When SUSAN KIBBE, the EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR of the South Texans’ Property Rights Association (STPRA), invited me to exhibit some of my art work at the 13th Annual Meeting and Fundraiser event, I was immediately fascinated by the name of the organization. The name told me that this group is regional, purposeful, collaborative, but what really stood out was the possessive word TEXANS’ indicating that this group belongs to the people it serves.
When I interviewed Ms. Kibbe and saw her eyes sparkle with pride and passion for STPRA and all the many issues the group is dealing with on behalf of Texas as a whole, I was intrigued. So dig in with me and let’s learn a little more.
Q: Susan, tell me a little bit about STPRA and how you became involved with the group.
In 2005 I went to a Border Patrol Community Partnership meeting because we were having more and more issues with trespassing and smuggling in our area. We were beginning to see that one thing was growing into a larger problem that could take away Texans’ sense of freedom and the ability to enjoy the land. Earlier in 2005, landowners in Brooks County held a meeting that included large area landowners and leaders from south Texas; along with Border Patrol and Congressional staff with the purpose of educating themselves and others on the escalating issues along the Texas border and in the South Texas Region as a whole. This group became a catalyst for “finding solutions to some of the important challenges that exist for South Texas property owners”,
Q: Can you speak to this from the organization’s viewpoint?
In August of 2006, I was hired as the first Executive Directorfor STPRA. I know that STPRA focuses on many issues effecting Texans, but Border Security and Immigration Reform is at the top of the list for improvement. At the beginning, we were dealing with smuggling and trafficking on to private property. Interestingly, the building of a wall along the Texas border was approved by a bi-partisan vote in 2006 and the construction was started in 2007 and 2008 in Cameron County. Of course, since then there has been a lot of “push back” primarily because of the obstacles in building a wall along a winding river and on privately owned land. In some cases the wall would have to be constructed one-half or more miles away from the border.
STPRA is a leader in promoting solutions to our dysfunctional border with Mexico….and sensible immigration reform and enforcement. A guest worker program has always been an important issue to our state and is one of the primary reformation programs we advocate for…a legal way for people to come into Texas, work and then return home. Right now a major problem is HUMAN SMUGGLING. Actually there is evidence to show that it is more profitable for transnational criminal organizations than drug smuggling.
Q: Can you tell me about some of the other issues that STPRA focuses on?
I was asked to testify before the Veteran’ Affairs Committee and Border Security Committee on how invasive species impact border security. Unbelievably, invasive species such as Carrizo Cane and Salt Cedar along the Rio Grande River are being eradicated simply because of the large amounts of water they consume along the river. One Salt Cedar tree canconsume as much as 400 gallons of water a day. Originally these species were used to prevent erosion and for thatched roofs, but now these plants are a huge problem for the environment and also make an excellent camouflage for illegal immigrants. Carrizo Cane and Salt Cedar is already spreading into the Texas Hill Country and other parts of our state. STPRA is supporting research for safe and productive means of eradication.
Q: Susan, I could talk to you for days. Can you help me tell the people reading what STPRA will be looking toward in the immediate future?
Because of urban sprawl and land segmentation our state is rapidly changing. Our organization focuses on key issues facing Texans. From border security to eminent domain, endangered species to tax reform, human and animal health to landowner liability, prescribed burning and transportation, we want to work to find solutions and be a source of information.
Please visit the website: www. stpra.org and join us at the annual meeting :
October 11, 2018, 1:30 P.M.-7:30 P.M.
Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Center, 1730 W. Corral Avenue, Kingsville, Texas 78363
Thank you Susan Kibbe and the South Texans’ Property Rights Association for helping preserve our great state so that we can continue to, as Susan said, “raise kids close to the land.” My desire is to conserve on canvas a way of life that belongs to us all.”