Steering committee clarifies future plans for petition

BRYAN, Tex. (KBTX) – A local group pushing for more blue collar jobs in Brazos County says it still plans to submit a petition to the Brazos County Commissioners Court.

The Research Valley Partnership's Brazos Talent Initiative Steering Committee says it had to pull the signatures from Tuesday’s agenda for a clerical precaution.

The economic development group, that last year said Blinn College wasn't doing enough to meet local workforce needs, met Wednesday in Bryan.

The group made headlines last year when it gathered thousands of signatures from voters in Brazos County who supported the idea of bringing in another community college to the area.

"The signatures could be anywhere from 12,000 to probably 15,000,” said Michael Beckendorf, RVP Chairman.

The petition was scheduled to be handed over to county commissioners on Tuesday for certification, but at last minute the committee said it wanted to go over the signatures one more time.

"Then they are going to go through the process over the next three to ten days to verify and certify the signatures and give us a true number," said Beckendorf.

Beckendorf says the group supports the unique partnership between Blinn College and Texas A&M. The two schools agreed last year to work together to meet labor demands in the area, and both agree another school isn't necessary.

The steering committee says its petition is only a backup plan in case the partnership between A&M and Blinn doesn't work.

"They came together and they are working up a workforce,” said Beckendorf. “But, that came together after the petition already started gathering signatures. So we owe the voters to finalize this.”

RVP says the petition will go all the way through the certification process and to Austin where it has to clear several more hurdles before it would ever go to a vote.

They say the soonest that would happen, if it happens, would be fall of next year.