“[People] have been talking about flood mitigation for years, and then we had Harvey, and what’s really been done since Harvey?” he said. “Not a whole hell of a lot.”
Nehls, who led the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office prior to being sworn into office to represent Texas's 22nd congressional district in January, gave a congressional update during a July 8 event hosted by the Katy Area Chamber of Commerce.
When asked about flood relief funding and action being taken to help prepare the region for future weather events, Nehls said more needs to be done—and quickly—because there is not time to wait.
“Another rain event will cause some nightmares for a lot of people ... and if we have another rain event before we get something done, we should be ashamed of ourselves,” he said.
Nehls also touched on his recent efforts to create nationwide criminal justice reform, specifically new reform based on training programs started by the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office. During his time as sheriff, Nehls said the office started a program that provided welding training courses for nonviolent inmates at the county jail to help reduce recidivism.
“That program was very, very successful, and when I was the sheriff and I was leaving, I said, 'I’m going to try and duplicate this across the country,'” he said.
To that end, Nehls, alongside U.S. Rep. Val Demings, D-Orlando, in May introduced the Second Chance Opportunity for Re-Entry Education Act. The act authorizes the U.S. Department of Justice to create a new grant program for eligible county jails to establish career and technical training programs that focused on technical trades such as welding; heating, ventilation and air conditioning; plumbing and other career training to assist individuals with re-entry, according to a press release from Nehls' office.
The programs would be available to nonviolent offenders and are to be developed in coordination with technical and vocational institutions, community colleges, nonprofit organizations and unions, the release said.
The bill was in committee as of May 25, according to Bill Track 50, but Nehls said he expects it to garner support and make it to the finish line.
Also during the event, Nehls touched on immigration and said he is very frustrated with what he sees at the nation’s southern border, because he thinks the border patrol is not getting the support it needs. He said he believes the border was the most secure it has ever been under the Trump administration.
“It’s not about legal immigration; this is about illegal immigration,” he said.