Dozen of speakers provided a closer look on the growing markets affecting Houston’s economy at the Houston Northwest Chamber of Commerce’s Economic Outlook Forum on Friday, April 1.
Keynote speaker Commissioner R. Jack Cagle gave a brief overview of what is happening in Precinct 4 and Harris County. Cagle received applause for sharing why his job at the event was easy, which is to brag about what is going on in Precinct 4.
“When you live in the best Precinct, which is Precinct 4, the best county, Harris County and the best state, the state of Texas and the best country, the United States and the best world, earth and God’s great galaxy, it’s an easy job,” he said.
Other speakers included leaders sharing their views from a perspective from Washington. U.S. Reps. Kevin Brady, Ted Poe and Sheila Jackson Lee provided insights on ways to boost the local economy and what lies ahead for Houston.
Poe spoke about legislation on human trafficking, and natural gas and its relation to the Port of Houston, a major part of the region’s economy.
“The Port of Houston is responsible for 50 percent of the economy of the Houston area, and about 50 percent of this is related to energy … not necessary fuel. Half of our economy comes from the Port of Houston and we are an export port, we sell and ship things,” he said.
Brady discussed job recovery and what needs to be done to get people back into the workforce. The economy adding new jobs is good, said Brady, but it is still not good enough.
“We are missing 6 million jobs for the economy and 40,000 American jobs are gone and will never come back,” he said.
After speaking on the panel, Jackson Lee and Brady spoke with media regarding controversial issues. Addressing a question regarding affordable healthcare, Brady said “Obamacare” does not benefit the majority of the people.
“I think Obamacare has helped some but it has hurt many others who are not able to see their local doctors. People who have these plans have high deductibles and co-pays which they simply cannot pay. I think there is a better way to provide healthcare.”
Addressing the same question, Lee gave her viewpoint on why she believes the Affordable Care Act is helping and not hurting the economy.
Lee said they can be more effective by lowering the cost of prescription drugs, healthcare costs such as doctor visits and other hospital expenses. She stated how they are working on changing these things but overall the results of the ACA speaks for itself.
“I think actions speak louder than words; 20 million new people now have health insurance because of the Affordable Care Act,” she said.