Toll Roads in Texas

Austin, TX - Friday, May 5, 2017. Texas taxpayers can breathe a sigh of relief tonight as a bipartisan effort to defeat expansion of private toll roads in Texas went down in flames by a vote of 79-51 in the Texas House. Taxpayer champions Rep. Jeff Leach (R - Plano), Rep. Jonathan Stickland (R - Bedford), and Rep. Joe Pickett (D - El Paso) led the floor fight, noting 90% of Democrats and 95% of Republicans oppose new toll roads in Texas, and both party platforms oppose privatized toll roads in particular. Governor Greg Abbott promised to fix Texas roads without new tolls or debt, and the Texas House delivered on that promise today by killing Rep. Larry PhillipsHB 2861.

Representatives Pickett and Stickland made impassioned speeches opposing the bill. Leach emphasized both party platforms oppose this type of toll project and that the voters just gave the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) $5 billion a year in new funding by passing Proposition 1 and Proposition 7. 

He asked the bill's author, "Why do we need this bill now?"

Then Leach directly asked Pickett whether or not the House needed to pass HB 2861 to get the projects done, and he answered with a firm, 'No.'

Stickland bluntly argued the reason why he's now serving in the House is because his predecessor Todd Smith voted to turn 183 and 121 into toll roads that devastated his community. He intimated that voters took out their vengeance by electing a new representative. 

"My constituents hate it," asserted Stickland, referring to the privatized toll roads that run through Ft. Worth that are locked into 50 year contracts operated by Spain-based Cintra. 
Pickett sounded the alarm about the need to draw a line in the sand, "If we don't stop it now, it's never going to stop."
He warned that passage of HB 2861 would dig the debt-toll road sinkhole even deeper and told his colleagues that Prop 1 and Prop 7 expire, and they're going to have to address the debt problem very soon. He also shared frustration that neither he nor the public has any idea where all this toll revenue is going. It lacks transparency and gets eaten up by the toll road bureaucracies, or in this case, the private entities the public cannot hold accountable. 

"This is so people can make money," contended Pickett.

Terri Hall, Founder and Director of Texans Uniting for Reform and Reform (TURF) and Texans for Toll-free Highways hailed the defeat of HB 2861, "A bipartisan coalition swept the Rick Perry-era of toll roads aside, and today we officially started the Abbott era that firmly opposes new toll roads, especially privatized toll roads that give an exclusive right to a single company to extract the highest possible toll from the traveling public for a half century at a time."

JoAnn Fleming, Executive Director of Grassroots America agrees, "A broad coalition of groups across Texas made it clear that they would not tolerate the expansion of private toll roads and the corporate welfare they represent to continue to spread like a cancer across the Lone Star State. We applaud the work of our champions in the House and thank the Governor for his leadership in firmly setting a new course away from debt and toll roads and moving forward with a new fiscally responsible, sustainable future."
Roads in HB 2861: 
- I-35 in Austin, Dallas, and San Antonio
- I-45 in Houston
- Hwy 290 (Hempstead Tollway) Houston
- I-30 in Ft. Worth
- I-635 E in Dallas
- Loop 1604 in San Antonio
- 290 W in Austin (from MoPac to Oak Hill)
- South MoPac in Austin
- South Padre Island Second Access Causeway
- International Bridge Corridor Project
- Hidalgo County Loop project
- FM 1925 in Cameron & Hidalgo Counties
- Hwy 83 Hidalgo County
- Hwy 68 in Hidalgo County
- Outer Pkwy in Cameron County 
- Loop 49 in Tyler (two projects)

Hall concludes, "Special interests continue to push these 'innovative' financing schemes despite the public opposition because private toll contracts and design-build procurements drive up the cost to build, putting more money into the pockets of road builders at great expense to Texas taxpayers. Our elected representatives just said, 'No more.' You're not going to gouge our citizens just to get to work." 

Acknowledging Active Shooter Vest Donors for Upshur Law Enforcement

Special Thanks to the Active Shooter Vest Donors

for Upshur Law Enforcement



Jarom Teftteller, Attorney at Law
Phillips 66 West
Spencer Veterinary Services
John Dean CPA
TDR Contractors
Lloyds Body Shop
Strike Free Bail Bonds
Aldridge Cleaners
Turner Brothers Mortuary
First National Bank
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Webb Works
Custom Commodities
Matthew Patton, Attorney at Law
AllenMed Inc
Gilmer Computer Tech
Goosehead Insurance
Stanley Ford
Gilmer National Bank
Computer ER
Dr. Cherie Nazzal Animal Med & Surg Hosp
Hill Electric
Larry Henson
Peggy Garmon, Attorney at Law
Williams Furniture
HillTx Insurance Group
Computer Tech of East Tx
Stewart Insurance
DMC Properties
State Farm Insurance
Dwight Brannon, Attorney at Law
Gilmer Lumber Co
Commissioner Frank Berka
Commissioner Mike Spencer
CeCelia Squires
2 Anonymous donors




