La Prensa de San Antonio.- The late Rep. Ed Kuempel dedication marker is a testament to the legacy of a 'true gentleman'. Honoring him is Representative McClendon, Ms. Kuempel, Rep. John Kuempel, Phil Wilson, Executive Director of the Texas Department of Transportation, Rep. Doug Miller and Speaker Joe Straus who all shared in his memory.
Members of the Texas Legislature gathered with friends and family of the late Edmund P. Kuempel at the Guadalupe County safety rest areas east of Seguin to dedicate these Texas Transportation Department facilities in his memory.
First elected to the Texas House in 1983, he served District 44 until his death on November 4, 2010. Opening the ceremonies, Representative Ruth Jones McClendon (San Antonio, District 120) said cheerfully, "These safety rest areas were planned with excellence in mind -- Guadalupe County and the State can be quite proud of these facilities." She gave recognition to Lee Reyna, architect for the award-winning project.
Mrs. Kuempel and other family members were present, along with members of the County Commissioners Court, Seguin City Council, Judges, and the Sheriff. The colors were presented by the N.J. R.O.T.C. Unit from Seguin, and the Seguin Chamber of Commerce provided refreshments and hospitality.
The decision to dedicate the safety rest stops in his memory came by way of an amendment by Representative McClendon to the "TxDoT Sunset Bill" of 2011, which redefined and continued the responsibilities of the Department of Transportation. Speaking of Ed Kuempel, she said, "He was one of those truly good souls who always treated everyone with respect and civility. We could use more of that civility this coming Session."
John Kuempel shared this memory: “Recalling the night on the [House] Floor during the consideration of the TxDOT Sunset Bill, Ruth said, 'You know what we’re going to do? We’re going to dedicate that rest stop to your Daddy.' The amendment passed without objection."
Joe Straus, District 121 Representative and Speaker of the Texas House, said of Ed Kuempel, “His legacy lives today as a statesman who rose above the pettiness so prevalent in politics today. He taught us that we can disagree without being disagreeable; that we can be instructive rather than combative; we have an obligation to rise to the point of common ground. We could use more Edmund Kuempels in politics and government today."
Rep. Doug Miller, who serves District 73 next door to Guadalupe County, spoke of the leadership and encouragement that Ed Kuempel had offered him when he was first elected. “Not a day goes by without my thinking about the times I spent with Edmund and the wisdom he imparted to me and so many others ... I am so grateful to have had him in my life.”
Phil Wilson, Executive Director of the Texas Department of Transportation, referring to the sign at the entry, "It’s fitting that it says safety and rest area. Safety, because if you met the Representative, he was big and strong so you always felt safe . . . if you were a person who worked with him, you could tell he had those strong intentions to protect his state and his area. You could go into his office as a constituent, and have a good conversation and a safe harbor."
The crowd then moved outside where a memorial marker was unveiled in recognition of Representative Kuempel's service for 14 terms in the Texas House of Representatives.