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The fight for Texas land – who’s winning?

January 04, 2023 - 00:00
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‘Excited’ doesn’t come close to describing my reaction when I read in the Dec. 28 Examiner that our state senator Lois Kolkhorst filed a bill to prohibit foreign entities from purchasing Texas land. If you’ve never followed a Texas legislative session before, mark your calendars for Jan. 10 through May 29 as the upcoming 88th  and Senate Bill 147 will be a good place to start.

To recap Sen. Kolkhorst’s press release, in 2021 a Chinese-controlled firm owned by a former member of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) purchased more than 130,000 acres near the Laughlin Air Force Base in Del Rio. That’s Del Rio, Texas, folks! And for a little perspective, less than six hours from Navasota. 

While Americans continued their blissful ignorance engaging with the Chinese trojan horse, Tik-Tok, another Chinese-backed corporation bought 1,400 acres for a primate research facility in Florida. Anyone remember Wuhan and how that turned out?

And in 2022 in North Dakota, the Chinese government purchased 300 acres in close proximity to Grand Forks Air Force Base. I and my other tin foil hat wearing friends would like to say, “It’s not a conspiracy theory if it’s happening.”

I urge our readers to go to Texas Legislature Online and read the text of SB 147 for themselves. My CliffsNotes version is that the proposed act would prohibit purchase or acquisition of title to real property by a governmental entity of China, Iran, North Korea and Russia as well as company stockholders and citizens of these countries. My initial reaction pending further study is to support it 100%. It ticks the boxes of the things that bother me most, particularly the companies with American storefronts which are owned or funded by foreign entities.

An even deeper concern of mine is why landowners would even consider selling to these people to begin with! Is it ignorance of who they’re really dealing with, or are we Americans that easily bought these days? 

The only land I own now is my lot in Navasota so my beliefs probably won’t be put to the test; however, my family’s roots run deep in Leon County to the time before Texas became Texas. Unfortunately, both my parents’ families sold their land to move to the ‘big city’ but they darn sure didn’t sell it to the CCP! Looking at my own family, it seems as each generation becomes further removed from its rural roots, the connection to the land diminishes.

While landowners can sell to whomever they choose, I believe that this freedom we have should be handled with particular care these days or we risk shooting ourselves in the foot, or something much worse. Whether it’s my simple lot in the city, or 400 acres in the country, author Margaret Mitchell captured an indescribable attachment to the land and property ownership in this emotional exchange between Scarlett O’Hara and her father in Gone With the Wind.

Gerald O'Hara said, “Do you mean to tell me, Katie Scarlett O'Hara that Tara, that land doesn't mean anything to you? Why, land is the only thing in the world worth workin' for, worth fightin' for, worth dyin' for, because it's the only thing that lasts.”

It seems these days, the CCP has a better grasp of this concept than we do.

The column represents the thoughts and opinions of Connie Clements. Opinion columns are NOT the opinion of the Navasota Examiner. 

Clements is a freelance reporter for the Navasota Examiner and an award-winning columnist.