Horsemen's Capitol Visit on April 11 Makes an Impression

Texans for Economic Development (TED) organized a horsemen's day at the Texas Capitol on Wednesday, April 11th, and the event was a rousing success. Over 70 horsemen turned out to spend some quality time in the Capitol urging our elected officials to support video lottery terminals (VLTs) at racetracks, and the large presence of horsemen in the Capitol building definitely made an impression.

Horsemen met at the Doubletree Hotel in downtown Austin for breakfast and a briefing by Texans for Economic Development before making their way over to the Capitol building wearing "Keep Texas Running" buttons and equipped with printed information they could leave with Representatives and their staff members.

The horsemen set out in groups for the Capitol, and each group visited several elected officials from their home district and nearby areas. In addition to talking to legislators about video lottery terminals, horsemen were able to tell their own individual stories as examples of why the racing industry in Texas so desparately needs to be allowed to compete on a level playing field with surrounding states. These personal stories are a wonderful way to make a real impression on your own local legislators.

The sheer number of people walking the Capitol halls wearing "Keep Texas Running" buttons on April 11 was enough to make an impression on legislators and their staffs. In fact, some horsemen were approached in the halls by staff members from offices that had not yet been visited wanting to know what the buttons were for because they were seeing them everywhere.

While there is no question that it is not easy for horsemen to take a day to visit the State Capitol to visit legislators, enough thanks cannot go out to those horsemen and women who made sacrifices to do just that on April 11. The significant turnout, the personal stories, and the informed and respectful conversations made a favorable impression on many legislators and their staffs, and it helped to reinforce in the Capitol building that all segments of the Texas racing industry are united and working together on this effort - something that has historically been very rare.

If you were not able to attend our horsemen's day at the Capitol on the 11th, there will be other opportunities to show your support in person at the Capitol. We will keep you informed when such opportunities arise.

In addition, if you have not already, we urge you to write and/or call your local legislators expressing your support for legislation that would allow video lottery terminals at Texas racetracks.

If you do not know who your legislators are or how to reach them, you can find that information out easily in the Political Action Center at In fact, you can use that website to help craft and send a letter directly to your legislators.

Remember that as a constituent, you have the ability to make more of an impression on your local legislator than any group or lobbyist. Every phone call and letter and e-mail is important in helping us reach our goal of passing legislation that will allow Texas racing to compete fairly with racing in our surrounding states.


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