Amarillo Matters Reacts to State's Budget
Posted By: Steve Pair - 6/17/2019 12:00:00 AM

Governor Greg Abbott signed the state’s $250 billion budget Saturday evening. Included in the budget is the full $17.35 million requested by Texas Tech University to establish the Texas Tech School of Veterinary Medicine in Amarillo, a project that Amarillo Matters has championed over the past two legislative sessions.


"Not only does the budget include startup funding for the vet school, but it also includes a directive for Texas Tech to move forward developing the school," Amarillo Matters President Jason Herrick said. "This is great news for Amarillo, the Texas Panhandle and South Plains, and our state as a whole." The school will help meet the growing need for large animal and rural veterinarians across the state. It will also increase the opportunities for Texas students to further their education without leaving the state.


“Legislative approval of the Texas Tech veterinary school is a watershed event for West Texas, the Texas Panhandle, and all of Texas,” former Texas Tech University System Chancellor Bob Duncan said. “This culminates years of hard work by literally hundreds of individuals who recognized the unmet demand for rural and large animal veterinarians throughout our state,” Duncan added.


The program has been submitted to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating (THEC) Board and is currently being reviewed for approval. “While aspects of this venture must still be approved by the THEC Board, I’m optimistic that we have taken critical steps to opening new doors of opportunity for aspiring veterinary students who otherwise would have left our state to fulfill their dreams elsewhere due to capacity constraints at the state’s only other veterinary program,” Duncan said. “A tremendous amount of appreciation goes to the Amarillo community for their support, as well as to the Texas Legislature and Governor Abbott for recognizing the need.”


Amarillo Matters was an early advocate for the veterinary school, identifying it as a priority issue for our state more than two years ago in the 85th Texas Legislature, which provided crucial planning grant funds. During that time, Amarillo Matters invested heavily in grassroots and legislative initiatives to build support for the program.


“From the very beginning, our vision for the Texas Tech veterinary school was inspired by the needs of this state and the communities we serve, and throughout this journey, we have been encouraged and reassured time and time again by countless Red Raiders, Texans, and supporters who see the need and believe in our vision,” Tech Tech University System Chancellor Dr. Tedd L. Mitchell said.  


"Amarillo Matters has been a true champion for this initiative over the last two sessions through their work to educate the public and build a grassroots network willing to weigh in on the need,” Mitchell added. “We are tremendously grateful to the entire Amarillo community for their commitment and could not have asked for better partners. Our universities and state are better for it.”


In all, Amarillo Matters spent more than $180,000 to help push the project across the finish line.


"We could not have done this without the support of our many donors," Amarillo Matters Treasurer Andrew Hall said. "We are grateful for their support and hope they all realize the impact those funds have on our area, and in this case, our state."


"This is a prime example of the types of projects we want to do more of," Amarillo Matters Board Member Trevor Caviness said. "Multi-year efforts that take a lot of work but have a significant impact on our community...and that's the mission of Amarillo Matters.”