care and labor and delivery services in Jasper County, which has been without since 2019.


  • Dade passed a law to eliminate the sales tax for feminine products, diapers, baby wipes and bottles, maternity clothes and breastfeeding supplies, making it easier for Texas families to pay their bills and raise a family.


  • For too long, the veterans of House District 21 have needed to travel long distances to receive healthcare. In response, Dade has made personal appeals to Presidents Donald Trump and Joe Biden, members of Congress and the VA to build a new VA health clinic in the Golden Triangle and will continue to push the VA to do so until the project is completed.


  • Dade passed a bill making it easier for Jefferson County to draw more federal money into the local healthcare system by helping local hospitals get reimbursed for services they provide to the community, particularly to those who can’t afford to pay for care. This legislation means better healthcare services and access to care for everyone in the Golden Triangle, without adding financial strain onto patients.

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