ET4L's 2nd Anniversary - THANK YOU for your continued support

Thursday, April 20, 2017
Stacy McMahan 903-500-2292



GILMER, TEXAS:  Grassroots Tea Party, EAST TEXANS FOR LIBERTY (ET4L) is celebrating their second year anniversary in Upshur County.

ET4L is an organized non-profit that services Upshur and Senate District 1, and promotes educational programs regarding legislation for the betterment of Texas families on faith, life, education, taxes and the like.

Officially formed in September of 2014, ET4L kicked off in April 2015 with former Florida U.S. Congressman, FOX News Contributor, & CEO of National Center of Policy Analysis, Lt. Col. Allen West. 

Throughout the group’s two years, ET4L has brought in programs ranging from the U.S. Constitution, a monthly ‘Founding Father’ Series, border security, Texas Carry, as well as many opportunities for Upshur and Senate District 1 voters to meet primary candidates from Congressional races, Texas Supreme and Appellate Court, Texas Legislature, to local races.

Some of ET4L’s speakers, in addition to Lt. Col. Allen West, have been Constitutional Attorney & Speaker, KrisAnne Hall, Major General John Furlow, Terry Holcomb with Texas Carry, Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, Ann Hettinger with Concerned Women for America, Nicole Hudgens with Texas Values Action, U.S. Congressman John Ratcliffe, U.S. Congressman Louie Gohmert, Upshur County Judge Dean Fowler, Upshur County Sheriff Larry Webb, and Rafael Cruz, father to Senator Ted Cruz.

PROJECT: ET4L has enjoyed their involvement with Robert Perry of BLU.Prepared in obtaining donations, from area businesses in Upshur, for Active Shooter Vests for Upshur County Sheriff’s Office, as well as all of the law enforcement in Upshur that have not yet purchased ASV’s.  UC Sheriff’s Office has received their 20, and the remaining 9 vests for UCs’ 4 Constables, 4 in Ore City and 1 in East Mountain have been ordered per Robert Perry with BLU.Prepared.

“Working with area businesses was such a joyful experience. It was definitely a worthy cause,” said ET4L President Stacy McMahan. “We have a couple of other projects we are working on. I’m especially excited about an annual Education Scholarship,” McMahan continues.

For the remainder of 2017, ET4L has some excellent speakers lined up. From Kevin Jackson, FOX News Contributor & The Blacksphere on May 8th, Election Integrity. (NOTE: ET4L is NOT promoting election fraud is occurring in Upshur or Gregg Counties, however, the Texas Election Code is not being adhered to throughout the state.), Texas 85th Legislative update to Congressman Louie Gohmert & Lt. Col. Allen West, in Gilmer.

ET4L does not collect any fees or dues for membership.  All funding for educational programs, projects and speakers come from donations or the group’s yearly fundraiser: Stars of Texas.

ET4L’s Executive Board is Stacy McMahan, Mary Anne Farrow, Brenda Evans, and David Watts.  ET4L has up to 13 different Committees chaired by a whole host of excellent Grassroots volunteers from Upshur.

ET4L thanks YOU, the voter, for your continued support.


The mission and purpose of East Texans for Liberty is to affect public policy at local, state and national levels consistent with the core values of constitutionally limited government, fiscal responsibility and free markets, to attract, educate, organize, and activate people of all ages to become involved in civic affairs, preserve these values through political action, and to work cooperatively with other like-minded groups.


ET4L Signs Direct Sales Grassroots Letter


Thank you, Lisa Gaines!

ET4L wishes to express our gratitude to Gilmer's
Lisa Gaines, owner of LadyFingers Cakes & Catering,
for donating scrumptious treats to
our monthly speakers.

The left is organized. It's time Conservatives are organized.

We, with East Texans for Liberty, are working with the Gregg County Republican Party to do a House District 7 call on very important issues concerning legislation for the safety of our children in restrooms, etc in our state. 

If you wish to have your number added to this call list, please write us at with your number and acceptance. 

If you have any questions, please call us at (903) 500-2292 or call or text at (903) 746-1044 mobile. 

