Celebrating its 26th Annual Quasar Award Banquet on January 25, 2019, the Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership honored Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush as its 2019 Quasar Award recipient. The black tie event was held at South Shore Harbour Resort and Conference Center in League City, Texas.
Commissioner Bush has become the noteworthy champion of the coastal barrier system whose undiminished advocacy has been instrumental in moving the project forward.
In speaking of Commissioner Bush, BAHEP President Bob Mitchell noted that the commissioner’s grandfather, the late George H.W. Bush, 41st president of the United States, often spoke of 1,000 points of light — "of all the community organizations that are spread like stars throughout the nation … doing good work.”
Mitchell said, "I want to sincerely thank and extend the heartfelt appreciation of the entire Bay Area Houston community to the brightest point of light here tonight — Commissioner George P. Bush. Knowingly or not, you have become the champion we needed for the coastal spine system. Know that you can count on every one of us to see this life-saving project through to completion. Thank you for your commitment and for being here with us tonight.”
Commissioner Bush credits work of GLO
Commissioner Bush began his remarks saying, "Thank you all very much, and thank you for the kind introduction. It’s always great to be with my friends at BAHEP.
"I particularly want to thank my friend, Bob Mitchell. For those of you who have never been on the receiving end of him bending your ear, know that he’s a very effective advocate for the region.”
The commissioner then gave credit to the General Land Office. He said, I’m honored to receive this award, but I only do so sharing it with a few people. First, I have to thank the team at the GLO, several of whom are here tonight, for their exhaustive work over the course of really several decades to make this happen as the General Land Office is a unique agency that manages the Texas coast on behalf of its 28 million people.
"Secondly, I want to thank all the elected officials that joined us tonight from the city, from the county, from the state levels. You all are the ones that are the reason why we’re at this stage of the process. This can’t be done by one agency and one person alone.”
GLO enters into historic agreement
Commissioner Bush spoke of working with the Army Corps of Engineers explaining, "We found some savings in our budget to enter into an historic agreement with the Corps of Engineers. It’s a $20 million, five-year study that is a match with the federal government. It’s the first of its kind in American history.
"I think as Texans we understand that this is an idea that is long past due, and it will protect us from a major storm. Some may argue that Hurricane Harvey was a precipitation event, but that doesn’t lessen the risk of a storm surge event. That’s why designing this system makes economic sense. When you look at Hurricane Ike causing $32 billion in damage, the state gets reimbursed only $3 billion with which to help our communities recover. It makes sense to take resource ahead of the storm and prepare for the next natural disaster.”
The commissioner concluded his speech by saying, "So, with that I just wanted you to know that I’m committed to this project. I’m committed to the protection of our communities and our industries, and I’m committed to making this system a reality. I thank you for acknowledging our work through this award. We look forward to continuing that work, but we will always be vigilant as it relates to coastal issues; we will remain your guardian for the coast.”