Paddie award

State Rep. Chris Paddie, center, was recently presented the Legislator of the Year award by the Rural Jobs Coalition. Presenting him the award is Mackenzie Ledet with Stonehedge Capital, left, and Jeff Craver with Advantage Capital, right, both members of the Rural Jobs Coalition.

State Rep. Chris Paddie, R-Marshall, was recently recognized as Legislator of the Year by the Rural Jobs Coalition for championing legislation that supports small businesses in rural communities and opportunity zones throughout Texas.

Paddie has worked relentlessly to ensure Texas communities see small business growth, job creation and local economic development, the coalition said.

Since 2000, only one percent of capital invested in small businesses has gone to rural parts of the country, the coalition said. The Legislator of the Year Award is given by the Rural Jobs Coalition to members of state legislatures who have worked to combat this problem by advancing legislation that supports the growth of small businesses in rural and low-income areas.

During the 2019 legislative session, Paddie authored the Texas Rural and Opportunity Zone Jobs Act, designed to ensure that every Texan has an opportunity for economic advancement and upward mobility.

“All across Texas, rural and small businesses have found it difficult to access the capital they need to grow. These are the kinds of businesses our local communities rely on to keep them going,” Paddie said. “I’ve always been a proud advocate for small business, and I plan to continue to champion legislation like the Texas Rural and Opportunity Zone Jobs Act to encourage job creation and local economic development.”

Paddie’s bill garnered bipartisan support in the House but failed to gain traction in the Senate during the 2019 legislative session. The measure would have allowed rural and opportunity zone growth funds to work closely with large and local banks to help small businesses buy equipment, upgrade facilities or make other improvements to bring quality jobs back to local economies.

Paddie stated that he plans to bring the same legislation back to the floor in the next legislative session, if possible.