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With Prices Stabilizing, Texas Adds to Oil Rig Count

Also, a new outreach campaign is launched on the "Healthy Texas Women" program and a state representative seizes on the Pokémon Go craze to get out the vote.

An oil pump.

With oil prices floating in the mid-to-upper $40 range last week, Texas added 15 rigs to its drilling fields, according to Baker Hughes. That was the largest single-week rig ​increase since oil prices peaked in mid-2014​.

​The state has steadily gained rigs since late May of this year, the firm’s data shows, during a period of relatively stable prices.

But that doesn’t exactly mean Texas oilfields are rumbling with activity again. The state’s total of 217 rigs as of last Friday was still a far cry from the roughly 900 that were operating when prices peaked.

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The Texas Health and Human Services Commission is rolling out an outreach campaign to advertise its new "Healthy Texas Women" program, which offers expanded women's health services to those who qualify.

Charles Smith, the executive commissioner of Health and Human Services, and state Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, announced the outreach initiative.

“We place a high priority on helping all Texas women access the comprehensive healthcare services they need, and we’re committed to helping ensure more women know what benefits are available to help them take charge of their health,” Smith said in a statement.

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A state representative from Grand Prairie is turning to the craze over the smartphone game Pokémon Go as a new tool for voter engagement.

Rodney Anderson, a Republican seeking re-election in House District 105, is hosting a "block walk" event at Heritage Park in Irving on Saturday themed to the game. A Facebook event "Calling all Pokémon Trainers and Grass Roots Activists!" invites constituents to join the campaign in knocking on doors in surrounding neighborhoods — and catching Pokémon with their phones at three nearby "Pokéstops."

"This will be a great chance to find new Pokemon and hatch those eggs!" the event notes.

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A handful of Texas Democratic staffers shirked flights to Philadelphia and instead opted to make the 1,700-mile drive from Austin to the convention.

Why?

"We drove up here to bring our huge Texas flag," said Texas Democratic Party Deputy Executive Director Manny Garcia.

The flag was displayed in the delegation hotel behind all speakers, including Democratic nomination runner up Bernie Sanders Wednesday morning.

Garcia said the rental of choice was a "15-passenger van, and the flag poles take up just about all of that space."

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U.S. Rep. Will Hurd, R-San Antonio, will spend the first half of August in an intensive swing through his sprawling district, hosting events for constituents.

The travel comes as Hurd is in a tough re-election rematch against former U.S. Rep. Pete Gallego, D-Alpine, whom Hurd defeated in 2014.

But these are official-side events — not hosted by his campaign — that involve technology training and stops at Dairy Queens. Hurd's office is still firming up details, but this is the information from a Monday news release.

Hurd will host a technology road trip that will "provide free computer and internet training" for those pursuing education, careers and entrepreneurship. The events will take place in the following cities: 

  • August 3: San Alizario and Van Horn 
  • August 4: Alpine, Fort Stockton and Sonora 
  • August 5: Del Rio

Meanwhile, Hurd will also continue a tour of Dairy Queen restaurants on the following dates and locations:  

  • August 7: Helotes, Somerset, Castroville and Hondo 
  • August 8: Devine, Pearsall, Dilley and Cotulla 
  • August 9: Uvalde, Crystal City, Carrizo Springs and Eagle Pass 
  • August 10: Del Rio, Sonora, Ozona, Big Lake 
  • August 11: Crane, Monahans, Kermit and Pecos
  • August 12: Presidio, Alpine and Fort Stockton

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