AUSTIN’Now that the presidential election has finally been settled, a lot more than Christmas shopping is going on in Austin. As Lieutenant Governor Rick Perry and his staff begin working on his transition to governor, the politicking over who will be Perry’s replacement will gear up in earnest. Interestingly, when the Texas Senate picks Perry’s successor, that person will get all the responsibilities and benefits that go with the job, but not the title of lieutenant governor. According to the state’s Constitution, whoever the Senate elects to replace Perry will “perform the duties of lieutenant governor,” but will not be called lieutenant governor. The formal job title is President of the Senate. Want to see the Texas Legislature take favorable action on a bill you support’ Contacting your House member or Senator is probably more effective than you might think. Here’s why: Except on the biggest of issues, lawmakers do not hear all that much from their constituents. (Given that only half of the electorate cast ballots in the presidential election, that should be no great surprise.) So, assuming a lawmaker is going to vote the way his or her constituents want them to vote, reaching out to your elected representative is hugely important. But, say the pros in the lobbying business, citizens need to follow some sensible rules. For one thing, they say, be brief. No long-winded arguments needed. Leave that to the pros. Members simply don’t have the time for voluminous briefs from everyone with an opinion on an issue. Secondly, be truthful in what you do say. Thirdly, be pro-active rather than re-active. But temper that with patience. Sometimes it takes several sessions to get a particular piece of legislation enacted. Finally, a super important point: Be responsive and respectful to legislative staffers. As in most organizations, the worker bees are the ones who really make things happen. Have an idea for a project that would further water conservation along with food and aquaculture production in semi-arid areas’ If you do, you have until Jan. 2 to apply for research grants offered through the Texas Department of Agriculture by the Texas-Israel Exchange Grant Program. The program has $1 million in grant funding available. To gain funding, a proposal must involve both a researcher from Texas and Israel. The proposal needs to say how the research could benefit both the people of Texas and Israel. Also, there’s a requirement that 50 percent matching funding be obtained from other sources. For more information on grant proposal requirements, contact the Department of Agriculture’s Carol Funderburgh at 512-463-8536 or via email at email@example.com.