George P. Bush to Headline DETCOG Annual Meeting

Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush will be the keynote speaker for Annual Membership and Awards Luncheon of the Deep East Texas Council of Governments and Economic Development District (DETCOG) May 24 in Lufkin.  The event will be held at Noon at the Pitser Garrison Convention Center. 


An annual highlight is the presentation of the Ralph W. Steen East Texan of the Year Award.  The Steen award was named in honor of the beloved past president of Stephen F. Austin State University.  It honors an individual who has played a major role in leadership and service to Deep East Texas.  The recipient is chosen by those who previously received the recognition.


Several other awards will recognize DETCOG staff, board members and partners.  The Key Contributor award is presented to a staff member who has been instrumental in the success of the agency and its programs.  The President’s Award recognizes outstanding committee work.  The Star Partner Award goes to a person from a partner agency that assists DETCOG with its mission.


The 2018 annual meeting will also mark the conclusion of a year-long celebration of 50 years of service by DETCOG. 


“It all started with approximately 55 local government officials and community leaders attending a meeting in November of 1966 to discuss the formation of the Deep East Texas Economic Development District,” according to DETCOG Executive Director Lonnie Hunt. “They didn’t waste any time, holding the first board of directors meeting a week later and electing Charlie Wilson as the first president.  With a great effort by those early leaders, we were chartered by the federal government as an Economic Development District and organized under the State of Texas as a Regional Council of Governments in 1968.”


DETCOG is a voluntary association of local governments in the 12-county region encompassing all of Angelina, Houston, Jasper, Nacogdoches, Newton, Polk, Sabine, San Augustine, San Jacinto, Shelby, Trinity and Tyler counties.  At 10,383 square miles, it is one of the largest rural COGs in the nation, larger than the states of Vermont, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Connecticut, Delaware and Rhode Island. 


Current membership includes 12 counties, 36 cities, 40 school districts, 11 special districts, the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas, plus a number of chambers of commerce, local economic development organizations, and other sustaining members.  DETCOG is governed by a diverse 58-member Board of Directors which is representative of the population of the region.  As required by state law, more than two-thirds of the board members are elected officials of member counties and cities.


“Over the last year we’ve been celebrating the 50-plus year history of DETCOG,” said Board President Lynn Torres, a member of the Lufkin City Council.  “We’ve looked back at what has been accomplished, while continuing to move forward to improve our region.  We invite everyone who loves Deep East Texas to come be part of our annual meeting on May 24.”


Luncheon tickets are $20 and can be purchased at the door.  RSVPs are appreciated, and reserved tables are also available.  Anyone needing information may contact Cynthia Trowbridge at the DETCOG office in Jasper at (409) 381-5254 or (800) 256-6848 extension 5254.