85th Legislative Session - Supported Bills


  • SB 415 Perry & HB 844- prohibiting dismemberment
  • HB 948 Tinderholt – abolish abortion

*Protecting Religious Liberty

  • SB 24 Huffman- sermons
  • SB 6 Kolkhorst – “Bathroom bill” or “Privacy bill”
  • SB 651 Perry – can’t limit the ability to get license based on religious belief

*Securing the Grid

  • SB 83 Hall & HB 407 Tinderholt– protect the grid
  • HB 788 Parker – security advisory committee and $25 Million to be appropriated to from the general revenue fund to the Public Utility Commission of Texas.

*Election Integrity

  • HB 1271 Lang – uniform election dates
  • HB 1061 Rinaldi & HB 1072 Lang – closed primaries
  • SB 363 Perry & HB 151 Simmons – require preservation of ballot images and paper backups to electronic voting; make elections uniform

*Property Tax Reform

  • SB 2 Bettencourt – reform and relief, voter approval to raise taxes for over 4%
  • HB 1050 Swanson – abolish property tax

*Educational Freedom/Parental Choice

  • HB 1335 Simmons – Educational Savings Accounts for Special needs
  • SB 542 Bettencourt & HB 1184 Bohac – tax breaks for employers who provide scholarships and empower parents with more options for the education of their children
  • HJR Keough 62 & SJR 33 Huffines – Constitutional Amendment to protect private and home schools from state and local regulation

*Transportation Reform

  • HB 1050 Swanson – abolish it

Border Security

  • HB 1222 Rinaldi – business license suspension
  • HB 393 Stickland, HB 753 Keough & HB 767 Fallon – In-state Tuition
  • HB 889 Geren & HB 1308 Holland – sanctuary cities

*American Laws for American Courts

  • HB 45 Flynn/Leach/Burkett & HB 498 Fallon – clarify that a state court can not apply foreign law that would violate fundamental, constitutional rights

*Asset Forfeiture

  • SB 380 Burton

*Eminent Domain

  • SB 555 Kolkhorst – land grab & water

Intrastate Commerce Improvement

  • SB 92 Hall – ensure uniformity by local municipalities in line with state law on discrimination

Transparency at all levels of government

  • SB 137 Taylor – lobbying activities by state employees
  • HB 444 Fallon – creating a criminal offense to lobby by former members of the Texas Legislature

Constitutional Carry

  • HB 375 Stickland


  • SB 23 Schwertner – state contractors must utilize e-verify

* = ET4L supports and is watching closely


Secure the Grid

In accordance with:
  • 2016 Texas GOP platform, page 17;
  • 2016 National Republican Party platform, page 6; and
  • President of the United States, while President-Elect, on November 21, 2016, stated that he would ask, "the Department of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chief's of Staff to develop a comprehensive plan to protect America's vital infrastructure from cyber-attacks and all other forms of attack."
ET4L sent a letter, along with other conservatives across Texas, to Lt. Governor Dan Patrick expressing our strong support of the passage of Senator Bob Hall's SB 83.  Read the letter here or below.

S.B. 3 also known as "School Choice"


Lt. Governor Dan Patrick's Press Conference rolling out "School Choice."  Watch by clicking here.

S.B. 3 - An act relating to the establishment of an education savings account program and a tax credit scholarship and educational expense assistance program. Also known as "School Choice."  Read the text here

After a large number of requests, ET4L has scheduled Aaron Ceder, with Texans for Education Opportunity, to come and speak on Monday, April 24, 2017. Mr. Ceder has assured us that he will be able to address any and all questions pertaining to this bill.  See the details on this meeting here.

Below is a breakdown submitted by Texans for Education Opportunity.  A copy will be available at our next meeting on February 13, 2017. 

For informational purposes only.  



Representative Jay Dean to support Convention of the States

A message from Representative Jay Dean (HD 7)

Dear Fellow Texans:

Thank you for reaching out to my office regarding this important issue. I greatly appreciate you taking the time out of your busy schedule to share with me your support for a Convention of the States.

As we know all too well, Federal overreach is harmful to our values, especially the liberty we hold so dear. I am a strong supporter of Governor Abbott's initiative with respect to the call for a Convention of States, and I applaud his efforts. I am in contact with the regional representative, Kent Lawson, advocating for the call for a convention. I will sign on as a Coauthor to HJR 39 calling for the Texas Legislature to apply to Congress to call a convention under Article V of the United States Constitution.

I am honored to have the privilege of serving you in the Texas House of Representatives. Please do not hesitate to contact me if I may be of any assistance.

God Bless,