About 125 people, including local elected officials, attended the luncheon at Willow Brook Country Club, representatives said.
“Once a year, our association takes the opportunity to say a formal thank you to our elected officials for their support of the home building industry and our community-at-large,” Libby Simmons, executive vice president of the Tyler Area Builders Association, said. “The term 'public service' does not begin to describe the many things each of them does daily to make our cities and counties stronger and better.”
State Rep.-Elect Matt Schaefer, R-Tyler, was the guest speaker at the event.
Schaefer, 36, is an attorney, Naval Reserve officer and property manager. He beat longtime incumbent Rep. Leo Berman, R-Tyler, in the primary election for Texas House District 6 and will take office Jan. 1.
Schaefer said it was an honor to be able to represent the Tyler area in the Texas House of Representatives.
He told the crowd mostly made up of builders that he worked in construction in high school when he was 16.
“I loved being around it,” he said. “I loved the satisfaction of watching something being built and seeing something being finished and completed.”
Schaefer said he believes everyone has the God-given right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and he believes that concept should include the right to acquire skills and earn a living.
He said the right and willingness to work needs to be protected as fiercely as freedom of religion. Excessive regulations on skilled trades are a real and growing threat. “It's just going to be more of an issue in more aspects of life,” he added.
Schaefer said the country is facing unprecedented debt and uncertainty at the federal level, and when he and other state legislators go back to Austin, “We're going to have tough choices to make.”
“I pledge to you first of all that I'm going to listen,” he said. “My bent is for more freedom, not less. … Government should do less and not more — that's my philosophy.”
Schaefer jokingly said his first bill would be to eliminate neckties and high heels.
“I've had few objections to that,” he said.
Ms. Simmons told the audience that the Tyler Area Builders Association recruited 136 new members during its membership drive in May. She said it was Tyler's largest drive since 2008, and ranked second in the state after Lubbock.
Membership in the local association includes builders, as well as associate members who work alongside builders. The association serves Anderson, Cherokee, Freestone, Henderson, Navarro, Smith, Wood and Van Zandt counties.
Bancorp South was the title sponsor of the event, while meeting sponsors included Austin Bank, Campbell Custom Homes, Citizens 1st Bank, StrucSure Home Warranty and Transit Mix Concrete & Materials Co.