Learn How We Serve Rural Communities in Texas

Of the 254 counties in Texas, 133 of them are RURAL. That's 52% - join ARCIT today and let Texas know that Rural Matters!

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Association of Rural Communities in Texas

  • Mission

    By being a strong voice and resource to government, we promote the policy of best practices in the delivery of public services to enhance the quality of life for all rural Texans.

  • History

    In January 2001, ARCIT was formed to create a unified and collaborative voice for rural and small cities in Texas. The organization began with 69 cities, counties and economic development corporations who worked together on House Bill 7, which created the Office of Rural and Community Affairs during the 77th legislative session. In the past 15 years, ARCIT has grown in membership, in turn, giving rural and small communities a strong unified voice with the Texas legislature and state agencies.

  • Who We Serve

    ARCIT consists of Texas cities with a population of 50,000 and under, counties with a population of 200,00 and under, as well as Economic Development Corporations, Chambers of Commerce, Utility Districts in qualifying cities and counties, as well as other groups working within rural and small communities.

    ARCIT offers a strong voice and resource to the Texas state legislature, Texas state agencies and the federal government to promote the best practices, policies and programs for rural and small communities, while enhancing the quality of life for all Texans.

    Larger counties in Texas continue to grow at unprecedented rates, and thus a considerable amount of legislative attention and action is being designed to benefit the larger communities without regard as to its impact on the rest of Texas. The needs of Texans living in rural or less populated areas are being pushed to the wayside, but the one size fits all legislative attitude does not work for everyone. It is the aim of ARCIT to ensure the voices of rural and smaller communities in Texas are heard and our members have a seat at the table when the legislature and agencies are making decisions impacting our communities.

ARCIT Leadership

Kara Mayer Mayfield, Executive Director & Event/Education Coordinator

Kara is the Executive Director and Event/Education Coordinator for ARCIT.  Her previous experience includes over six years of service with U.S. Congressman Michael McCaul, Chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security. She served as his Deputy Chief of Staff while managing all state matters for the Congressman and his district. During her tenure she was promoted from Director of Field Operations to District Director and finally to Deputy Chief of Staff where she was responsible for handling the day-to-day business that arose within the nine counties of CD-10 spanning from Houston to Austin. Her experience encompasses over 15 years of work within the public sector ranging from the U.S. Senate to the U.S. House of Representatives to the Texas State Legislature.

Kara began her career with U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison working both in Washington D.C. and in Austin. She then moved over to the private sector where she worked with TechNet Texas and was responsible for facilitating membership recruitment and state legislative matters for the high tech industry. She worked within the Texas House of Representatives for the Committee on Public Education serving as a policy analyst and counsel during the 79th Regular Session and First and Second Called Special Sessions. She was responsible for scrubbing legislation in order to allow favorable passage of bills out of the House Public Education Committee and ultimately out of the Texas House.

Kara is a licensed attorney with the State of Texas and holds a Doctorate of Jurisprudence from South Texas College of Law with an undergraduate degree from The University of Texas at Austin; she possesses a BA in Government and a minor in Business. She has also practiced law in Dallas, Fort Worth and Houston. Kara was born and raised in the Dallas / Fort Worth area. She has been married to her husband, Jeff, for 15 years and they have one child.

Email: kara@arcit.org

Kris Parker, Government Relations & Membership Director

Kris is a well-seasoned government relations specialist. She does client development, public policy, association management and membership recruitment.  Prior to joining ARCIT, she served as Deputy District Director for Congressman Michael T. McCaul in his Austin, TX district office for twelve years.  Her previous experience includes developing and maintaining working relationships with constituents and governmental entities, as well as managing and performing constituent service. In addition to working for the federal government, Kris also worked in government relations at the state level with several state agencies, as well as a state senator.

Email: kris@arcit.org

Public Policy Team

Nick James

Nick James brings a wealth of experience in Texas state government, having worked for the Lieutenant Governor and the Senate for over 25 years, and is considered an authority in all facets of the legislative process. He specializes in a tailored approach to advocacy for a number of industries. His areas of expertise include insurance, water, gaming, beer & alcohol, tobacco, transportation, taxation, pensions and retirement systems, and energy.

Nick cut his teeth in politics while working for several legendary Texans, including the late Lt. Governor Bob Bullock. Bullock asked him to serve on the Governor’s Health Policy Task Force in order to study insurance issues and recommend state policy revisions and changes.

His stint in the Senate allowed him to work for a total of three state senators. During this time, James spent more than then 14 years serving as a staff member for the well-respected Senator Kenneth Armbrister. As Senator Armbrister’s Chief of Staff, James helped coordinate committees the Senator chaired, such as Senate Natural Resources, State Affairs, Criminal Justice and Intergovernmental Relations. He helped craft potential legislation, averaging 200 bills per Session, during which he shepherded all bills through the process from drafting to committee review to final vote on both the Senate and House floors.

Nick was instrumental in drafting Sunset Commission legislation during the 74th and 75th legislative sessions and their respective interims. Some of the agencies studied were Texas Department of Transportation, Texas Department of Agriculture, Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority, Public Utility Commission, Teacher Retirement System of Texas, Credit Union Commission, Texas Turnpike Authority, Texas Public Finance Authority, Texas Workers’ Compensation Commission, Texas Racing Commission, and the Department of Information Resources. He also helped draft gaming legislation from 1997 through 2005 for Senator Ken Ambrister.

Nick is a native Austinite, and graduated from Texas A & M -Texarkana with a double major in Finance and Economics. He is an avid golfer and enjoys UT football. A personal interest in mental health issues led him to the Board of Directors of the Bipolar Foundation of Central Texas, on which he serves as the President. He has three grown sons, and is married to another longtime Austinite.

Lucinda Dean Saxon

Lucinda Dean Saxon has 20 years of experience working with Texas legislators. Lucinda specializes in advocacy, state agency relations, coalition building, grassroots organizing and public speaking. Well-known at the Texas Capitol, she has a reputation for winning.

Lucinda learned the ropes while working for Lt. Governor Bob Bullock. She has worked as a Chief of Staff in the Texas House of Representatives and as a legislative aide in the Texas Senate. Lucinda has business experience with agencies and trade associations. While working as the Government Affairs Director at the State Office of Risk Management, Lucinda assisted in implementing a cost-cutting program that saved taxpayers more than $30 million.

Lucinda worked on key pro-business issues such as the asbestos tort reform and workers’ compensation reform for the Texas Association of Business, the state’s most powerful and effective business association. For the last four years, Lucinda has represented various clients on all types of business matters ranging from group health to alcohol issues. On the regulatory front, Lucinda has aggressively protected her clients in rule making processes at various state agencies and promoted their specific issues to agency leaders.